Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jazz this week: Marcus Roberts, Bethany Pickens, a tribute to Lee Morgan, and more

This week's schedule of jazz and creative music in and around St. Louis features performances from two talented touring pianists, as well as an eclectic assortment of shows featuring local bands and musicians. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 17
Pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio (pictured, top left) will play the first of four nights continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

After first gaining wide attention in the 1980s as a member of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' band, Roberts has evolved into something of a keeper of the jazz piano tradition, incorporating re-imaginations of the works of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, and many other historically important pianists into his sets alongside his original material.

His last gigs in St. Louis were in 2012 and 2014 at The Sheldon, and compared to the relatively concise format required in a concert hall performance, playing eight sets this week at the Bistro should give Roberts ample opportunity to delve into that extensive catalog of tunes.

The pianist's conception of his trio also includes giving ample solo space to his bandmates, longtime drummer Jason Marsalis and bassist Rodney Jordan. For more about that, and what else to expect from him this week, read Roberts' comments in the preview story written by Calvin Wilson for the Post-Dispatch.

Also tonight, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Open Mic Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Thursday, February 18
Singer Eve Seltzer (pictured, center left) will make her cabaret debut at The Monocle with an evening of songs tracing St. Louis jazz history that she's calling "Going Back to Gaslight Square"; and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis and his band will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Friday, February 19
Trumpeter Kasimu Taylor will pay tribute to an influential trumpeter of the hard bop era with "Here's Lee Morgan - The Music of A Jazz Legend" at the Kranzberg Arts Center. The songlist will include Morgan's signature 1960s hit “The Sidewinder” plus other tunes such as “Ceora” and “Since I Fell for You” that are associated with him, as interpreted by Taylor, tenor saxophonist Kwanae Johnson, pianist Adam Maness, bassist Ben Wheeler, and drummer Montez Coleman.

Also on Friday, Miss Jubilee will perform in concert at Alton's Jacoby Arts Center; and Second Generation Swing plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, February 20
Kansas City's Shades of Jade, an up-and-coming act led by trumpeter and former St. Louisan Joshua Williams that mixes jazz with hip-hop and neo-soul, will return to St. Louis for a concert presented by Robbie's House of Jazz at Kranzberg Arts Center.

Also on Saturday, twenty-four St. Louis drummers and percussionists will pair up for a dozen duo performances in "Drummers Only Deux", a benefit show raising money for the International Institute St. Louis and the Organization for Black Struggle at The Luminary; guitarist Vincent Varvel leads a trio at the house concert venue KindaBlue Club, and percussionist Herman Semidey's Orquesta Son Montuno will play salsa and Latin jazz at Club Viva.

Sunday, February 21
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents pianist Bob Row and friends playing traditional jazz and swing in a matinee concert at the DoubleTree Hotel at Westport, and pianist Bethany Pickens (pictured, bottom left), daughter of the fine Chicago pianist Willie Pickens, will be the featured performer at a benefit for Community Women Against Hardship at the Ferring Jazz Bistro.

Monday, February 22
The Webster University Jazz Collective, featuring members of the university's jazz faculty, will perform music by Bob Mintzer, Thad Jones, Don Sebesky and more at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

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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