Saturday, June 30, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Summerset brings smooth jazz to Forest Park

When smooth jazz faded as a radio format a few years back, the listeners of those station and the bands and musicians whose works were played on those stations didn't just disappear.

The ability to hear those artists play live, however, varies widely from city to city. Here in St. Louis, The Pageant used to present two or three shows a year featuring touring smooth jazz musicians, which more recently has tapered off to just an occasional production, as when multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson played the venue earlier this year. Similarly, the local casinos, which collectively used to add a few more shows to each year's total, these days for the most part seem to be eschewing smooth jazz concerts.

That's left recent local presentations of touring smooth jazz performers mostly to one-off events and festivals, like Summerset, a three-night event taking place Thursday, July 12 through Saturday, July 14 at the World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park.

Though this may seem an unlikely venue at first take, this is the event's fourth year there and the dwindling amount of seating shown as "available" on the ticketing website suggests sales have been relatively brisk. So, we're taking this opportunity to share videos of some of the musicians who will be appearing while there may still be a chance to score some seats.

On Thursday, July 12, the performers will be saxophonist Paul Taylor (who headlined the Chesterfield Jazz Festival here back in 2013) and saxophonist Pamela Williams.

You can see Taylor in the first video up above, performing "Awakening" at a gig last August in Columbus, OH. After the jump, you can see a full set by Williams and her band, exact date and location unknown, but seemingly recent.

Then on Friday, July 13, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxophonist Everette Harp, and guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. will be the featured performers.

You can see Lorber in the third video, playing "Test Drive" with his trio in April 2018 at a show in Cleveland, and again in the fourth clip, backing up Harp as the saxophonist covers Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" at a show recorded in 2015 at the Augsburg Smooth Jazz Festival in Germany.

That's followed by a video of Jackson performing "Bayshore Drive" at last year's Algarve Smooth Jazz Festival in Portugal.

The finale show on Saturday, July 14 puts the emphasis on vocals, and will feature St. Louis native Lynne Fiddmont along with R&B crooner Howard Hewett.

Fiddmont can been seen in the sixth clip, performing Stevie Wonder's "All I Do" at a gig in 2012 at Spaghettinis in Seal Beach, CA. (Alas, more recent live video of her seems to be rather scarce online.)

Lastly, you can see two clips of Hewitt. In the first, recorded in 2011 at the Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, he teams up with a band led by Stanley Clarke to perform "I'm For Real," which Hewett and Clarke co-wrote.

Finding more recent video of Hewett with a live band proved to be a challenge, but you can get an idea of what he looks and sounds like these days in the final clip, in which he performs to prerecorded tracks a medley of hits from his former group Shalamar - "Second Time Around" "Make That Move," "There's A Love For Me," and "A Night To Remember" - recorded in January of this year in Little Rock, AR.

Also on Saturday, a separately ticketed after-party will feature a set from St. Louis-born R&B singer Truth Hurts and music from DJ Prince Halim. For more information about Summerset, follow the links for individual dates above or visit their website.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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