Friday, February 24, 2017

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Singer Jeanne Trevor (pictured) and pianist Dave Venn's gig Saturday night at Jazz at the Bistro was touted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch/STLtoday.com columnist Joe Holleman.

* Elsewhere in the P-D, theater critic Judith Newmark reviewed Max and Louie Productions' staging of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, which continues through Saturday, March 4 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

* DK Annex, the business incubator and event space recently opened by drummer James Jackson and his wife Kristy, was spotlighted this week in the St. Louis American.

* The latest episode of pianist Peter Martin's podcast "The Process" features a chat with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and singer Kurt Elling.

* Also on the podcast front, drummer Dave Weckl is interviewed on a recent episode of DrumTalk.

* Electronic musician Eric Hall has released a new recording featuring guest musicians from the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, with proceeds benefiting the American Civil Liberties Union.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jazz this week: Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge, Jay Oliver, Jazz St. Louis gala, and more

With a forecast for spring-like weather in the offing, it should be a good weekend to get out and hear some live music in St. Louis.

However, if you're headed down to the annual Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, don't expect to find much jazz or blues among the musical options.

With the notable exception of the Funky Butt Brass Band, who will make appearances at the Mayor's Ball on Friday night, at the parade tent in Soulard on Saturday afternoon, and at the Old Rock House on Saturday, the corporate-dominated event unfortunately continues to rely mostly on DJs and rock cover bands, ignoring the genres most associated with Mardi Gras in the popular imagination.

That said, if you want to find some live jazz around St. Louis this week, you're in the right place. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 22
Guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge (pictured, top left) will play a duo show at Off Broadway (relocated from the originally announced venue, the Old Rock House).

Known individually for their work in jazz (Lage) and bluegrass (Eldridge), the two joined forces a few years back for an album, and have continued the project with intermittent touring between their commitments to other bands.

Now, with a new record, Mount Royal, set for release on Friday, they're doing a series of live dates in support of the release. For more about that, and some video samples of them in action, see this post from last Saturday

Also on Wednesday, trumpeter Rob Endicott leads a quintet in the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Thursday, 
February 23
The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a performance by keyboardist and St. Louis native Jay Oliver (pictured, center left), accompanied by bassist/guitarist William Lenihan and drummer Steve Davis.

A childhood friend of Dave Weckl, Oliver was a member of Weckl's band in the 1990s, recording four albums with the drummer, but he's had his greatest commercial successes as a producer, programmer and songwriter for rock acts including Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles.

More recently, Oliver's "world music" project Aomusic has released four albums of original compositions and also created theme music for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Given all the time he spends in the recording studio, this show should give Oliver a good opportunity to cut loose in a live situation, and given his hometown connection, there should be a good turnout. (Note that while most Jazz at Holmes shows are free, this show will have a $10 admission charge at the door.)

Also on Thursday, the Funky Butt Brass Band kicks off Mardi Gras weekend with an early evening show at Blues City Deli; saxophonist Jason Swagler will be giving his faculty recital at Dunham Hall on the SIUE campus in Edwardsville, and saxophonist Dave Stone's trio will play at Thurman's in Shaw.

Friday, February 24
Jazz St. Louis holds their annual fundraising gala at the Sheldon Concert Hall, featuring a cocktail hour, dinner and auction; a concert from teenage piano phenom Joey Alexander's trio; and an after-party with music from singer Denise Thimes. Some tickets for Alexander's concert may still be available via Metrotix; for ticket availability for the gala, check with the Jazz St. Louis box office.

Also on Friday, percussionist Henry Claude will perform at the 560 Music Center, joined by the Vernacular String Trio, Perihelion Quartet, and trumpeter George Sams; singer Feyza Eren's quartet will play a free show at the St. Louis Art Museum; and vibraphonist Tom Rickard's trio returns to the Cigar Inn.

Saturday, February 25
Two veteran local musicians whose careers stretch back to the Gaslight Square era, pianist Dave Venn and singer Jeanne Trevor, will take the stage for one night only at Jazz at the Bistro; pianist Greg Mills will present new compositions for solo piano at  Jackson Pianos; and Miss Jubilee will perform at Jacoby Arts Center in Alton.

Sunday, February 26
The Folk School of KDHX presents a traditional jazz jam session; and the Ambassadors of Swing return for an early evening performance at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

Monday, February 27
Dizzy Atmosphere plays swing and Gypsy jazz at The Shaved Duck.

