Friday, April 18, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* There's a new entry on Clark Terry's blog, in which the legendary trumpeter and St. Louis native - who at 93 is physically frail but remains indomitable in spirit - details his recent efforts to "keep on keepin' on."

Said blog post also alerted us to a nice feature story about Terry published earlier this year in Allegro, the magazine of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians.

* Tomorrow is the annual Record Store Day, and St. Louis music purveyors including Euclid Records, Apop Records, and Vintage Vinyl will celebrating variously with live music, in-store guest DJs, food and drink, special limited edition releases, and more. You can get a good overview of the goings-on around town via this article by the Riverfront Times' Mike Appelstein.

Also, as mentioned (or, depending upon your point of view, threatened) in this space last week, once again this year I'll be a guest DJ at Vintage Vinyl, spinning jazz, blues, funk, soul and who-know-what-else inside the store for an hour starting at 4:00 p.m.. Don't say you haven't been warned.

* Modern dance company MADCO's premiere production of "Liquid Roads," which incorporated live jazz and blues from a band led by trumpeter Brian Casserly, was reviewed by Chris Gibson of Broadway World and by UMSL's student paper The Current.

* One of singer Storm Large's sold-out performances last weekend for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival was reviewed by Chuck Lavazzi of KDHX.

* The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has posted on Facebook an album of photos from their most recent performance at First Unity Church of St. Louis.

* Also on Facebook, the Sidney Street Shakers have posted an album of photos from their performance at Schlafly's Repeal of Prohibition Festival 2014.

* Want to win free tickets to see Harry Connick Jr. on Saturday, May 3 at the Peabody Opera House? The Post-Dispatch's GO! section is doing a giveaway on Facebook; see their page for details.

* Trumpeter Steve Lilley of the St. Louis Stompers is going this weekend to Fox Lake, WI to pay tribute to legendary trumpeter Bunny Berigan as part of the annual Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee.

* As predicted, the controversial bill granting a Los Angeles company exclusive rights to produce music festivals in downtown St. Louis on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends was passed this week by the St. Louis board of aldermen. Get the details in stories from from Nick Pistor of the Post and Kris Wernowsky of the RFT.

* The Jazz Journalists Association has announced the winners of its 2014 award in the musician and recording categories, and although several have performed in St. Louis during the past year, the only award tied to a local musician is the Historical Record of the Year, which went to Miles Davis' Miles Davis Quintet Live in Europe 1969 on Columbia Legacy (pictured). You can see the complete list of JJA award winners here.

* The Goldenrod Showboat, which for decades hosted jazz, ragtime and theater performances on the St. Louis riverfront, has gotten one more reprieve from the scrapyard, as the not-for-profit group trying to save the boat has reached an agreement to regain ownership from the Illinois River dock owners who bought it at auction last year. Paul Schankman of Fox 2 News also covered the story here.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, Calvin Wilson's program "Somethin' Else" will feature the songs of Jerome Kern, as interpreted by musicians including Keith Jarrett, Jackie McLean and Bill Frisell.

After that on "The Jazz Collective," host Jason Church promises spins of Cindy Bradley, Vincent Ingala, Bob Baldwin,Freddie Hubbard, Larry Carlton, Candy Dulfer, B.D. Lenz, as well as St. Louis' own Grant Green, Tommy Halloran, Elliott Ranney, Jim Stevens, and Dawn Weber, plus more.

Wilson's program airs at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays, followed by Church at 9:00 p.m., on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Elsewhere on the HD dial, longtime local radio veteran Rick Sanborn has joined the on-air staff at Hip 96.3 HD-3. Sanborn has been heard on several different St. Louis broadcast outlets including yesteryear smooth jazz station WSSM, and for several years also lent his name to a summer series of smooth jazz concerts at the Pageant. Fans can hear him on the new gig from noon to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

St. Louis DJs selling 10,000 items to benefit local charity on Saturday, April 26

If this Saturday's Record Store Day festivities prove insufficient to slake your thirst for vinyl and other music collectables, here's something else to anticipate:  St. Louis radio DJs past and present have donated an estimated 10,000 records, CDs and items of music-related memorabilia to be sold for the benefit of a local charity in a one-day "pop-up sale" on Saturday, April 26.

