Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Search for missing pianist Nathan Jatcko
ends with family's announcement

St. Louis jazz pianist Nathan Jatcko, who went missing last week and inspired a search that has received extensive media coverage in the area, has died.

On Wednesday night, family members posted a message to a Facebook group dedicated to the search that read as follows:
"We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Nathan Jatcko on 1/17/2018. He took his life. He leaves behind a loving family and wide community of friends. We are at a loss for words, but appreciate all of the love, kindness, and prayers communicated to us over the past five days. Thank you.

As we are grieving, the family asks for privacy at this difficult time."
Jatcko (pictured) grew up in Highland, IL and studied music at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He moved to St. Louis after graduation, and regularly performed solo as well as with trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's band, singer Christy Coleman, the Liberation Organ Trio, and others.

He was last seen at around 1:30 a.m. Friday, January 12 at his apartment in south St. Louis, and was reported missing after failing to show up for a recording session and performance later on Friday.

Social media posts seeking information about Jatcko's whereabouts were shared thousands of times, and the search for him was covered extensively by local media, including the Riverfront Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KTVI-Fox 2, KSDK, Belleville News-Democrat, KMOX, RiverBender.com, KMOV, and Patch.com.

This story will be updated if and when more information becomes available.

Our condolences go out to Nathan Jatcko's family, friends, and musical colleagues.

Jazz this week: The Bad Plus v 2.0, Storm Large, "Winter Jazz Fest," and more

It's a big week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with one performance that's literally drawing international attention, the debut of a new festival, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...


Wednesday, January 17
The gig making headlines all over the globe is the live debut of the revised lineup of The Bad Plus, who will be doing their first-ever performances with new pianist Orrin Evans starting Wednesday night and continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

Evans, who replaces founding member Ethan Iverson, already has recorded an album with the group, which is being released this week and was spotlighted last week by NPR's "First Listen" feature. (NPR also will be recording The Bad Plus during their stay in St. Louis for a future episode of the network's "Jazz Night In America" program.)

While that live stream of the new album may have expired by the time you read this, those who are curious about The Bad Plus v 2.0 (pictured, top left) but can't make it to the Bistro this week can watch a live online stream of Friday night's first set for free, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Jazz St. Louis' Facebook page.

Also on Wednesday, singer Storm Large returns, this time with her band Le Bonheur, for a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall. While her several previous appearances here in recent years have been in a cabaret setting and with the dance orchestra Pink Martini, this show will offer Large a chance to show off more of her rock-oriented material with a full band.

Thursday, January 18
Guitarist Todd Mosby's New Horizons Ensemble performs at Sky Music Lounge; The People’s Key will play at the Chase Club; and saxophonist Ben Reece‘s Unity Quartet returns to The Dark Room.

Friday, January 19
Saxophonist Kendrick Smith begins a new weekly residency, leading a trio every Friday starting this week at Thurman's in Shaw; and the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday,
January 20

The first-ever "Winter Jazz Fest," headlined by jazz/fusion band Yellowjackets, will take place at the Grandel Theatre.

Unlike the long-established, week-long, multi-venue New York City event with which it shares a name, this fest is a single-night, single-location concert, with an emphasis on electric contemporary jazz.

In addition to Yellowjackets (pictured, bottom left), the show also will feature saxophonist Eric Marienthal, Bach to The Future, Tracer (aka pianist Ptah Williams' trio in fusion mode), pianist Royce Martin, and the adjacent Dark Room's regular Saturday night performer, keyboardist Mo Egeston.

If you're thinking about going but don't yet have tickets, Metrotix is offering a "buy one ticket, get the second at half-price" discount to online buyers. To access the offer, go to this page and enter the promo code WINTERJAZZ.

Also on Saturday, saxophonist Dave Stone's begins a new weekly gig at Thurman's in Shaw; Miss Jubilee returns to the Casa Loma Ballroom; and the Funky Butt Brass Band will do their monthly performance at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

Sunday, January 21
The Dave Dickey Big Band performs in the first of a projected series of gigs this year at the Grandel Theatre, with the Lindbergh HS Jazz Ensemble as opener and intermission act.

Monday, January 22
Dizzy Atmosphere plays swing and Gypsy jazz for diners at The Shaved Duck, and singer and impressionist Dean Christopher will present his "Rat Pack and More" show at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar.

