Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Jazz this week: Holiday shows from Kirk Whalum, Jim Manley, and more

This week's schedule of jazz and creative music in St. Louis is highlighted by a lot of holiday-themed performances and several tributes marking Frank Sinatra's centenary, but there's also traditional jazz and swing, an evening of solo free improvisations, and much more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, December 9
The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra plays a Christmas concert at the Ozark Theatre, and funk quartet The Service will take the stage for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Also tonight, singer Eve Seltzer and Franglais will play Gypsy jazz and swing at Nathalie's , and pianist Brock Walker performs at Evangeline's.

Thursday, December 10
As the name implies, "Soliloquy III" at the Tavern of Fine Arts will feature a set of solo improvisations from players including pianists Greg Mills and James Hegarty, percussionist Henry Claude, cellist Tracy Andreotti, flute players Colleen O’Shea Jones and Fred Tompkins, poets Michael Castro and Ruth Garnett, and more. In the second set, the participants will combine into duos and trios for more freely improvised sounds.

Also on Thursday, singer Feyza Eren will be celebrating "A Bossa Nova Christmas" at The Emerald Room at The Monocle (a new cabaret venue at 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood); and students from Washington University's jazz performance program will show off what they've learned this term in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Wash U.

Friday, December 11
Trumpeter Jim Manley (pictured, top left) and a full band will revisit his holiday show "A Very Manley Christmas" for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro, while singer Tony Viviano offers a "Happy 100th Birthday Tribute to Frank Sinatra" at Patrick's in Westport Plaza.

Elsewhere around town, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; trumpeter and vibraphonist Joe Bozzi and his band return to Evangeline's; and guitarist Tom Byrne and singer Erika Johnson will perform at Thurman Grill.

Saturday, December 12
In two more tributes to the "Chairman of the Board," singer and impressionist Dean Christopher will present a "Holiday Rat Pack & Frank Sinatra Birthday Celebration" as a matinee at the Wildey Theatre, while the St. Louis Big Band and singer Joe Scalzitti reprise their show "Sinatra at 100" at the Maryland Heights Community Center.

December 13
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents Red Lehr and the St. Louis Rivermen playing traditional jazz, swing, and probably a holiday song or two in a matinee performance at the DoubleTree Hotel at Westport.

That evening, saxophonist Kirk Whalum (pictured, lower left) brings his "Gospel According To Jazz Christmas" to the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, with a cast including his brother, singer Kevin Whalum, along with saxophonist Gerald Albright, guitarist Norman Brown, singer Shelea, and keyboardist and singer John Stoddart, plus Tiffany Mosley, Leslie Johnson, Darius Bradford, the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church Mass Choir, and the R.F. Specials Choirs.

Also on Sunday, jazz/fusion band Common Time teams up with singers Joe Mancuso, Debby Lennon, and Arvell Keithly Jr for a Christmas show at Blueberry Hill, with proceeds going to benefit a family from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's "100 Neediest Cases" list.

Monday, December 14
Dizzy Atmosphere will play for diners at The Shaved Duck, and trumpeter Keith Moyer and his band return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Tuesday, December 15
The Chicago-based new music group Ursa Ensemble performs at 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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