"The Gigantic St. Louis DJ Album Sale for Charity" will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 26 at 3137 Locust St. (east of Compton, one block west of The Fountain on Locust). Avid collectors who'd like first crack at the goodies on offer can pay a $10 fee for early access at 9:30 a.m.

“Many of my old radio friends talked about selling off their album collections for years, so making it a group effort with current on-air personalities to raise money for the hungry here in St. Louis was enthusiastically received by all,” said the event's organizer Ron Stevens in a news release. Stevens, who was on KSHE during the station's early days as "Real Rock Radio," now is associated with the website, which is presenting the event.

All proceeds will benefit the not-for-profit organization Caritas Connections, which "collects donated items and distributes them to worthy organizations in the St. Louis metropolitan area, who use them to clothe, feed and assist the needy in our community."

To date, DJs known for their time on-air at stations including KSHE, WIL, KDHX and KTRS have donated items, with more being added daily until the date of the sale. You can find out about new donations on the event's Facebook page.

Said to be one the most collectable items at the sale: a test pressing of the Eagles album Hotel California signed by the band (pictured). But the news release also promises "rare albums valued from $100-200" as well as "one-of-a-kind KSHE promotional items from the ‘70s, many never before made available to the public." To help fatten the take a bit - it is for charity, after all - some of the choicer collectables, such as the Eagles album, will be offered by silent auction or raffle.

A number of DJs familiar to longtime local radio listeners also will be on hand to work the event, including Stevens, Joy Grdnic, Mark Klose, Joe "Mama" Mason, John Ulett, Ted Habeck, Drew Johnson, Jim Singer, Rik Anthony, Chuck Lavazzi, and Tim Rakel, along with "several other local personalities and musicians." Sales of pizza by the slice and bottled water, donated by (respectively) Imo's and Dierberg's, also will benefit Caritas Connection.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Peter Martin to perform Saturday, May 17
at benefit for New City School

Pianist Peter Martin has played some big venues while working with the likes of Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, and the "Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60" tour. And when he's home in St. Louis, Martin can be heard most frequently at the Sheldon Concert Hall, which seats slightly more than 700.

Now those who'd like to hear Martin (pictured) in a slightly more intimate setting will have the chance when he plays a benefit for New City School on Saturday, May 17 in the Founder's Hall of the school, 5209 Waterman Blvd in the Central West End.

"Jazz It Up - An Evening With Peter Martin" begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception featuring wine, beer, and dessert, followed by a concert at 8:00 p.m. Gene Dobbs Bradford of Jazz St. Louis also will be on hand to offer "commentary and insights throughout the program."

The event is open to the public, but only 250 tickets will be sold. Tickets are $40 per person, and can be purchased online now at

Having recently completed nearly two months touring with the all-star Newport celebration, Martin this week on Twitter wrote that he hopes to do more with his own group in the near future, and posted the video below, which features him leading a quartet in his original song "Cuba...New Orleans." (The clip was recorded at the Lotos Jazz Festival in Poland, and also features East St. Louis' own Terreon Gully on drums, along with bassist James Genus and guitarist Peter Sprague.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jazz this week: Poncho Sanchez, Catherine Russell, The Cunninghams, and more

As Jazz Appreciation Month 2014 continues past the halfway point, the live performance calendar this week in St. Louis includes several touring performers visiting our town, the return of a veteran of Gaslight Square, and the usual variety of activity from local musicians. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, percussionist Poncho Sanchez and his band (pictured) open a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. One of the standard-bearers for mainstream Latin jazz, Sanchez' group over the years has consistently offered satisfying grooves topped with engaging solos, and the current edition is no exception. You can check out some relatively recent Sanchez performances on video in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also tonight, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra returns to Kirkwood Station Brewing Company; Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "open stage" event at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center presents a double-bill featuring free improvisation by Joe Hess, Nick Horn, Alex Cunningham and Dave Stone, plus some more structured jazz sounds from the newish band Boysiac, with Mason Baran, Matt Villinger, Joe Hibbs, and Nathan Pence.

