Friday, July 25, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The free concert featuring pianist Ptah Williams (pictured) this Sunday at Ivory Perry Park was previewed by Kenya Vaughn of the St. Louis American.

* Next week's St. Louis Cabaret Festival was previewed in an article on the website of St. Louis Public Radio, which also will cover the festival during the broadcast of the "Cityscape" program at noon today. You can hear it online at

* Speaking of the Cabaret Festival, the event's organizers and Metrotix are offering a $10 discount online for tickets to the festival's opening show next Wednesday, which will feature Broadway star Faith Prince performing in the Sheldon Concert Hall's upstairs ballroom. To take advantage of the discount, use this link to access the Metrotix site, and when prompted enter the promo code THEATER.

* A new episode of HEC-TV's I Love Jazz, hosted by Don Wolff, has been posted online. It includes performances and interviews from the concert paying tribute to Richard McDonnell, the late founder of the MAXJAZZ record label, that was presented in May at Jazz at the Bistro, as well as coverage of the Bistro's renovation and expansion plans. You can watch online here, or consult your TV provider's program guide for air times.

* Regarding the Bistro renovations, Ruth Ezell of KETC's Living St. Louis did a story on Monday's program on how the construction is progressing; and a seating chart posted online by Jazz St. Louis shows what the layout for the room will look like post-expansion.

* And speaking of Richard McDonnell, jazz-related artwork remaining from his personal collection after a sale last month can still be seen and purchased by appointment, according to Jeff Appel, the photography dealer who's managing the sale of collection for the McDonnell family. "We have found some great St. Louis collectors for probably around 1/4 of the collection, but hundreds of great pieces remain, from signed festival posters to a variety of framed photographs and etchings," he said. To arrange a viewing at the MAXJAZZ offices in Webster Groves, email Appel at photoaddictappel at gmail dot com, or call or text him at 314-520-1572.

* Drummer Kimberly Thompson took a bit of time from her duties with the house band on NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers to visit the makers of Gretsch drums and record a short promotional video.

* In this week's Miles Davis news, IndieWire has photos from the set of Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's film about Davis that's now shooting in Cincinnati.

* On a related note, a post this week on the website Open Culture looked back at the night in 1970 when Davis opened a show for the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

* And for those who'd like to delve even further into the trumpeter's history, a new website, Scaled In Miles, offers a unique interactive timeline view of Davis' recording career.

* Pianist Stephanie Trick, who's been performing this summer in England and Europe, recently met British royalty when Prince Charles and Lady Camilla attended a concert of hers in Scotland.

* The Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival once again will pick the opening act for this year's fest via a "Webster’s Got Talent" competition. The entry deadline is August 17, and applications are available for download at the festival's website.

Entrants will compete in public performances on Tuesday, August 26 and Thursday, August 28 at a location TBA, with the two winning bands from the semi-finals playing a final showdown on Thursday, September 4. The winner gets the first slot onstage at this year's OWJBF on Saturday, September 20. For more information, email

* Jazz radio update: On this week's edition of Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else,” host Calvin Wilson will pay tribute to the late bassist Charlie Haden, with recordings of Haden's work as a bandleader, his collaborations with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett, and more. "Somethin' Else" can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jazz this week: Alan Evans' Playonbrother, Tony Suggs, Dave Dickey Big Band, and more

As is typical for this time of year, the calendar of upcoming jazz performances in and around St. Louis over the next few days is a bit light on touring acts.

Fortunately, our local musicians have plenty going on in a variety of genres, from straight-ahead and swing to funk to cabaret to big band to experimental. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, drummer Alan Evans' trio (pictured), renamed Playonbrother since their last St. Louis appearance, will perform at The Gramophone, with Belagroove opening. With the group's latest recordings seemingly edging them toward a heavier, more guitar-oriented sound, and Evans singing lead on a number of tunes, there have definitely been some changes beyond just the name. So check out some video samples of their recent performances and read more about the two albums they've put out this year in this post from last Saturday

Also tonight, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will perform a free concert for Washington University's Jazz at Holmes series at Tisch Commons in the Danforth University Center; the Funky Butt Brass Band plays a free outdoor concert at Bluebird Park in Ellisville; and up-and-coming cabaret performers Michaela Wolz, Sam Krausz, Tom Fields and Haylee Capstick will be showcased in the "First Stage Cabaret" at Kranzberg Arts Center.