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, January 14, 2018

Sunday Session: January 14, 2018

The Bad Plus
Here's the roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's various inboxes or feeds over the past week:

* Jazz, but not as you know it (Vice.com)
* Record Bin: How Herbie Hancock subverted jazz traditions and asserted his funk dominance on “Head Hunters” (Nooga.com)
* And Look—She’s a Star! (The Nation)
* Music fans bought a lot of cassettes last year (NME.com)
* Why I Still Buy Music in the Age of Spotify (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* Wes Gets Royal Treatment (DownBeat)
* 'Dock Of The Bay' At 50: Why Otis Redding's Biggest Hit Almost Went Unheard (NPR)
* The musical secrets of FAME Studios legend Rick Hall (Birmingham News)
* A Cabaret Star’s Comeback (Wall Street Journal)
* Ice Music: Building Instruments Out Of Water (NPR)
* White Noise Story Generates White Noise on Copyright (IllusionOfMore.com)
* Just How Similar Are Radiohead's 'Creep' and Lana Del Rey's 'Get Free'? (Esquire)
* Inside the Amish town that builds U2, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift's live shows (Wired)
* Funk Carves Out A Groove At The Funk Music Hall Of Fame In Ohio (NPR)
* Mitchell Takes Homage to Winter Jazzfest (DownBeat)
* Why this awful-sounding album is a masterpiece (Vox.com)
* Surprise! The ‘Music Modernization Act’ Prohibits Litigation Against Streaming Services (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* First Listen: The Bad Plus, 'Never Stop II' (NPR)
* Why music venue closures 'make all of our lives poorer' (BBC)
* Lester Bangs Play 'How to Be a Rock Critic' Captures Writer's Wild Spirit (Rolling Stone)
* At Peabody jazz: discrimination allegations, a forced ouster — and new hope (Baltimore Sun)
* ********, ∆, †‡† ... the most unpronounceable band names ever (The Guardian)
* Spotify Is in the Business of Selling You Spotify, Not Music (TrackRecord.net)
* Q&A: Chick Corea on his regrets, Grammys, future plans and more (Creative Loafing - Tampa)
* Portrait Of: Eddie Palmieri (LatinoUSA.org)
* Roy Hargrove’s rousing Showcase residency (DownBeat)
* The “True” Story Of How Brian Eno Invented Ambient Music (OpenCulture.com)
* Chartmania!! I Broke Down Every Song That Reached the Billboard Top 5 in 2017 (Soundfly.com)
* Life’s Work: An Interview with John Adams (Harvard Business Review)
* Dr. Demento, comedic song hero and unsung punk rock legend, gets his due on new album (Los Angeles Times)
* Preservation Hall’s Musical Mission (Garden and Gun)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Winter/spring 2018 jazz preview, part five



This week, StLJN's winter/spring 2018 jazz preview continues with part five in a series of posts featuring videos of jazz and creative music performers who will be coming to St. Louis in the first few months of the new year. (If you missed the previous installments, you can see part one here, part two here, part three here, and part four here.)

Continuing in chronological order from where last week's post left off, the first video up above features singer and St. Louis native Ken Page, the St. Louis native and star of Broadway and film who will bringing his cabaret act to Jazz at the Bistro on Wednesday, April 4 and Thursday, April 5. Page, who's known for his roles in the original casts of musical theater megahits such as Ain't Misbehavin' and Cats, as well as for his voice characterization of Oogie Boogie in Tim Burton's animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, is seen here in a demo reel compiled to showcase his talents for potential bookings.

Page will be followed on the Bistro stage by drummer Allison Miller, trumpeter Riley Mulherkar and saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, who will be in town that week to do an educational residency for Jazz St. Louis and will cap it with performances on Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7 at the Bistro.

As with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Group that's here this week at the Bistro, Miller, Mulherkar and Lefkowitz-Brown (and presumably a local support musician or two) will be joining forces specifically for this gig, so the only available footage to show you is of them performing individually.

Miller can be seen in the first video after the jump with her band Boom Tic Boom, performing "Fuster," the opening track from their album Otis Was a Polar Bear, at a gig in May 2016 in Philadelphia. (Along with the leader on drums, Boom Tic Boom includes pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, and bassist Todd Sickafoose.)

After that, you can see Mulherkar playing Duke Ellington's "Echoes of Harlem" in a jam session last April at the Kranzberg Arts Center right here in St. Louis, accompanied by bassist Bob DeBoo and drummer Montez Coleman, followed by a clip of Lefkowitz-Brown playing Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite" with his quartet, which includes Takeshi Ohbayashi on piano, Tamir Shmerling on bass, and Bryan Carter on drums.

Next up at the Bistro will be "Songs of Freedom," a show developed by drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr that will be performed by a group led by him and featuring vocalists Alicia Olatuja and Joanna Majoko starting Wednesday, April 11 and continuing through Saturday, April 14 at the Bistro.

First presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, "Songs of Freedom" is based on the music of what the promotional copy calls "three iconic voices of the 1960s--Joni Mitchell, Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone--and the complex ways in which they call out to each other."

Unfortunately, none of the previous performances seem to have been recorded on video and put online, so instead in today's fourth clip you can see a full set of Owens leading a band with bassist Reuben Rogers, vibraphonist Joel Ross, and singer Vuyo Sotashe last August as Dizzy's Club in NYC.

