Friday, March 31, 2017

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* The Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden has announced its schedule for 2017, with ten free concerts in total, including performances from the trad jazz band Gaslight Squares on Wednesday, June 14 and pianist Ptah Williams on Wednesday, July 12.

* Kneebody keyboardist Adam Benjamin was interviewed for a brief article by St. Louis magazine's Erin Williams. The group continues their run at Jazz at the Bistro through Saturday night.

* Riverbend Restaurant and Bar, the Richmond Heights spot that featured live jazz from trumpeter Jim Manley every Tuesday night alongside its creole and Cajun cuisine, has closed permanently.

* An album of pictures from percussionist Poncho Sanchez' shows last week at Jazz at the Bistro has been posted to Facebook by St. Louis trombonist Dave Dickey, who's friends with Sanchez and several members of his group and sat in with them at the Bistro.

* Electronic musician Nathan Cook (aka NNN Cook) was interviewed about his Rhizomatic series of recordings featuring St. Louis experimental musicians by Willis Ryder Arnold of St. Louis Public Radio.

* The website St. Louis Musicians Unite has a short feature about this weekend's events celebrating composer Scott Joplin, and also has put together a Spotify playlist collecting recordings by St. Louis jazz musicians.

* Trumpeter and St. Louis native Ally Hany has won second place in the jazz division of the 2017 National Trumpet Competition, held earlier this month at Metropolitan State University in Denver, CO. Hany, a graduate of Webster Groves High School and University of North Texas, currently is living in NYC, working on a master's degree at Manhattan School of Music and performing with ensembles including the MSM Jazz Orchestra and Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra.

* Pianist Makini Morrison, a senior at University City High School, is one of 17 finalists in the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation's 2017 St. Louis Teen Talent Competition. Morrison (pictured) has been part of Jazz St. Louis' JazzU program and also has played with the North County Big Band. The competition finals will take place Saturday, April 8 at the Fox Theatre.

* Jack Snelling, a senior at Webster Groves High School, has won first place in the high school jazz division of the Mizzou New Music Initiative's 2017 Creating Original Music Project (COMP), a statewide competition for Missouri student composers in grades K-12. Snelling's winning work "Lovesick" will be performed along with this year's other winning compositions as part of the COMP Festival on Saturday, April 15 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

* Worship Jazz, the St. Louis-based publisher of jazz arrangements of sacred music, has added a collection of 12 "jazz liturgies" to the five volumes of jazz hymns already in their catalog. The liturgical resources are "intended to help church musicians create their own jazz worship services, with each focused on a specific liturgical theme with a complete worship format."

* The Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville is looking for a new production manager. If you're interested, you can find more information about the job and how to apply at

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