Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Jazz this week: Vijay Iyer Trio, Dianne Reeves, Tomeka Reid's Artifacts Trio, and more

It's going to be a very busy few days for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with several noteworthy touring headliners in town, plus the beginning of our town's annual cornucopia of holiday-themed performances from both visiting and local musicians.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, November 30
Pianist Vijay Iyer returns with his longtime associates, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, to perform for the first of four nights continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

Iyer already was considered one of the fastest-rising stars in jazz when he last played here in St. Louis - in January 2010, also at the Bistro - and in the nearly seven years since, he's taken on a variety of new projects that have earned continued critical acclaim and growing public recognition.

For more about that, plus some recent video samples of Iyer's trio (pictured, top left) in action, check out this video post from a couple of Saturdays ago, as well as his recent interviews with St. Louis Public Radio's David Cazares and the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson.

Thursday, December 1
Singer, educator and former St. Louisan Jan Shapiro, the longtime head of vocal music at Berklee College of Music, will return home to perform in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Also on Thursday, the student musicians of the North County Big Band, directed by saxophonist Harvey Lockhart, will present their semester-ending performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall; and pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True will be joined by singer Erika Johnson for a concert presented by St. Louis Public Radio at UMSL at Grand Center.

Friday, December 2
Singer Dianne Reeves returns to St. Louis for the first time since 2013 with a holiday-themed concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Reeves (pictured, center left) will offer her interpretations of seasonal favorites such as “Little Drummer Boy,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Christmas Waltz,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Let It Snow,” and more, accompanied by a band featuring two musicians from the St. Louis area - her longtime pianist and music director, U City native Peter Martin, and drummer Terreon Gully, who's originally from East St. Louis - plus bassist Reginald Veal and guitarist Romero Lubambo.

Also on Friday, The Fat Babies, a Chicago-based band specializing in vintage jazz of the 1920s and '30s will perform at Off Broadway in the first of three shows they'll be doing in St. Louis this weekend. The group also will play for dancers on Saturday night at Casa Loma Ballroom, then provide an opening set for the St. Louis Jazz Club on Sunday (see below) before heading home.

Saturday, December 3
Cellist and composer Tomeka Reid's Artifacts Trio with flute player Nicole Mitchell and percussionist Mike Reed will play a New Music Circle-presented concert at Joe's Cafe.

Following in the footsteps of the founders who started Chicago's venerable Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the 1960s, Reid, Mitchell, and Reed (pictured, bottom left) represent what might be called the next generation of the AACM's leadership, having all served together on that organization's board at one point a few years back.

All three are active as bandleaders and collaborators in Chicago's busy jazz and creative music scene, and their shared musical history and the AACM connection eventually brought them together in 2015 under Reid's nominal leadership to record Artifacts, an album of new interpretations of music by AACM-affiliated composers. For more about that, and some video samples of various Tomeka Reid performances, take a look at the video post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, saxophonist Eric Marienthal will perform with St. Louis' Bach to the Future in a benefit concert for the adoption agency Dillon International at the Mandarin House Banquet Hall in U. City; and pianist Carolbeth True and multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman will reunite to revisit music from their 1998 album "New World Harmonica Jazz" at the Ozark Theatre

Sunday, December 4
The St. Louis Jazz Club's annual holiday party gets underway at an earlier-than-usual starting time with an opening set from Chicago's Fat Babies, followed by a full-length performance of traditional jazz and swing from St. Louis' own Cornet Chop Suey at the Moolah Shrine Center.

Also on Sunday afternoon, the Friends of Scott Joplin present their monthly "Ragtime Rendezvous" at the  Scott Joplin House State Historic Site's New Rosebud Cafe; and music students at the University of Missouri St. Louis present "UMSL's Jazz For The Holidays" a free concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center featuring music from the UMSL Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Jim Widner, Vocal Point conducted by Jim Henry, and the University Orchestra.

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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