Friday, January 23, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* KDHX has posted online a photo set from last Saturday's New Music Circle concert featuring pianist Johanna Ballou at 560 Music Center.

* Euclid Records, both in St. Louis and New Orleans, was featured in the Vinyl Lives section of

* Saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas’ band Soundprints, featuring St. Louis native and Berklee grad Lawrence Fields (pictured) on piano, is set to release their debut album Live at Monterey Jazz Festival, which includes two new Wayne Shorter compositions.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake's NYC Winter Jazzfest show with Trio 3 and guest pianist Vijay Iyer was reviewed by Feast of Music.

* Guitarist Farshid Soltanshahi aka Farshid Etniko will be performing a live soundtrack of original music for Upstream Theater’s upcoming production Bashir Lazhar. Described as "a timely and poetic piece about grief and healing, love and survival," the play tells the story of "an Algerian refugee in Montreal who is hastily hired as a substitute teacher for a class of sixth graders who, like him, have experienced recent trauma."

The production opens next Friday, January 30 and continues weekends through Sunday, February 15 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, with tickets on sale now via Brown Paper Tickets.

* The Arts & Education Council's video tribute to singer Denise Thimes, first shown Monday night at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel when Thimes was honored at the annual St. Louis Arts Awards ceremony, has been posted to YouTube.

* Saxophonist Greg Osby's latest blog post ruminates about the potential difficulties and rewards for musicians trying to deal with change.

* Singer and East St. Louis native Phil Perry has released a new album, A Better Man, on the Shanahachie label. The CD, which features guest musicians including saxophonist Kim Waters and trumpeter Rick Braun, is Perry's sixth for the label and eleventh overall.

* Pianist Peter Martin's New Year's Eve performance with singer Dianne Reeves and the New York Philharmonic has been posted online by PBS. (Martin's bit begins in the second half of the concert at about 1:15, with his piano solo on "Embraceable You" starting at 1:35:53.)

* Singer Wendy L. Gordon has announced details on new scholarships funded with proceeds from her "Jazz Heaven" series of concerts. The two LeeVert & Wendy Gordon Scholarships are worth $500 each, and will be awarded to a Sumner High School student (or students) attending Harris Stowe State University in the fall of 2015. (Both Gordon and her husband LeeVert are alumni of Sumner HS.)

The 2015 edition of "Jazz Heaven" is scheduled for Sunday, August 30 at the Florissant Civic Center's James Eagan Theater.

* The St. Louis Cabaret Conference has announced July 18-25, 2015 as the dates for its tenth anniversary, with more details promised next week. To get on the email list for conference information, just send a request to

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, Calvin Wilson's “Somethin’ Else” program will explore the influence of Charlie Parker via the bop stylings of alto saxophonists Frank Morgan, Jackie McLean, and Sonny Stitt. Wilson can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

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