Monday, March 30, 2015

Music Education Monday: Aebersold's "Jazz Handbook," plus Latin percussion classes with Dafnis Prieto

This week for "Music Education Monday," we've got a primer for aspiring jazz players that also may be of interest to non-playing fans, plus a master class in Latin percussion techniques:

* Known throughout the jazz world as a leading purveyor of jazz education materials and proprietor of summer jazz camps, saxophonist and educator Jamey Aebersold for years also has given away for free a 56-page tome called simply Jazz Handbook.

While aimed primarily at beginning and intermediate musicians, the collection of exercises, lists, short articles, and more also conceivably may be of interest to more advanced musicians, and even to fans looking for some basic "Jazz 101" type knowledge.

You can download a free copy of the Jazz Handbook in PDF format here.

* In addition to being a busy working musician, Cuban-born percussionist Dafnis Prieto also is a professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School, a frequent clinician at other colleges and universities, and a 2011 winner of a Macarthur Fellowship, aka "the genius grant." (St. Louis jazz fans also may recall Prieto from when his trio played at Jazz at the Bistro back in 2012.)

In the video windows below, you can check out two lessons from Prieto. The first is a playlist of excerpts from a master class he did a few years ago at Loyola University in New Orleans, in which he offers an overview of various Latin percussion styles and how to play them. In the second, Prieto gives a full lesson specifically on "rhythmic independence within Latin drumming" and plays a solo demonstrating some of his concepts.

Miles on Monday: Inside the Bitches Brew sessions, box set reissue news, and more

Today for "Miles on Monday," a compilation of the latest news items involving the legendary trumpeter: 

* has a lengthy excerpt from the recently published book Listen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew, in which author Victor Svorinich details the day-to-day progress of the tracking sessions for one of the most influential albums of Davis' electric period.

* For the vinyl enthusiasts out there, has more details on the Record Store Day exclusive Miles Davis: The Prestige 10-Inch LP Collection, Vol. 2, a facsimile reissue (pictured) box set that includes newly minted copies of Miles Davis All Star Sextet, Miles Davis Quintet, Miles Davis with Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis All Stars Vol. 1, and Miles Davis All Stars Vol. 2. The set goes on sale for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 15.

* Proving that Miles Davis' influence still extends from coast to coast and beyond, Los Angeles NPR affiliate KCRW's program "Tom Schnabel's Rhythm Planet" recently did a special episode about "The DNA of Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain," while New York magazine inevitably included a Davis-related anecdote in their look last week at "New York After Midnight"

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Session: March 29, 2015

Wayne Shorter
For your Sunday reading, some interesting music-related items that have hit StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* Critic's notebook: Bebop hallucination from Wayne Shorter (Detroit Free Press)
* Lithofayne Pridgon: Jimi Hendrix’s original ‘foxy lady’ (The Guardian UK)
* Buena Vista Social Club: the legends look back (The Guardian UK)
* Audio For Virtual Reality Takes Off (Pro Sound News)
* What Makes an Electric Guitar Sound Like an Electric Guitar (The Atlantic)
* Phil Manzanera on Jay Z, Kanye West and the riff that changed his life (The Independent UK)
* The Electronic Composer in the Modern Age (
* Have We Reached the End of Jazz Itself? (The Nation)
* The five eras of listening - How music went from art form to ambient noise in the last 150 years (and five ways to listen better today) (
* The Sweet Memphis Sound Of 'Beale Street' (WBUR)
* Antonio Sánchez to Release Two New Albums This Spring; Drummer/composer will also tour (Jazz Times)
* Did these guys ruin music as we knew it? (
* Alan Lomax's Massive Archive Goes Online (NPR)
* Astral Sojourn - The untold story of how Van Morrison fled record-industry thugs, hid out in Boston, and wrote one of rock’s greatest albums. (Boston magazine)
* ‘Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats,’ an Unlikely Alliance of Rock and Country (New York Times)
* Three Jazz Pianists, A Generation After Apartheid (NPR)
* Photos: Celebration of Strata-East at Barbican Theatre in London (Jazz Times)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Person of interest

Today, let's look at some videos featuring saxophonist and St. Louis native Eric Person, who's coming back home for the first time in five years to perform in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University this coming Thursday, April 2.

Person, who's now 51, grew up in North County and began playing local jazz gigs while still attending Normandy High School. After graduation, he moved to NYC in 1982, and over the next decade refined his skills on alto sax, soprano sax and flute while performing and recording with bands led by the drummers Chico Hamilton and Ronald Shannon Jackson.

In the 1990s, he worked with bassist Dave Holland and with the World Saxophone Quartet, and also began leading his own recording dates, releasing three albums on the Soul Note label.

More recently, Person founded the Distinction Records imprint to distribute his subsequent recordings, and has continued to release albums and lead various ensembles including eponymous trios and quartets, the jazz quartet Meta-Four, the more fusion-oriented Metamorphosis, and a big band, documented on his most recent album, 2012's Thoughts on God.