On Friday, pianist Tony Suggs - originally from East St. Louis, veteran of many years with the Count Basie Orchestra, and lately a resident of Tokyo, Japan - is back home for a visit and will team up with drummer Montez Coleman and bassist Chris Thomas for a trio session at Cigar Inn

Also on Friday, the Joe Bozzi Band will perform at Evangeline's; the St. Louis Big Band plays for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom; Wack-A-Doo will return to the Tavern of Fine Arts; and Miss Jubilee will be swinging at the Venice Cafe.

Elsewhere around town, singer Tony Viviano returns to Fortel’s in Creve Coeur; singer Erika Johnson, guitarist Tom Byrne and saxophonist Christopher Braig will be at EdgeWild Restaurant and Winery in Chesterfield; and guitarist Brian Vaccaro's trio with bassist Marc Torlina and Kyle Honeycutt will host a jam session, now recurring monthly, at the Wolf Public House

On Saturday, saxophonist Jim Stevens and band will be funking it up by the river at The Loading Dock in Grafton; and trumpeter Jim Manley and pianist Arthur Toney will play in the old "Just Jazz" space, now called the Mahogany Grill, at the Omni Majestic Hotel downtown.

Also on Saturday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to action at C.J. Muggs in Webster Groves; and saxophonist Willie Akins will be this week's guest with bassist Bob DeBoo and friends at the Kranzberg Arts Center. 

On Sunday, pianist Ptah Williams' trio will play a free outdoor concert at Ivory Perry Park, 800 N. Belt; and the Dave Dickey Big Band will play their regular fourth-Sunday show at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company, this month featuring singer Tom Heitman performing Frank Sinatra hits, plus an open dance floor.

Also on Sunday evening, Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center will present what's being billed as a night of experimental music featuring improvising saxophonist Curt Oren, Dear Rabbit, Lions Eat Grass, and saxophonist Dave Stone's Free Jazz Unit. 

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night saxophonist "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will check back in for their monthly gig downtown at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

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.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Miles Davis Memorial Project
launches IndieGoGo campaign

Hoping to accelerate the pace of raising money to put a statue of legendary trumpeter Miles Davis in downtown Alton, the Miles Davis Memorial Project has turned to online crowd-funding via an IndieGoGo campaign.

Funding levels for potential supporters range from $1 up to $5,000, with rewards including various sorts of imprinted swag (buttons, T-shirts, can coozies); commemorative bricks and blocks to be placed around the site of the statue; and some higher-end packages, such as one including an original print of Davis by artist Jin Kan, and, at the $5,000 level, one that includes a bronze maquette of the Davis statue being designed by artist Preston Jackson.

Jackson, who grew up in Decatur and now lives in Peoria, has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and created numerous works of public art in Illinois and elsewhere. His statue of Davis will be placed in front of the Lauschke Building at 117 W. Third St. in downtown Alton. (Davis was born in Alton in 1926; the family moved to East St. Louis the following year.)

The Miles Davis Memorial Project IndieGoGo campaign has a goal of $25,000 and will continue through Thursday, September 4. Unlike some other crowd-funding services such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo allows for partial funding of projects, so that money pledged will still go to the campaign even if the overall goal is not reached.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

Since YouTube relaxed their restrictions on video length, more and more full concerts from the past are being put online, and some of the choicest ones have been featured on StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds.

Up and running as a single-serve site since long before Tumblr was a gleam in some coder's eye, it features one online music video posted every day, drawing from genres including jazz, blues, soul funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental and more.

Recent posts have shown live performances - some rarely seen until quite recently - from Kurt Elling, the Horace Silver Quintet, Jerry Lee Lewis, Warren Zevon, Sun Ra Arkestra, Ray Charles, Dave Douglas Quartet, Max Roach Quintet with Abbey Lincoln, Tower of Power, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Sly and the Family Stone, Albert King, Oliver Nelson and the Berlin Dream Band, Jefferson Airplane, Most Allison, Randy Newman, Betty Carter, the Morells, David van Tiegham, and Duke Ellington.

