Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jazz this week: Robert Glasper Experiment with Keyon Harrold; Black Host; and more

As Jazz Appreciation Month swings on, it's a big week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with the local debuts of two significant contemporary ensembles offering two different takes on the jazz diaspora, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, April 22
First up is the much-talked-about Robert Glasper Experiment, with St. Louis native Mark Colenburg on drums and featuring fellow St. Louisan, trumpeter Keyon Herrold, as special guest.

Although Glasper has played here before with his piano trio, the Experiment will be making their debut at the new Jazz at the Bistro with a special midweek two-night engagement, with two sets on Wednesday and again on Thursday.

And while the Experiment's blend of jazz with hip-hop, funk and neo-soul influences may not suit all the purists out there, they've managed (with help from a couple of Grammy wins) to attract a considerable number of fans from outside the core jazz audience.

Given that, plus the presence of hometown success stories Colenburg and Harrold, advance reservations are highly recommended. For more about the Robert Glasper Experiment and some video samples of the band in action, check out this video showcase post from a couple of weeks ago.

Elsewhere around town, the touring musical production In The Mood, featuring a live band with singers and dancers performing Swing Era favorites, returns for matinee and evening shows at the Touhill Performing Arts Center; and singer Erin Bode will perform at Nathalie's.

Thursday, April 23
Denise Thimes inaugurates a new concert series for Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis with an early evening performance at Centene Auditorium, 7700 Forsyth in Clayton; pianist Ptah Williams, guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Darrell Mixon begin what's billed as a new weekly residency at The Dark Room in Grand Center; and guitarists Tom Byrne and William Lenihan will duet at Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar.

Friday, April 24
Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran and his band Guerrilla Swing have been performing weekly for Sunday brunch at Jazz at the Bistro for a couple of months now, and this weekend, they'll make their official evening debut on the Bistro stage with performances on Friday and Saturday night.

Also on Friday, the Webster University New Music Ensemble will perform "The Music of Brian Eno" at the Community Music School on the Webster campus; Tim Cunningham will take the stage for what's billed as the first of two nights of live recordings at Troy's Jazz Gallery; and Herman Semidey and Orquesta Son Montuno will play for Latin and salsa dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom

If swing dancing is more your style, there's also the monthly "West End Stomp" at the Mahler Ballroom, with music this month from The Sidemen; and if you're in more of a "sit and listen" mood, Jim Manley and Randy Bahr will be performing on trumpet and guitar, respectively, in the relatively intimate confines of Thurman Grill.

Saturday, April 25
Although at this point they've got only a fraction of the public profile of Robert Glasper and the Experiment, drummer Gerald Cleaver's group Black Host arguably are of equal potential significance in indicating a possible way forward for improvised music, and so their concert presented by New Music Circle at The Stage at KDHX should be of significant interest to music fans wondering what could be next.

With Cleaver providing compositional frameworks that draw on a variety of influences, Black Host blends jazz with loud, rock-guitar textures, free improv, and more into something that's hard to pigeonhole but certainly offers vast sonic possibilities. You can see them on video, and find links to a couple of extended interviews with Cleaver, in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, singer Joe Mancuso will return to Nathalie's; Wack-A-Doo will perform at the house concert venue Kinda Blue, 6101 1/2 Idaho; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will be playing swing, hot jazz and blues at the Venice Cafe.

Sunday, April 26
Sarah Jane and The Blue Notes won't have much time for rest after Saturday night's gig, as they'll be filling in for Sunday brunch at Evangeline's,  Meanwhile, Tommy Halloran and band will be right  back on stage at the Bistro, while the rest of the weekly Sunday brunch gigs around town proceed (we hope) as usual.

Also on Sunday evening, Sound Unlimited, aka multi-instrumentalists Gary Presley and John Pyatt plus assorted guests and friends, have begun what's anticipated to be a weekly Sunday dinner-hour gig at Candicci’s Restaurant, 100 Holloway Rd in Ballwin.

Monday, April 27
Saxophonist "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will be back for their monthly gig at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Tuesday, April 28
Eclectic instrumental band The 442s will play at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(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.)

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