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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.)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Session: February 19, 2017

Clyde Stubblefield
Here are some interesting music-related items that have landed in StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* Why Music Ownership Matters (TheSmartSet.com)
* Vocalist Al Jarreau Dies at 76 (Jazz Times)
* The Great Al Jarreau, An Appreciation (with Rare Photos) (EurWeb.com)
* Black Classical: Composers and Conductors Who Shaped Music History (WQXR)
* Scofield, Nash, Collier Win Big at Grammys (DownBeat)
* The Audiographa Project Captures the Compositions of Music (Design-Milk.com)
* Christoph Cox on The History of Sound Art, Full Lecture (SonicField.org)
* Doctor Who composer Delia Derbyshire’s archive to be digitized (FactMag.com)
* 'Game Of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi On Melodies That Stick (NPR)
* Keith Jarrett: Alone in a Crowded Room (Jazz Times)
* Jarrett’s Profoundly Emotional Excursion at Carnegie Hall (DownBeat)
* Why happy music makes you do bad things (BBC)
* 'Respect' Wasn't A Feminist Anthem Until Aretha Franklin Made It One (NPR)
* Bill Evans on meeting Miles (AllAboutJazz.com)
* Drum Legend Jack DeJohnette Returns to Austin (Austin Chronicle)
* Master blaster: the woman making Björk, Aphex Twin and Eno sound so good (The Guardian)
* The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster (Vice.com)
* Sound and Space: Our Acoustic Perception of the World (TheEpochTimes.com)
* Ohio Players Founder, Junie Morrison, Dead At 62 (OkayPlayer.com)
* Free Jazz Pianist Muhal Richard Abrams Brings 70 Years Of Sounds To Wesleyan (Hartford Courant)
* A Conversation With Brian Eno About Ambient Music (Pitchfork.com)
* Indian Secrets: Old and new Mardi Gras Indian traditions face off (Offbeat)
* Mick Jagger wrote a 'masterpiece' memoir that has never been published (The Guardian)
* All-Star Band Hudson To Release Album, Tour North America (DownBeat)
* The Thinning of Big Mama (Oxford American)
* Q&A with Matthew Shipp: On Home Turf (DownBeat)
* Moog are the music makers: Inside the small town factory that builds the world’s best-loved synths (FactMag.com)
* Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown's 'Funky Drummer,' Dead at 73 (Rolling Stone)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge



With appearances here this week by both Mike Stern and Ralph Towner, it's already been a good month in St. Louis for fans of jazz guitar, and it's not over yet.

Guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, who will perform next Wednesday, February 22 at Off Broadway, may operate in a very different stylistic realm than either Stern or Towner, but their skills are equally worthy of attention from serious guitar enthusiasts. .

Lage, 29 years old, was a child phenom who's been in the public eye since he was the subject of the 1997 documentary Jules at Eight. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, he has recorded four albums as a leader, the most recent being Arclight, released last year on Mack Avenue.

In addition to his own group and his duo project with Eldridge, Lage also works with bands led by vibraphonist Gary Burton and drummer Eric Harland, and has been heard on recordings by Burton, Harland, pianist Taylor Eigsti, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, guitarist Nels Cline, and others.

Eldridge, 34, is the son of noted bluegrass guitarist Ben Eldridge, and is best known as a member of the eclectic acoustic band the Punch Brothers, who blend bluegrass with rock, classical and extended forms.

He began his music career working with his dad's band The Seldom Scene, and after attending Oberlin University, helped found the bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters. Originally begun in 2006 as a side project for Eldridge and mandolinist Chris Thile, the Punch Brothers eventually turned into a full-time band, and have released six albums on the Nonesuch label.

Lage and Eldridge released their first recording as a duo in 2013 and as their schedules permit have continued to play live dates intermittently since then, blending genres in an all-acoustic presentation that draws on material ranging from honky-tonk country and bluegrass to jazz and pop standards to original compositions.

In the first clip up top, you can see Lage and Eldridge performing "Bone Collector" from their second album Mount Royal, which will be released next Friday, February 24 on Free Dirt Records.

After the jump, there's a video of them playing "Butter and Eggs" and "For Critter" as recorded in September 2016 at Flathead Lake in Montana, followed by a clip of "Whiskey Before Breakfast," which was recorded October 30, 2016 at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.

The next video features a version of "Mean Mother Blues" recorded in November, 2015 at the first-ever Fretboard Summit in Santa Cruz, California. The final two clips are "Ginseng Sullivan," from August 2013 at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, and "Someone To Watch Over Me" from January, 2014 at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA.

For more about the Lage/Eldridge duo, check out their 2013 chat with Fretboard Journal, and the 2014 review of their live show by Alec Wilkinson of The New Yorker. For more about their new album and another sample track, see the recent short feature about them from American Songwriter.

