Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jazz this week: Regina Carter, Jeff Beck,
STL Free Jazz Collective, and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music performances in St. Louis is book-ended by two performers - perhaps the most famous living jazz violinist, and a legendary rock guitarist - who both have successfully stretched the boundaries of their respective musical genres.

In between, there are a number of noteworthy shows from local musicians in styles ranging from traditional jazz to free improv. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, May 13
Violinist Regina Carter returns to Jazz at the Bistro, opening a four-night engagement that continues through Saturday.

During this visit to St. Louis, Carter (pictured, top left) will be showcasing music from her 2014 album Southern Comfort, which presents her personal interpretations of folk, blues, country and roots music from the rural South. You can find out more about the project, and see videos of Carter performing several songs from the album, in this post from last Saturday.

Also tonight, singer Eve Seltzer fronts a trio at Nathalie's; and keyboardist Bob Werner and singer Ellen Martinez host a new "open mic" night at Shakers, which recently moved into the space formerly occupied by  Jazz on Broadway at 554 W. Broadway, in downtown Alton.

Thursday, May 14
Singer Tony Viviano pays tribute to the legacy of Bobby Darin at Patrick's Westport Grill; bassist Willem von Hombracht will team up with singer Arvell Keithley for a duo show at Thurman Grill; and trumpeter Jim Manley and guitarist Randy Bahr are now doing their duo gig at Momo's Greek Restaurant in U. City on Thursdays as well as Mondays.

Friday, May 15
The recently formed STL, A Free Jazz Collective will take the stage for their second-ever show at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Explicitly attempting to carry on the improvised music banner once raised by the historic Black Artists Group, the band (pictured, center left) features an intriguing assortment of musical personalities, including Jim Hegarty (piano, electronics), "Baba" Mike Nelson (trumpet, shells, miscellaneous instruments), Jerome "J. Dubs" Williams (alto sax), Paul Steinbeck (bass), and Gary Sykes (drums, percussion), topped off by the spoken word contributions of St. Louis poet laureate Michael Castro.

Elsewhere on Friday, veteran trumpeter Gary Dammer plays a rare public gig at Jacoby Arts Center; saxophonist Jay Hutson brings his R&B sound to Evangeline's; saxophonist Tim Cunningham will return to Troy's Jazz Gallery; the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and guitarist Vincent Varvel will perform in the intimate confines of the house concert venue KindaBlue.

Saturday, May 16
Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran's Guerrilla Swing will play a kid-friendly "Musical Merry-Go-Round" matinee, sponsored by KDHX, at the Tick Tock Tavern, 3549 Magnolia.

Then on Saturday evening, trumpeter Kasimu Taylor leads a quintet in a Miles Davis birthday tribute show at the Kranzberg Arts Center; and Wack-A-Doo plays swing, hot jazz and Americana at Evangeline's

Sunday, May 17
St. Louis Jazz Club presents a matinee performance by the Union Dixie Jazz Band at Concord Farmers' Club.

Monday, May 18
 "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective are doing their regular gig at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups a week earlier that usual this month, as BB's will be closed for Memorial Day..

Tuesday, May 19
It's been 50 years since Jeff Beck (pictured, lower left) first came to public attention as the guitarist tapped to replace Eric Clapton in the British blues-rock band the Yardbirds, and 40 years since the all-instrumental album Blow by Blow showed the world that he was much more than just a stereotypical raving rocker.

Although there have been some periods of relative inactivity in the ensuing years, Beck's command of tone, touch and time remains distinctive and nearly unequaled, and so his show at the Fox Theatre should be a highlight of the year for fans of crafty electric guitar playing. As of this writing, there still are some tickets available, so if you've ever wanted to see Jeff Beck, now would seem to be the time

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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