For his gig here next week, Person will work in a trio with St. Louis bassist Bob Deboo and drummer Demarius Hicks, and so today, we begin with some video clips showing him playing in a similarly configured band, the cooperative Triokinesis, which also features bassist Joseph Lepore and drummer Shinnosuke "Shin" Takahashi.

The first clip up above shows them playing Person's composition "Distant Rainbows" in a performance in May 2011 at Small's in NYC. After the jump, you can see three more songs from the same gig: Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Black Diamond" plus Person's tunes "Prophecy" and "Old Hat Feathers."

Those videos are followed by a clip of Person and Meta-Four playing "The Multitudes" in December 2010 during a gig at the Jacque Pelzer Jazz Club in Liege, Belgium. Along with Person, that's Free Desmyter on piano, Nicolas Thys on bass, Marek Patrman on drums, and Chris Joris on percussion.

In the next two clips, both recorded in 2009, you can hear Person work out on a couple of standards, the Billy Strayhorn ballad "Chelsea Bridge" and Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments."

Last but not least, there's a track from Person's big band gig last May at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola in NYC's Lincoln Center. The original composition is called "And Then There Was Light," and features solos from Person on alto plus pianist Adam Klipple, tenor saxophonist Jason Marshall and trombonist Dion Tucker.

You can see StLJN's past coverage of Eric Person here, and see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, March 27, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* An early-week set at NYC's Village Vanguard from Trio 3, featuring former St. Louisan Oliver Lake on saxophone, Reggie Workman on bass, and Andrew Cyrille on drums, got a favorable review from the New York Times' Nate Chinen.

Trio 3 continues there, as noted by some of the Vanguard's characteristically idiosyncratic signage (pictured), through tomorrow night.

* The Sheldon has posted on Facebook a photo album from last Saturday's performance by the Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Experience.

* And while we're talking photo albums, you can see some shots from the Funky Butt Brass Band's gig Wednesday at the World Chess Hall of Fame here.

* Sarah Ulrich of Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes and her residence, the Deco Fortress, are featured in an article in the April issue of Alive! magazine titled "Offbeat Abodes."

* "Josephine and I," a new one-woman show about the legendary entertainer and St. Louis native Josephine Baker now playing at Joe's Pub in NYC, is one of several current theatrical productions reviewed by The New Yorker's Hilton Als.

* Singer/actor Meghan Kirk's show last week for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival was reviewed by Chuck Lavazzi of KDHX.

* Drummer Marcus Baylor has booked two NYC dates for The Baylor Project in May, with gigs set for Friday, May 8 at the Apollo Music Cafe (part of the famed Apollo Theater) and Monday, May 18 at the Blue Note.

* The PledgeMusic campaign for David Sanborn's new album Time and the River is almost over, but you can still get a signed CD, autographed lead sheet, or another pledge premium if you contribute before the official release date on Tuesday, April 7. For more info, visit

* Jazz radio update: On this Saturday's episode of Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else,” host Calvin Wilson “Somethin’ Else” celebrates 100 episodes with new music from Diana Krall, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Frisell, and more.

Then on "The Jazz Collective", host Jason Church will play tracks from Nathan Woodward, The JT Project, Ken Navarro, Rick Braun, Rock Candy Funk Party, Al Jarreau, Jesse Cook, Chuck Mangione, Rodney Franklin, Manhattan Transfer, George Benson, Common Time, and more.

"Somethin' Else" can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays, followed by "The Jazz Collective" at 9:00 p.m. on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jazz this week: Matthew Shipp & Michael Bisio, Shades of Jade, T. Oliver Reid, Koplant No, Essentially Ellington Festival, and more

It's another busy weekend of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a number of noteworthy shows from both touring and local performers, including a new variation on the usual booking formulas from Jazz St. Louis, as Jazz at the Bistro will for the first time in recent memory feature three different acts on three consecutive weekend nights.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday March 25
The Funky Butt Brass Band performs in concert for the monthly music series at the World Chess Hall of Fame; singer Erin Bode emerges for a rare gig at Nathalie's; and the new music duo Patchwork will deliver a program of contemporary compositions at 560 Music Center.

Thursday March 26
If you're a Francophile or Francophone, you're doubly in luck this evening, as The Poor People of Paris play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, while Gypsy jazz group Franglais returns to Evangeline's.

Elsewhere around town, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at Thurman Grill, and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly "Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.

Friday March 27
Singer and actor T. Oliver Reid (pictured, top left) will draw on jazz classics from the 1930s and 40s for the first of two performances of his Gaslight Cabaret Festival show "Drop Me Off In Harlem" at the Gaslight Theater.

Also on Friday, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville hosts the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival at Dunham Hall on campus, with performances from participating high school bands, the SIUE Concert Jazz Band and visiting clinicians including saxophonist Ron Carter, former Count Basie Orchestra drummer Dennis Mackrel, trumpeter Derrick Gardner; tuba player Bob Stewart; and bassist Jeff Campbell, plus various members of the SIUE jazz faculty.

Elsewhere around town, singer Denise Thimes will play a one-nighter at Jazz at the Bistro; singer Feyza Eren and pianist Curt Landes return to The Wine Press; and the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom.