Sure, you could just go to YouTube, start typing names into the search engine, and see what happens. But why not take advantage of the work someone else (i.e. yr. humble StLJN editor) has already done to find the good stuff? You'll find all these clips, plus thousands more from the carefully curated archives, just by going to

Saturday, July 19, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Alan Evans' Playonbrother

Today, let's spend a little video time with drummer Alan Evans and his band Playonbrother, who will be in St. Louis next week to perform on Thursday, July 24 at the Gramophone.

Made up of Evans, a co-founder of the funk-jazz trio Soulive, plus Danny Mayer on guitar and Beau Sasser on keyboards, Playonbrother was formed a couple of years ago as the Alan Evans Trio. They've released three albums, debuting in 2012 with Drop Hop and this year putting out two records, Merkaba and the live Woodstock Sessions Vol. 1.

The group also has played St. Louis a couple of times under their old moniker, most recently in September 2012 at the Old Rock House. Since adopting their new name, they're emphasizing Evans' singing more, and seem to have tilted in a more hard-rocking, bluesy direction, though still including plenty of funky backbeats and extended jams.

You can see some of their most recent music in the first video up above, just posted online this past Monday, which is a full set recorded "live in the studio" at Evergroove Studios in Colorado. Then after the jump, there's another full set, recorded live in June 2014 at the Disc Jam Music Festival in Barre, MA.

If you'd rather check out some individual tracks first, below that you'll find live versions of "Nothing To Say" and "Cosmic Hazel Dust" captured in March of this year at Brooklyn Bowl in NY, followed by "Back to Buffalo" and "I'm The Only One," which were recorded live in New Orleans as part of the series "Jam in the Van."

For more about Alan Evans and Playonbrother, check out this interview from 2012 and this one from February of this year.

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Next Monday's episode of KETC's Living St. Louis will include an update from reporter Ruth Ezell and Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford on the renovation and expansion of Jazz at the Bistro.

The program is broadcast at 7:00 p.m. Mondays on Channel 9; for cable or satellite channels, check your TV provider's program guide.

* There's a brief new interview with saxophonist David Sanborn posted on Sanborn is using the crowd-funding service to raise money for his next album, which reunites him with bassist Marcus Miller in the studio for the first time in 15 years.

* Voting is now underway in Down Beat magazine's 79th annual reader's poll. You can cast your vote for your favorite musicians, bands, and recordings here.

* Prestige Records' crop of jazz vinyl reissues hitting the shelves this week includes Miles Davis' The Musings Of Miles, originally released as Davis' very first 12" LP in 1955. The Davis LP (pictured) is one of 16 "classic" Prestige albums that will be reissued in conjunction with the label's 65th anniversary.

* Speaking of vinyl reissues, yet another new deluxe edition of Davis' Kind of Blue was reviewed by London Jazz News.

* And speaking of Davis, drummer and producer Anu Sun teased a tantalizing tidbit on Twitter this week about trumpeter and St. Louis native Keyon Harrold and the soundtrack of Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's film about Davis that's shooting now in Cincinnati: "Got @robertglasper & @keyonharrold in the studio working on the score for the Miles Davis movie. #FunTimes"

* Singer and pianist Ann Hampton Callaway's performance at the upcoming St. Louis Cabaret Festival is previewed by Hannah Botney of the Vital Voice.

* On a related note, actress and singer Faith Prince, who also will be performing during the Cabaret Festival, was a guest on the latest episode of KDHX's "Break A Leg".

* The blog Music Taster's Choice has a short review and some photos of a recent performance by Miss Jubilee at the Blues City Deli.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday night on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else,” host Calvin Wilson will present "Ladies with Verve," spinning tracks recorded by singers Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn and Betty Carter late in their careers for the Verve label.

