Although the official celebrations during Mardi Gras week in St. Louis typically don't offer much for jazz fans, leaning heavily on rock cover/tribute bands and DJs, this year the concert calendar countdown to Fat Tuesday just happens to feature several noteworthy touring jazz headliners, plus an assortment of shows from local performers. Let's go to the highlights...
Born in France and working in the US for much of the last decade, the 31-year old Aimée (pictured, top left) has musical roots in Gypsy jazz and swing, but also deploys some very non-traditional techniques, like using a looping pedal to create one-woman acapella arrangements in real time.
Thursday, February 4
The Funky Butt Brass Band, one of the few jazz or jazz-related local acts that does get extra work at Carnival time, will play an early evening "Mardi Gras Party" at the Blues City Deli.
Saturday, February 6
To hear some jazz, funk and/or R&B after the big parade on Saturday, your best bet downtown may be the Old Rock House's Mardi Gras Parade Day celebration featuring the Funky Butt Brass Band and Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band.
When Porter (pictured, center left) was here last back in 2013, he was just starting to enjoy some crossover success. Since then, he's released a Grammy winning album and, as his audience has continued to grow, moved up to headline at bigger venues and major festivals.
He's also now employing two St. Louis musicians - drummer Emanuel Harrold (brother of trumpeter Keyon Harrold) and bassist Jahmal Nichols - in his band, which should make for a lively homecoming feel at the Touhill. You can read more about Porter's successes, and see some of his recent performances, in last week's Saturday video post.
Monday, February 8
While a three-night, Monday-through-Wednesday booking isn't the usual for Jazz at the Bistro, Jazz St. Louis understandably was willing to change things up a bit to secure the services of saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet, who have proven to be both a good draw and of high musical quality for years now.
Marsalis (pictured, lower left) and pianist Joey Calderazzo played a duo show at the Sheldon back in January 2012, but given that it's been even longer since the saxophonist did a full-band show here, demand for tickets should be substantial. The good news is that while seats for Marsalis' 7:30 sets may be hard to come by at this point, tickets for the 9:30 performances may be more available for shows early in the week than they would be on a weekend. Regardless, advance reservations are recommended.
(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.)