As Jazz Appreciation Month winds down and we head into May, it's another busy weekend for live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with several touring headliners in town and a number of noteworthy events featuring local performers, too.
Let's go to the highlights...
Wednesday, April 29
Pianist Benny Green returns with his trio for the first of four nights at Jazz at the Bistro, in what will be his first appearance at the club since a duo gig with guitarist Russell Malone way back in March 2006.
Now 50 years old, Green (pictured, top left) began his career during the "Young Lions" period of the 1980s, demonstrating his skills as a swinging, hard-bop/mainstream pianist with Betty Carter, Art Blakey and Freddie Hubbard before a long run in the trio of bassist Ray Brown.
Green also has recorded numerous albums leading his own trio, the latest being the forthcoming Live In Santa Cruz, which will be out next month on Sunnyside Records. Last fall, he also formalized his long-standing interest in jazz education by taking a job as an assistant professor teaching jazz and improvisation at the University of Michigan.
Also tonight, you can hear more jazz just a short walk from Bistro in the Grand Center neighborhood, both before and after Green's sets, via the weekly jam session led by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's weekly trio gig, with frequent sit-ins, at The Dark Room.
UPDATE, 4:50 p.m. 4/29/15 - Bob Deboo posted on Facebook and the Kranzberg Arts Center has confirmed via Twitter that tonight's jam is cancelled. No reason was specified, but Taylor's gig at The Dark Room is still on.
Thursday, April 30
While the International Jazz Day festivities in Paris will get underway at 1:00 p.m. for those of us here in the USA's Central time zone, St. Louisans also will have several opportunities to celebrate that evening, starting with the presentation of a 2015 Jazz Journalists Association "Jazz Hero" Award to Don Wolff at Jazz at the Bistro, followed by a brief reception with live music from students in Jazz St. Louis' JazzU program. The event is free and open to the public.
Also on Thursday, trumpeter Jim Manley, guitarist Travis Mattison and pianist Chris "Luppy" Swan will join forces at Thurman Grill, and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly "Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.
Then that evening, singer Debby Lennon and pianist Carolbeth True will be performing at Nathalie's, and the Dave Dickey Big Band's monthly show at Jazz at the Bistro will feature a "Tribute to Buddy Rich," along with an intermission performance from the Principia Upper School Jazz Band.
(For the record, trombonist and bandleader Dave Dickey has emphatically denied that the Buddy Rich tribute will include any replaying or live re-enactment of the infamous "bus tapes," so the show should be suitable for all ages.)
(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)