Tomorrow night, Miss Jubilee will being doing double duty, with a happy hour performance at Magpie's in St. Charles and a late night session downtown at Thaxton Speakeasy; and guitarist Dave Black and Friends, including singer Joe Mancuso, will be at Nathalie’s.

On Friday, the Twin Cities jump blues and swing band Davina and the Vagabonds will be back in town for a show at The Gramophone, with singer/guitarist Tommy Halloran's Guerilla Swing as opening act. That same evening, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at the Highway 61 Roadhouse; singer Feyza Eren will lead a quartet in concert at the Kranzberg Arts Center; and guitarist Tom Byrne's trio plays at Cigar Inn.

On Saturday evening, singer and multi-instrumentalist Don Cunningham and his wife, singer-pianist Alicia Cunningham - better known as The Cunninghams - will be visiting from their home in Las Vegas to perform at 560 Music Center, accompanied by a local rhythm section including pianist Carolbeth True, Jeff Anderson on bass, and Gary Sykes on drums. You can read more about Don Cunningham's days performing in Gaslight Square, his first meeting with Alicia, the couple's subsequent popularity as a touring act in Asia, and more in this short feature about them that I wrote a few years back for the Riverfront Times.

If the Cunninghams' close harmony and occasional forays into exotica aren't your bag, you might want to check out singer Catherine Russell, who will be making her St. Louis debut as a headliner on Saturday at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Russell is sometimes referred to as "the daughter of jazz royalty," and you can find out more about that and see some video samples of her performing in this post from last Saturday. And if that piques your interest, you also should know that The Sheldon and Metrotix now are offering a discount on tickets to the concert.

Elsewhere around town on Saturday, saxophonist Jason Swagler, guitarist Eric Slaughter, bassist Nick Jost, and drummer Marty Morrison will take the stage at Robbie's House of Jazz; singer Tony Viviano returns to Talayna's of Chesterfield; and the Funky Butt Brass Band will play at the Old Rock House.

On Sunday, saxophonist Jim Stevens and band will perform in a matinee by the Mississippi at The Loading Dock in Grafton; and pianist Dave Venn will be holding forth at Pomme Café & Wine Bar.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the student jazz singers from Webster University will cap their semester with a performance at Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus.

Then on Tuesday, this spring's series of "Twilight Tuesday" concerts at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park gets underway with saxophonist Michael Fitzgerald offering "A Tribute to Miles Davis and David Sanborn"; and the SIUE Concert Jazz Band & Alumni, directed by Brett Stamps, will be back for another evening at Jazz at the Bistro.

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.)

The Sheldon, Metrotix offering discount
on tickets for Catherine Russell concert

The Sheldon Concert Hall and Metrotix are offering a discount on tickets for singer Catherine Russell's performance this Saturday, April 19 at the Sheldon.

Russell (pictured) will be making her St. Louis debut as a headliner. You can read more about her and check out some videos of her performing in this post from last Saturday.

Tickets for Saturday's concert originally priced at $40 and $35 now are available for just $25 by using the promotional code RUSSELL14. This discount code can be used for orders placed online at, by phone orders at 314-534-1111, or in person at the Fox Theatre box office, 527 N. Grand Blvd.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
In the tradition with Catherine Russell

Today, let's get acquainted with singer Catherine Russell, who will be making her St. Louis debut as a headliner next Saturday, April 19 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Russell is from New York, born in 1956 to Luis Russell, a pianist, composer and longtime bandleader for Louis Armstrong, and Carline Ray, a bassist and vocalist who performed with Mary Lou Williams and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

While she's been active in the music business for many years, Russell's career as a solo artist took a while to blossom. Before releasing her debut album Cat in 2002, she earned a living as an in-demand backup singer on tours and recordings with major artists including Steely Dan, Levon Helm, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Carrie Smith, and Rosanne Cash.

Though she's held on to some of those gigs - even getting a feature spot in the show on recent tours of the Dukes of September (Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs) -  her solo career has grown to occupy more and more of her time. Since her debut, Russell has released four more albums,  the most recent of which, Bring It Back, came out in February on the Jazz Village label, and in 2012 won a Grammy Award for her appearance as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Given her family connections to jazz history, it seems appropriate that Russell has found a niche as a solo artist by interpreting songs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s for a contemporary audience, and today we've got a few samples of her vocal stylings for you to enjoy.