"Somethin' Else" can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Then on Sunday, KWMU's "Jazz Unlimited" will be re-broadcasting part three of host Dennis Owsley's ten-part documentary on the history of St. Louis jazz. The episode, covering World War II and the aftermath, features recordings from the period plus interviews with Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Eddie Randle, Ernie Wilkins, and Charlie Menees, the first jazz DJ in St. Louis.

"Jazz Unlimited" is broadcast from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays on KWMU (90.7 FM), and also can be heard online at

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jazz this week: Erik Jekabsen, Shana Tucker, Kimmie Horne, and more

Although it's summer vacation season, and jazz gigs in and around St. Louis are somewhat fewer than usual as a result, there still are plenty of shows worth hearing - if, as we're fond of saying around these parts,  you know where to find them.

Here, then, are a few suggestions for the next several days...

Tonight, trumpeter Erik Jekabson's quintet will play a free concert on the Washington University campus for the Jazz at Holmes series. Because of construction, this summer's "Jazz in July" concerts are being presented in Tisch Commons of the Danforth University Center, 6475 Forsyth Blvd.

Also tonight, Irish blues/jazz guitarist and singer Nigel Mooney, fresh off a performance Wednesday night at Missouri Botanical Garden, will team up with St. Louis guitarist Vince Martin for a gig at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; and guitarist Dave Black and band are playing at Nathalie’s.

On Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band will play an outdoor concert at Jefferson Barracks Park amphitheater, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the St. Louis Backstoppers.

Also on Friday, singer Wendy Gordon and pianist Arthur Toney will duet at the Tavern of Fine Arts; the Original Knights of Swing will play at Casa Loma Ballroom; and trumpeter Jim Manley and pianist Kara Baldus are at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar.

On Saturday, singer and multi-instrumentalist Shana Tucker (pictured) will make her St. Louis debut at the Kranzberg Arts Center. Tucker, who alternates between personal projects and work-for-hire playing cello and singing for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, really is more of a jazz-influenced singer-songwriter than a straight-up jazz musician, but she's a talent to watch. Find our more about her and see some performance videos in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, saxophonist Jim Stevens and band will play a free outdoor concert at Lafayette Park; Wack-A-Doo will perform at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company downtown; and Miss Jubilee will be swinging for the dancers down at Casa Loma Ballroom.

On Sunday, Community Women Against Hardship (CWAH) will hold their annual jazz brunch fundraiser, with this year's event moved to BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups due to the ongoing construction at Jazz at the Bistro.

The benefit will feature music from singer Kimmie Horne, grand-niece of the legendary Lena Horne, backed by a band led by drummer Jerome "Scrooge" Harris and including Jeff Anderson (tenor sax), Matt Villinger (piano), and Ben Wheeler (bass). (Advance reservations can be made via the CWAH website, and are strongly recommended.)

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday, singer Dean Christopher brings his "Rat Pack and More" show back to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; and on Tuesday, pianist and singer Jesse Gannon is now doing a regular weekly gig with his band Truth at The Engine Room.

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.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stanley Clarke Band to perform
Tuesday, October 14 at The Pageant

Bassist Stanley Clarke is coming back to St. Louis to perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 14 at The Pageant.

Clarke (pictured) played here most recently in May, 2012 at Jazz at the Bistro with a trio featuring pianist Ruslan Sirota and drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr.

This time around, he'll have his electric band, along with St. Louis' jazz/classical fusion quartet Bach to the Future as an opening act.

The latter's presence on the bill is no coincidence, for this concert is being produced by BTTF members (and brothers) Mike Silverman and Rob Silverman as a benefit for the not-for-profit adoption agency Dillon International, which promotes standards and policies for inter-country adoptions and has helped to establish adoption programs in several countries.

Clarke's last album as a leader, an electric outing with Sirota, Bruner and keyboardist Hiromi titled simply The Stanley Clarke Band, came out in 2010. More recently, he's been working on a new all-star recording paying tribute to his old musical partner, the late George Duke, and he was just invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in recognition of his work as a composer for film and TV.

Tickets for Stanley Clarke at The Pageant are $25 for general admission and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Friday, July 18 via Ticketmaster.
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