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

After an extended hiatus, yr. StLJN editor is pleased to once again be able to offer a wrap-up of the week's assorted links and short news items of local interest:

 * Trumpeter Nate Wooley talked with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson about his performance with electronic musician Ikue Mori tomorrow night at The Luminary.

* Abdul Hamid Royal, pianist and music director for the production of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill playing through March 4 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, was interviewed by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn.

The play-with-music by Lanie Robertson recounts the story of singer Billie Holiday using one of her nightclub performances as a framing device, and stars Alexis J. Roston (pictured) as Holiday. Roston and Royal also spoke with St. Louis magazine's Rosalind Early for a brief feature story, which you can read here.

* The Dark Room's new space at the Grandel Theatre, which opens for business next week, was the subject of a feature by the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson

* The website St. Louis Musicians Unite has compiled Spotify playlists of local music by genre, including a playlist for St. Louis jazz artists. You can see all the lists here.

* Organizers of the Hermann Wine and Jazz Festival have announced their date and lineup for this year. The 2017 event will be held on Saturday, August 19 at the Clara Eitmann Messmer Ampitheater in Hermann, and will feature music from Funky Butt Brass Band, Bach to the Future, The People's Key, singer/songwriter Sean Coray, and the Nick Savage Quintet.

* Speaking of the Funky Butt Brass Band, they have just recorded a version of "St. Louis Blues" and posted it to BandCamp, with the proceeds from downloads of the song going to support "Blues For Kids," the charity organization of the St. Louis Blues hockey team. You can get a copy and support the cause here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jazz this week: Mike Stern & Kimberly Thompson, George Sams, Ralph Towner, Ikue Mori & Nate Wooley, Russell Gunn, and more

As you might be able to deduce from looking at the headline for this post, it's very busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis.

Over the next few days, there will be a plethora of visiting performers on local stages, plus the opening of a play about one of the most famous jazz singers ever, free master classes from two guitar greats, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 15
Guitarist Mike Stern performs for the first of four nights continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro, joined by drummer Kimberly Thompson, saxophonist Bob Franceschini, and bassist Teymur Phell.

It's been nearly seven years since Stern (pictured, top left) last headlined a show at the Bistro, and with St. Louis native Thompson on the gig, demand for tickets should be brisk, so advance reservations are strongly recommended.

Also on Wednesday, Cabaret St. Louis presents their monthly "Open Mic Night" at The Emerald Room at The Monocle.

Thursday,
February 16
On Thursday afternoon, Mike Stern will present a free jazz guitar clinic sponsored by Mozingo Music at Lindenwood University's J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts.

Thursday evening, trumpeter George Sams (pictured, center left) will perform for the "Not So Quiet" concert series at the St. Louis Public Library's main location downtown with a group including poet Shirley LeFlore, percussionist Henry Claude, cellist Tracy Andreotti, and violinist Alyssa Avery.

Also on Thursday, singer Erin Bode returns to Cyrano's; and the first preview performance of Max and Louie Productions' staging of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the Tony Award-winning play-with-music about Billie Holiday, will be presented at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

The show, which features Chicago-based actress and singer Alexis J. Roston reprising her award-winning performance as Holiday, opens officially on Friday night and continues through Saturday, March 4.

Friday, February 17
Friday afternoon, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a "Symposium on the Music of Ralph Towner" with Towner, William Lenihan and Steve Schenkel at the Goldberg Formal Lounge in the Danforth University Center on the Wash U campus.

That evening, funk legends Tower of Power will perform at River City Casino. Although drummer David Garibaldi and substitute bassist Marc Van Wageningen are still recovering from serious injuries suffered in an accident before a gig last month in Oakland, TOP's current tour is continuing, with original bassist Francis "Rocco" Prestia back on the bandstand and former drummer Herman Matthews, who played with the group for several years in the 1990s, filling in for Garibaldi.

Also on Friday, trumpeter Byron Stripling will be guest soloist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as they present their Black History Month program "Lift Every Voice and Sing," at Powell Symphony Hall.

Elsewhere around town, trumpeter Jim Manley returns to Evangeline's; trumpeter Kasimu Taylor and pianist Ptah Williams perform duets at Thurman's in Shaw; and Second Generation Swing plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, 
February 18
New Music Circle presents electronic musician Ikue Mori and trumpeter Nate Wooley at The Luminary.

