Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jazz this week: Melissa Aldana, Keri Johnsrud, Peter and Will Anderson, and more

Although this week's schedule of jazz and creative music is considerably less jam-packed than last week's, listeners still will have a chance to check out several intriguing young performers visiting St. Louis, plus an assortment of shows from various hometown favorites.

Let's go to this highlights...

Wednesday, April 27
Saxophonist Melissa Aldana (pictured, top left) makes her St. Louis debut with the first of four evenings of performances continuing though Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro

Aldana, a 27-year-old native of Chile who studied at Berklee College of Music, draws significant inspiration from saxophonists a couple of generations her elder - most notably Sonny Rollins, but also Joe Henderson, Cannonball Adderly, and even older players as Don Byas and Lucky Thompson, whom she learned about as a young girl from her father, also a professional sax player.

She first made a big splash here in the US in 2013 when she became the first female instrumentalist ever to win the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. For more about Aldana, and some video samples of her performances - including her award-winning set at the Monk competition - see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Wednesday, The 442s will perform for the monthly music series at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Thursday, April 28
Saxophonist Jim Stevens leads a quartet at Hammerstone's; pianist Brad Ellebrecht and singer Wendy Gordon will perform at Evangeline's; the Tavern of Fine Arts hosts their monthly open mic featuring live improvised music; and singer Ken Haller reprises the cabaret show "Song by Song by Sondheim" at The Monocle.

Friday, April 29
Chicago-based singer Keri Johnsrud, who made her St. Louis debut a few weeks ago with a concert at The Chapel in Clayton, will be back in our town for a more informal show at Evangeline's.

Johnsrud (pictured, center left) is a third-generation singer who's originally from Iowa. She's played top Chicago venues including the Green Mill and the Jazz Showcase, and has released two albums, the most recent of which, 2015's This Side of Morning, featured all original material.

Also on Friday, the saxophone-playing brothers Peter and Will Anderson will perform at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Hailing from Washington DC, the brothers both studied at the Juilliard School and then took up residence there in NYC after graduation. Since then, in addition to fronting their own group on tour and as leaders on a couple of recordings, they've also appeared with the Jimmy Heath Big Band, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Elsewhere that evening, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play for a swing dance sponsored by Lindy Hop St. Louis at the Casa Loma Ballroom, and the Funky Butt Brass Band plays their monthly gig at Broadway Oyster Bar.

Saturday, April 30
Guitarist Todd Mosby (pictured, bottom left) will play music from his new album On Eagle Mountain at the Focal Point in Maplewood; singer Feyza Eren will perform at Alton's Jacoby Arts Center; and guitarist Vincent Varvel leads a trio at The Dark Room.

Sunday, May 1
The Spring edition of the St. Louis Record & CD Collector Show will take place Sunday morning and afternoon at the American Czech Hall, and that evening, the St. Louis Low Brass Collective will present their annual "Showcase Concert" at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, 1201 S Warson Rd, 63124

Monday, May 2
Trumpeter Jim Manley continues his regular Monday night residency at Momo's Greek Restaurant in U City.

Tuesday, May 3
Pianist Greg Mills and friends will present "Soliloquy IV," a night of solo improvised performances, at the 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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