Sheldon Concert Hall has announced their various series lineups for the 2015-16 season, with a jazz series featuring four piano players, plus various other events that may be of interest to jazz and creative music fans.
Brazilian-born pianist Eliane Elias (pictured, top left) will begin the jazz series on Saturday, November 21, followed by Billy Childs presenting his show "Re-Imagining Laura Nyro" on Saturday, January 30.
The Panamanian native Danilo Pérez (pictured, center left) is next, with a program called, appropriately enough, "Panama 500" on Saturday, February 27, and Cyrus Chestnut, who's quite familiar to St. Louis listeners from numerous previous appearances at Jazz at the Bistro and The Sheldon, wraps up the series with "African Reflections" on Saturday, May 7.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (pictured, bottom left) booked to perform at the Friends of the Sheldon benefit gala on Saturday, October 3, and pianist Ramsey Lewis celebrating the 50th anniversary of his hit "The In Crowd" at the annual ArtSounds! event on Saturday, November 7.
(While the benefit gala ticket prices start at $150 for JaLCO and Marsalis, and $125 for Lewis, and go up from there, there also will be concert-only tickets sold for both, priced at $45 orchestra, $40 balcony for JaLCO and $65 orchestra, $55 balcony for Lewis.)
Also of potential interest to jazz fans, singer Banu Gibson will pay tribute to "40 Years of Randy Newman" in a special non-subscription matinee concert on Sunday, October 25.
Peter Martin turns up on three different programs - first, in a concert for his eponymous series, with a special guest TBA, on Saturday, October 10; then with St. Louis Symphony violinist David Halen and friends for a holiday program on Wednesday, December 2; and finally, with Halen and other St. Louis Symphony members playing classical music on Wednesday, April 6.
New music ensemble Alarm Will Sound also will be back for their fourth St. Louis season, with concerts scheduled for Tuesday, October 20; Friday, November 20; Friday, February 12; and Thursday, May 26.
The popular Coffee Concert series of mid-week morning performances will include Alan Ox doing “Songs of Great American Crooners” on Tuesday, October 6 and Wednesday, October 7; actor/singer Ben Nordstrom on Tuesday, February 16 and Wednesday, February 17; Wack-A-Doo on Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6; and cabaret singer Tim Schall in a tribute to music of the Gaslight Square era, “The Gaslight Generation,” on Tuesday May 10 and Wednesday, May 11. Last (from a jazz perspective) but not least, trumpeter and singer Dawn Weber will play a Saturday matinee on Saturday, April 2.
So what's the "hot take" on this lineup? Longtime readers may recall that in the past, yr. humble StLJN editor has taken the Sheldon's management to task for being too risk-averse when booking the jazz series, and the phrase "talented, but safe" once again could be used to describe pretty much all this year's choices. Consider also that, although some of the individual programs presented might have been different, the entire jazz series could have been booked with these exact same artists 10 years ago, and the dimensions of the challenge become more apparent.
Of course, there's always potential for additional individual concerts to be added as the fall approaches, and if past years are any guide, there likely will be at least a couple more shows of interest to jazz fans. But given that this year's lineup contained some arguably riskier choices, such as the Spokfrevo Orquestra and Cécile McLorin Salvant, the 2015-16 slate seems like a bit of an artistic retrenchment.
Subscriptions for the four-concert jazz series are $150 for orchestra seating, $135 balcony, with prices for other shows varying according the specific event. New subscriptions go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 11, with sales will continuing through the first concert in each series, via phone at 314-533-9900 and online at http://www.thesheldon.org/. Single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. August 8 at 10 a.m. via MetroTix or the Sheldon website.