Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jazz this week: Melissa Aldana Quartet, Ben Wendel's "The Seasons," Galactic, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features performances from two stellar saxophonists, one of New Orleans' favorite funk bands, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

March 14
Saxophonist Melissa Aldana returns with her quartet for the first of four nights of performances at Jazz at the Bistro.

Aldana, who was born in Chile and educated at Berklee, has enjoyed a fast rise in the jazz world since becoming the first female instrumentalist and the first South American to win the annual Thelonious Monk competition in 2013, thanks to her distinctive tone on tenor sax and a musical approach influenced by players such as Sonny Rollins, Don Byas and Mark Turner.

For more about Aldana, you can see and hear some samples of her playing on video in this post, which dates from her St. Louis debut two years ago, and read an interview with her published a few weeks ago by the Chicago Tribune here.

Aldana's sets also will be simulcast on video to the first-floor lounge opposite the Bistro, where they can be viewed for free as part of the "Grand Center Jazz Crawl,"  which this week also includes Jacob Alspach and Friends at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session led by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Thursday, March 15
Saxophonist Ben Wendel performs at The Ready Room. Wendel (pictured, top left), best known as a member of the cooperative band Kneebody, currently is touring with music from a project called "The Seasons," which featured 12 original compositions dedicated to musical friends and colleagues that were released as a series of duo performances on video over the course of a year.

You can find out more about Wendel and "The Seasons," and hear some of the compositions that have been expanded to full-band arrangements for the tour, in this post from a week ago Saturday.

Update: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14: StLJN has just gotten word from Ben Wendel's publicist that his St. Louis date has been cancelled. If you bought tickets, contact your point of purchase for refund details.

Also on Thursday, New Orleans funk/jazz band Galactic (pictured, bottom left) will be back for another visit to St. Louis, their destination this time being Delmar Hall; Cincinnati "garage jazz" band Animal Mother tops a bill that also includes Animal Children and saxophonist Dave Stone at Foam; and saxophonist Ben Reece's Unity Quartet returns to The Dark Room.

Friday, March 16
Catch some of St. Louis' own at one of several weekly residencies happening on Fridays, including pianist Ptah Williams' trio at The Dark Room; singer and guitarist Tommy Halloran at Das Bevo Underground, or saxophonist Tim Cunningham at Troy's Jazz Gallery.

Saturday, March 17
Pianist Christopher Parrish plays a matinee at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site's Rosebud Cafe as part of a new monthly series presented by the Friends of Scott Joplin.

Then on Saturday night, singer Tony Viviano will be doing his thing at Table Three, while keyboardist Mo Egeston offers late night grooves at The Dark Room.

Sunday, March 18
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents Miss Jubilee in concert at the Moolah Shrine Temple in Maryland Heights.

Monday, March 19
Trumpeter Jim Manley will be back at Momo's Greek Restaurant, and pianist Carolbeth True and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis will perform a duo concert at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium.

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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