In the video up at the top of this post, recorded in 2009 in the Netherlands with pianist Mark Shane, you can hear Russell perform "Back O' Town Blues," written by her father and Louis Armstrong.

The next four clips all were recorded in March 2012 at the The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and feature Russell performing with a band that includes guitarist and musical director Matt Munisteri, along with Mark Shane (piano), Lee Hudson (bass), Mark McLean (drums), Jon-Erik Kelso (trumpet), John Allred (trombone), Dan Block (sax, clarinet), Andy Farber (saxes), Dave Brown (trumpet), and Scott Robinson (saxes). The first number is "Everybody Loves My Baby," followed by "Romance In The Dark," "Ev'ntide," and "No More."

In the sixth and final clip, Russell talks about her latest album, Bring It Back. For more about Catherine Russell, check out this interview from earlier this year on the Tavis Smiley Show; and these recent features from the Boston Globe and World Music Central.

(See the rest of today's videos after the jump...)

Friday, April 11, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Next Saturday, April 19 is the annual National Record Store Day, and as always, St. Louis' local music retailers will be celebrating in style. For the fourth consecutive year, yr. humble StLJN editor will be spinning tunes at Vintage Vinyl for an hour, starting at 4:00 p.m.. See the poster for the event (pictured) for the store's complete schedule of DJs and live bands.

* Want some free tickets to hear guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola this Sunday at the Old Rock House? The show's promoters are giving away three pairs in an online promotion; RSVP to the show's Facebook event for a chance to win.

* Modern dance company MADCO's production "Liquid Roads," which debuts this weekend at the Touhill and features trumpeter Brian Casserly leading an onstage band playing jazz and blues, was previewed by Calvin Wilson of the Post-Dispatch and Chris Gibson of Broadway World

* Trumpeter Carl Fischer, in town tonight to back singer/pianist Billy Joel at the Scottrade Center, was profiled by St. Louis magazine's Kim Aubuchon.

* Here's another review of Reeds Ramble, saxophonist and Webster U alum Chris Cheek's new disc with fellow saxophonist Seamus Blake, written for by Bruce Lindsay.

* Check out two recent interviews with trumpeter Russell Gunn, from the websites Capital Bop and iRockJazz.

* KWMU/St. Louis Public Radio is looking for St. Louisans who have memories of or stories about our town's yesteryear entertainment district Gaslight Square.

* KDHX's new headquarters in Grand Center was the subject of a feature story by Ruth Ezell on KETC's Living St. Louis.

* A brief reminder that Music for Lifelong Achievement is conducting a musical instrument drive this month to collect instruments for deserving but disadvantaged local music students. You can drop off a used or new musical instrument (or cash donation) at any performance this month at the Sheldon Concert Hall, or bring it to the hall during normal business hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

* As Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis marks a full year on the air, the Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller assesses the station's progress.

* Jazz radio update: And speaking of Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, Calvin Wilson will celebrate the 50th installment of his program "Somethin' Else" this Saturday with encore spins of favorite tracks from Robert Glasper, Diana Krall, Joshua Redman, and more.

Right after than on "The Jazz Collective," host Jason Church will have music from Down To The Bone, Pieces of a Dream, Nathan East, John Coltrane, Excursion, Jack Furlong, Jim Manley, The Silverman Brothers, Common Time and Joe Mancuso.

Wilson's program airs at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays, followed by Church at 9:00 p.m., on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jazz this week: The Wee Trio, Take 6, J.D. Parran & George Sams, Scott Kirby, Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola, and more

With spring appearing finally to have sprung here in St. Louis, it should be a fine weekend to get out and hear some live jazz and creative music, and fortunately, our local stages will be filled with intriguing possibilities. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, Good 4 The Soul plays their monthly gig at  BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; Washington University's jazz studies students will perform a free concert to wrap up this semester's Jazz at Holmes series; the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center has a four-band bill topped by the Brazilian "punk rock with a bit of jazzy influence" band Lisabi; and the Gaslight Cabaret Festival continues with actress/singer Taylor Pietz performing her show "If I Only Had a Brain" at the Gaslight Theater.

