From a big band tribute to one of St. Louis' all-time musical greats to the debut appearance by an avant-garde band from Australia, this week's calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis offers an exceptionally eclectic selection of shows. Let's go to the highlights...
Thursday, March 24
Saxophonist Mark Colby will front a quartet for a free performance at Saxquest. Colby, who broke into the business with Maynard Ferguson's band and made a number of well-received albums in the 1980s with keyboardist Bob James, now splits his time between touring and recording activities and teaching at DePaul University and Elmhurst College in Chicago.
Also on Thursday, keyboardist Bill Laurance will perform at the Old Rock House. Laurance probably is best known as one of the keyboardists for Snarky Puppy, but he's had a diverse career as a sideman, session player, and composer for dance companies.
He's currently touring in support of his recently released third solo album Aftersun, described as "a paean to space exploration and life in the cosmos" that was recorded with help from Snarky Puppy bandmates Michael League and Robert "Sput" Searight and percussionist Weedie Braimah.
Friday, March 25
Trumpeter Byron Stripling(pictured, top left, with Clark Terry) returns to join the Jazz St. Louis Big Band for the first of two nights of a "Tribute to Clark Terry" at Jazz at the Bistro.
While Terry was undeniably a singular talent, Stripling (who's toured successfully for years with a tribute to Louis Armstrong) certainly brings both chops and showmanship to the party. He's also bringing a specially composed big-band suite paying tribute to Terry, which was premiered last year by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra (which Stripling directs) and will be expanded for this weekend's performances by a new fourth movement composed by St. Louis trombonist and tuba player Cody Henry.
Together for nearly 30 years now, The Necks (pictured, bottom left) are a piano-bass-drums trio that defies the familiar conventions of that format, and are known instead for their extended minimalist improvisations, which can last up to an hour each. For some video samples of past performances, plus interviews with the band members, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.
(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.)
Edited 3/23/16 to correct the name of the composer of the Clark Terry tribute suite's fourth movement.