For more about that, and some videos of Mori and Wooley (pictured, bottom left) in performance, see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Jazz at Holmes series presents a solo concert by Ralph Towner at 560 Music Center. Towner has just released a new album of solo guitar performances, and you can read more about that and see and hear some videos of him in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, February 19
Trumpeter and East St. Louis native Russell Gunn, now living in Atlanta, will be back home to headline Community Women Against Hardship's "Black History Benefit" at Jazz at the Bistro, accompanied by pianist Adam Maness, singer Anita Jackson, bassist Jeff Anderson and drummer Montez Coleman.

Also on Sunday afternoon, St. Louis Jazz Club presents pianist Bob Row and friends at the Elks Lodge #9 in Creve Coeur.

Monday, February 20
Webster University Jazz Collective will perform at Winifred Moore Auditorium 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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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, February 13, 2017

St. Louis jazz at the 2017 Grammys

Although the contributions of St. Louis jazz musicians may not have been explicitly acknowledged by name at the 2017 Grammy Awards, the city was represented by players on at least a couple of this year's winning recordings.

Trumpeter Keyon Harrold (pictured, top left) presumably will be getting a Grammy statue for his crucial contributions to the Robert Glasper-produced soundtrack for Don Cheadle's film Miles Ahead, which was the winner in the "Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media" category.

Also, his brother, drummer Emanuel Harrold, and bassist Jahmal Nichols, who's also from St. Louis, are the rhythm section for singer Gregory Porter, who won "Best Jazz Vocal Album" for his 2016 release Take Me To The Alley. Harrold performed on the Grammy-winning recording, and he and Nichols (pictured, center right) continue to tour around the world with Porter.

Finally, although there was no Grammy Award for "Best Stage Outfit Inspired By A 1970s Miles Davis Album Cover," if such an award existed, it surely would have gone to pop diva Beyonce, who (as you can see from the picture below) looked almost as if she stepped right out of the painting by artist Mati Klarwein that was used as the cover art for Davis' 1971 album Live-Evil. (Hat tip to @danieldurchholz for pointing out the resemblance.)


You can see a complete list of this year's Grammy Award winners here.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Session: February 12, 2017

Jon Hendricks
Here are some interesting music-related items that have landed in StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* Happy 30th birthday, 'world music' (PRI)
* The Enduring Mystery of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ (Observer.com)
* THE BEAT GOES ON: New Albany jazz master Jamey Aebersold brings music to community (Jeffersonville News and Tribune)
* What if you could touch and feel a score? (CreateDigitalMusic.link)
* “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” - Classic comedy album a Firesign of the times (Boston Globe)
* 13 Musicians Influenced by Author William S. Burroughs (Paste)
* Michael Chapman: the man who connects Elton, Bowie, Nick Drake and Sonic Youth (The Guardian)
* "This is not a woman's issue' – tackling conducting's gender problem (The Guardian)
* David Axelrod, Influential Musician and Producer, Dies (Billboard)
* The Music Legal Forecast for 2017 (Vice.com)
* Review: 'Celebrate Ornette' Gives Avant-Jazz Legend an All-Star Farewell (Rolling Stone)
* Crate Diggers: Mats Gustafsson -A rare visit to the free jazz giant’s two and a half tonne vinyl cave (The VinylFactory.com)
* The tables have turned, but will vinyl’s record sales last? (TheDrum.com)
* When Discs Die (Tedium.co)
* These Seven Black Composers Made Classical Music History (Nashville Public Radio)
* The Art Ensemble Of Chicago captivate at Cafe OTO (Jazzwise)
* After 50 Years, Hendricks’ “Miles Ahead” Remake Set for NYC Premiere (DownBeat)
* Dear Creepy Men of the Music Industry, Please Stop (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* The cassette revival needs blank tapes – meet the hoarders coming to the rescue (FactMag.com)
* Billboard's 2017 Power 100 List Revealed (Billboard)
* A Sonic Introduction to Avant-Garde Music: Stream 145 Minutes of 20th Century Art Music, Including Modernism, Futurism, Dadaism & Beyond (OpenCulture.com)
* Does College Radio Even Matter Anymore? (Pitchfork)
* How Railroads Influenced Jazz Music (WBUR)
* Al Jarreau: An American Original (Jazz Times)
* ‘Spine-tingling’ lost Bob Marley tapes restored after 40 years in a cellar (The Guardian)
* The Standard Bearers: In Jazz Categories, The Grammys Remain Focused On The Past (NPR)
* Spinal Tap Reunite to Sue Record Label for $400 Million (Guitar World)
* Krall Revisits Songbook on New Album, Announces World Tour (DownBeat)
* “I’ll be there”: Charlie Haden was the Tom Joad of jazz, and his Liberation Music Orchestra lives on (Salon.com)
* How 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' Became The World's First Gold Record (NPR)