Tomorrow night, The Wee Trio, featuring St. Louis native Dan Loomis on bass, returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of two nights officially celebrating the live album the group recorded there last year. For more about that, check this interview with Loomis from earlier this year on, and for some video samples of the Wee Trio in action, see this post from before their visit here last January.

Elsewhere around town, if you were hoping to see singer Storm Large's performance this weekend for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival but don't yet have tickets, you're out of luck, as both nights are sold out. Meanwhile, some spots may remain for the performance by vocal group Take 6 at Washington University Black Alumni Council's 30th anniversary dinner and concert in the Khorassan Ballroom of the Chase Park Plaza Hotel; click the "30th anniversary" link above for details.

There also should be some tickets remaining for MADCO's presentation of "Liquid Roads" at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The modern dance company's latest and largest-ever production will be accompanied by a four-piece live band led by trumpeter Brian Casserly of Cornet Chop Suey, performing original songs and a variety of jazz, blues and gospel favorites. You can see a brief video about the show here, and read a preview story written by Terry Perkins for St. Louis Public Radio here.

And if all that's not enough for one night, there's also singer Joe Mancuso leading a trio at EdgeWild Restaurant & Winery; the St. Louis Big Band at the Casa Loma Ballroom; pianist Carolbeth True and  Two Times True at Robbie's House of Jazz; and the Charlie B Jazz'd Trio at Thurman Grill.

On Saturday, the sounds at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site will range from free improv to ragtime, as the venue hosts two concerts in one day. First up, multi-instrumentalist J.D. Parran returns home to team up with trumpeter George Sams for a matinee that serves as the spring finale for the Nu-Art Series, and then pianist Scott Kirby will take over for an early evening concert presented by the Friends of Scott Joplin.

Also on Saturday, Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center continues their "Quiet Concert Series" with more new compositions from Mark Sarich and Greg Farough, as Farough continues his focus on "pure waveforms which interact with the natural resonance of rooms to form and slowly transform complex sonic relationships," while Sarich will present a new work utilizing the Schumann Resonance and text of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Elsewhere on Saturday, pianist Pauline Stark, saxophonist Willie Akins and singer Cici Ranek will perform in the old "Just Jazz" space at the Omni Majestic Hotel; guitarist Dave Black and singer Feyza Eren will play at Pomme Café & Wine Bar; the Jim Widner Trio with Jim Manley and Randy Bahr holds forth at the Fox & Hounds Tavern at the Cheshire Inn; and singer Sarah Jane of the Blue Notes, pianist Tim Garcia and saxophonist Jerry Greene are at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Sunday, Miss Jubilee begins what's projected to be a weekly jazz brunch at Evangeline's; and the "Inner Jazz" series at Kirkwood United Church of Christ continues with a free concert from guitarist Rick Haydon's quartet. StLJN also recently has learned that Freddie Washington is now leading a quartet in a weekly Sunday late afternoon session at Toast Time, 12781 New Halls Ferry Rd in Florissant, and no doubt the veteran saxophonist's many fans will welcome the opportunity to hear him regularly for as long as the gig continue. 

But the biggest names on Sunday arrive that evening, as guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola will be in town to perform a duo show at the Old Rock House. The two last fall released their second album together, Pucker, which focuses mostly on Amendola's compositions. But given Hunter's near-one-man-band capabilities and the inherent flexibility of the duo format, they certainly won't be limited to material from the recording. You can read a review of Pucker and hear a sample track here, and read an interview with Amendola from Modern Drummer magazine, in which he discusses his partnership with Hunter, here.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band returns to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups. Then on Tuesday, Lindy Hop St. Louis's weekly swing dance at the Grandel Theatre will feature live music from Philadelphia's' Perseverance Jazz Band; and Common Time and Jesse Gannon & Truth will perform on a double-bill at Plush.

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.)

(Edited after posting to add the venue name for the "Quiet Concert" series.)
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