And if all that's not enough, saxophonists Tim Cunningham and Willie Akins will be making a rare joint appearance at Troy's Jazz Gallery; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at Venice Cafe; and percussionist Herman Semidey and Orquesta Son Montuno will offer up a variety of Latin sounds at Club Viva.

Saturday, March 28
Pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist Michael Bisio (pictured, center left) will play a concert sponsored by New Music Circle at The Stage at KDHX. 

Shipp, who last performed here in 2011, is widely thought to be one of the most important improvising pianists of his generation, and Bisio is the bassist in his long-running trio. Their music as a duo, while obviously related to the sounds they make with drummer Whit Dickey, seems both more intimate but also potentially more raucous, as the absence of percussion forces a recalibration of relationships and a reallocation of sonic space. For more about Shipp, and video samples of his playing, check out this video post from last week.

Also on Saturday, Koplant No, who mix jazz-fusion, contemporary composition, and electronic music with a grab-bag of other influences, will present their first-ever performance at Jazz at the Bistro; and trumpeter Jim Manley, singer Charlie B. and pianist Arthur Toney will team up to play at the house concert venue KindaBlue.

Sunday March 29
The ever-evolving menu of Sunday jazz brunches has another new entry, as Mokabe's in the South Grand neighborhood now is featuring live music weekly from bassist David Certain and CertainBeat World Bop.

Sunday evening, the young Kansas City based band Shades of Jade, offering a neo-soul/hip-hop-influenced take on contemporary jazz and featuring former St. Louisan and Jazz St. Louis All-Star Joshua Williams (pictured), will make their debut at Jazz at the Bistro.

Monday, March 30
Animal Children will celebrate the release of their first (apparently self-titled?) CD at Foam Coffee And Beer, with The 442s opening the show.

Also on Monday, Dean Christopher returns with his "Rat Pack & More" show to One 19 Tapas & Wine Bar; "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play their monthly date at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; and Webster University's student jazz combos will show off what they've learned this semester in a performance at the Community Music School on the Webster campus. 

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.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Music Education Monday: Electronic music production tips, plus a keyboard workshop with Richard Tee

This week for "Music Education Monday," we've got some new info on electronic music production techniques, and a classic video workshop with a top session keyboardist:

* Ableton, makers of the popular Ableton Live software used for electronic music production, has put online a good-sized chunk of the new book Making Music: Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers, which purports to offer "a collection of solutions to common roadblocks in the creative process, with a specific emphasis on solving musical problems, making progress, and (most importantly) finishing what you start."

The book's website includes includes eight full chapters of the 25 included in the print edition, covering topics such as active listening, presets as starting points, and "procrastination and timeboxing." If you have even a passing interest in the techniques being discussed, it's worth a look.

* In the video window below, you can watch Contemporary Piano With Richard Tee, a video workshop released in 1984 featuring the late gospel-influenced keyboardist who was a first-call NYC session man from the late 1960s until his death in 1993.

A co-founder of the influential instrumental group Stuff, Richard Tee was well known in the jazz world for his work with Hank Crawford, George Benson and Grover Washington Jr., and also did tours and recording sessions with many other famous jazz, R&B, rock and pop musicians and singers. The video features Tee discussing topics including practice techniques, chord substitutions, left-hand technique, how to back a vocalist, and how to play in studio sessions.

Miles on Monday: Memorial statue sculptor to speak at Lewis and Clark CC, and more

This week for "Miles on Monday," we have some recent news items involving the legendary trumpeter:

* Preston Jackson, the sculptor creating the statue for the Miles Davis Memorial Project that will be placed in downtown Alton, IL later this year, will give a presentation for Lewis and Clark Community College’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series at noon this Wednesday, March 25.

Jackson’s talk will give an overview of his work, both sculptures and paintings, and will include photos of the Miles Davis statue in progress. Admission to the event, which will take place at the Hatheway Cultural Center Gallery on the Lewis and Clark campus, is free and open to the public.

* The 1991 Australian drama Dingo, which included Davis' only starring role in a feature film, was the subject of a critical rewatch from The Guardian (UK) critic Luke Buckmaster. The film features Davis as a thinly disguised version of himself named Billy Cross, who serves as a musical idol and touchstone to the story's protagonist, an aspiring jazz trumpeter played by Colin Friels (pictured, with Davis). "It is a deeply rewarding work to revisit. The characters are strong, the dramas feel rich and organic and the music is fantastic," writes Buckmaster.

* Trumpeter Terence Blanchard will be the featured soloist in "Miles Davis / Gil Evans: Still Ahead," a program featuring original Evans arrangements from the albums Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead  to be presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic next Thursday, April 2 in LA.  

* Via the online 'zine Big O, you can download a recording of an unreleased live set of Davis' sextet performing in November 1970 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. Described as a "very good soundboard" of the show, it was recorded seven months after the release of Bitches Brew by a band featuring Davis with Jack DeJohnette on drums, Michael Henderson on electric bass, Keith Jarrett on electric piano and organ, Gary Bartz on alto and soprano sax, and Airto Moreira on percussion.
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