Twelve years ago today, the first post went up on St. Louis Jazz Notes. More than 4,500 posts later, StLJN is one of the longest continuously operating outposts of what's left of the jazz blogosphere and one of the longest running music websites in St. Louis, and it remains the city's most complete and regularly updated source devoted to news about jazz.
Thanks once again to all the readers, commenters, musicians, music students and educators, presenters, club owners, publicists, tipsters, media people, record label employees, and others who have taken an interest in the site over the years. Your time and continued attention are much appreciated.
As usual, if you have any anniversary wishes, congratulations, questions, suggestions, or complaints, the comments are open.
This week, it's time to check out some videos of the latest iteration of the SFJAZZ Collective, who will be here in St. Louis to perform starting next Wednesday, April 26 through Saturday, April 29 at Jazz at the Bistro.
Founded in 2004 as a sort of ever-evolving, all-star house band for the San Francisco presenter SFJAZZ, the group's lineup by design has changed considerably over the years, and currently features Miguel Zenón (alto sax), David Sánchez (tenor sax), Sean Jones (trumpet), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Warren Wolf (vibraphone), Edward Simon (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Obed Calvaire (drums).
Each year, the members come together to record an album, with each contributing two arrangements - one original, the other re-imagining a work from a specific composer chosen as the season's focal point.
That repertoire then serves as the basis for a subsequent tour, and when last seen here in St. Louis in March 2016 at the Bistro, the SFJAZZ Collective was playing the music of pop icon Michael Jackson. This year's featured composer is a lot closer to home for St. Louis listeners, since it's none other than the legendary trumpeter Miles Davis, who was born in Alton, grew up in East St. Louis, and played some of his first gigs here in St. Louis.
Recorded live in performances on October 20-23, 2016 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, the Collective's latest two-disc album features new arrangements of works composed by and associated with Davis, plus the new original compositions by members of the group.
To show how the project has evolved, today's collection of videos offers a look at SFJAZZ Collective both before and after the recording of their Miles Davis album, starting up top with a brief promotional clip featuring quotes about Davis from several of the musicians.
After the jump, you can see them performing "Milestones" as part of an event last May at the SFJAZZ Center revealing Davis as this season's featured composer.
Next, you can see and hear three selections, starting with "So What," from a show the Collective did on the corporate campus of YouTube just a week before making the album.
That's followed by a playlist assembling a full show recorded in Milan, Italy two weeks later, after the album was recorded.
Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:
* This Saturday, April 22 is the 10th annual celebration of Record Store Day, and as in recent years, yr. StLJN editor once again will be taking part by doing a "guest DJ" stint at Vintage Vinyl, spinning tunes inside the U City store for an hour starting at 4:00 p.m. (If you look closely at the event poster (pictured), you can even see my name in small type at the lower right.)
As usual, VV and their fellow music retailers in St. Louis have a full day of activities, live music, giveaways and more planned for RSD, and you can get an overview of who's doing what via Kevin Johnson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
* Are you, or do you know, an accountant with an appreciation for jazz? If so, your dream job could be waiting, as Jazz St. Louis is looking for a Chief Financial Officer. You can find out more about the job and how to apply here.
* The second annual Make Music Day St. Louis festival, the relatively recent local addition to a long-running, worldwide event marking the summer solstice, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21. Musicians and venues interested in participating can find more information at www.makemusicstl.org.
* Trumpeter Sean Jones, a frequent visitor to St. Louis in recent years, is preparing to put out his first-ever live album, which was recorded here at Jazz at the Bistro. Set to be released by Mack Avenue Records on Friday, May 26, the aptly titled Live from Jazz at the Bistro features Jones' working band of the past 12 years and is available for pre-order now.
* The date is set for the 2017 Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival, which will take place from noon to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 in the area around the intersection of Lockwood and Gore in Webster Groves' "Old Webster" business district. The festival's lineup of bands will be announced at a later date.
As Jazz Appreciation Month 2017 moves past the halfway point, the calendar of live jazz and creative music performances here in St. Louis takes a turn toward the historic, with events scheduled to pay tribute to St. Louis' own Oliver Nelson, as well as to Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Dizzy Gillespie, and more. Let's go to the highlights...
The nine-piece band (three reeds, three brass, three rhythm) will perform material from throughout Nelson's career, with an emphasis on works addressing topics of civil rights and social justice, including "I Hope In Time A Change Will Come," "Emancipation Blues" and "The Kennedy Dream Suite," as well as songs from Nelson's most famous album Blues and the Abstract Truth.
Also on Wednesday, the weekly jam session hosted by pianist Curt Landes, bassist Glen Smith, and drummer Chuck Kennedy continues at @Nesby's in South County.
For more about the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, plus some videos of Stafford, Gordon, Vadala, and Saturday night's headliner, trumpeter Jon Faddis, (pictured, top left) see this post from last Saturday.
Saturday, April 22
The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival concludes with a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dizzy Gillespie, featuring Gillespie's protege Jon Faddis and Friends, at the Touhill.
(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.)
I Called Him Morgan, the well-reviewed new documentary about the life and death of trumpeter Lee Morgan, is getting a St. Louis engagement, opening on Friday, April 28 at the Tivoli Theatre.
Morgan, a major trumpet star of the 1960s, first gained fame as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and later had a big pop hit with "The Sidewinder." He was shot dead when he was just 34 years old by his common-law wife, Helen, in February 1972 during a gig at Slugs', a club in New York City.
Described as "part true-crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat," I Called Him Morgan recounts the story of their volatile relationship and the killing, using an audio interview conducted with Helen more than 20 years later as the basis for the tale.
The film, which was directed by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin and shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, who worked on the recent hits Arrival and Selma, also includes archival photographs and footage, interviews with Morgan's friends and fellow musicians, and recordings of his music.
You can watch the trailer for I Called Him Morgan in the embedded window below, and see a Q&A with the director, recorded at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, here.