That's followed by a clip of Majoko singing "Bye Bye Blackbird" recorded a couple of years ago at UMFM studios in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, accompanied by Jocelyn Gould (guitar), Carter Graham (keyboard), Karl Kohut (bass), and Curtis Nowosad (drums). (St. Louis native Olatuja can be seen in last week's post, which previewed, among others, her solo shows in February at the Bistro.)

The same night that Owens and company wrap up at the Bistro, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and his band Ekaya will be in town to perform on Saturday, April 14 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Ibrahim originally was scheduled to be joined by trumpeter Hugh Masekela for a program recounting the history of the Jazz Epistles, South Africa's first bebop band, of which both men were members.

However, Masekela's health issues have caused him to cancel all his live shows for the first part of 2018, so as of this writing, the concert is still set to go on, but no replacement trumpeter has been announced yet.

It was announced this past week that the estimable Wadada Leo Smith will be performing with Ibrahim for dates next month at SFJAZZ in San Francisco, which ought to make for a very interesting collaboration. And Ibrahim has worked with some other very capable trumpeters, too, as in the next clip, which shows him and Ekaya plus special guest Terence Blanchard in a full set recorded last July at the Jazzaldia festival in Donosti, Spain.

The final two videos today feature the headliners of the 2018 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, which will present the The University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band on Friday, April 21 and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band on Saturday, April 22, both at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The One O'Clock Lab Band, which is UNT's top student ensemble, can be seen in the penultimate clip performing "Harlem Nocturne" in a show last November on campus. That's followed by a video of a full show from the Big Phat Band, recorded in November 2015 at the Los Angeles College of Music.

Look for part six of StLJN's winter/spring 2018 jazz preview next week in this space. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, January 12, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Singer Storm Large (pictured) was interviewed Wednesday by St. Louis Public Radio's Alex Heuer in advance of her performance next Wednesday, January 17 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

* Singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja is the subject of a short feature story in the current issue of Jazz Times.

* A new article on the website Jazz in Europe looks at the impact of Miles Davis' landmark 1970 album Bitches Brew.

* Speaking of Davis, an article in On Milwaukee magazine recounts the story of the trumpeter's 1959 "legendary show that wasn't" at a club there called the Brass Rail.

* Saxophonist David Sanborn appeared Thursday on the morning news at New York City's WABC, promoting his gigs this weekend at BB King's in NYC.

* Lea DeLaria's performance last month at Jazz at the Bistro was reviewed for CabaretScenes.org by Chuck Lavazzi.

* Keyboardist Michael Silverman of Bach to the Future and Silverman Productions was interviewed by St. Louis County Arts Blog's Valerie Tichacek.

* Gene Dobbs Bradford of Jazz St. Louis was profiled on the website of the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis. Bradford will be one of seven 2018 recipients of the council's St. Louis Arts Awards, which will be presented at an event on Monday, January 22 at the Chase Park Plaza hotel.

* Guitarist Todd Mosby's performance next week in Rolla is previewed on the Three Rivers Publishing website, which compiles news from several small towns in east central Missouri.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jazz this week: Claire Chase, Tyshawn Sorey & Cory Smythe; Jazz at Lincoln Center Group; The Sextet; Marcus Lewis; and more

This week's lineup of jazz and creative music in St. Louis features a couple of Kansas City acts making their first trips here, a couple of small groups comprised of musicians drawn from larger, well-known ensembles, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, January 10
This week's "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" features cornetist and banjo player T.J Müller at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session led by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Thursday, January 11
The Kansas City-based band The Sextet will make their St. Louis debut at The Dark Room. Incorporating "soulful grooves and elements of funk" into their sound (per Bill Brownlee of the Kansas City jazz blog Plastic Sax), the up-and-coming group is supporting their recently released second album Blob Castle.

Also on Thursday, Miss Jubilee will perform at the Chase Club at the Chase Park Plaza, which apparently now is including occasional jazz in their revamped live music offerings.

Friday, January 12
Billed as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Group, trombonist James Burton III, trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt, drummer Jerome Jennings, and bassist Ben Wolfe (pictured, bottom left) will cap off a week-long educational residency for Jazz St. Louis with the first of two nights of performances at Jazz at the Bistro.

Although all four are associated with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the group was assembled specifically for these dates, and so it's hard to know specifically what they'll be doing at the Bistro, Still, you can get a look at all of the players in action individually in part one of StLJN's winter/spring 2018 jazz preview.

Also on Friday, singer Anita Jackson returns to The Dark Room, and guitarist Tom Byrne leads a trio at Cigar Inn.

Saturday, January 13
Depending on the project, the International Contemporary Ensemble can grow to the size of a chamber orchestra, but for their St. Louis date on Saturday presented by New Music Circle at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, they'll be a trio, featuring founder, leader and flute player Claire Chase, the much-talked-about multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey, and pianist Cory Smythe (pictured, top left).

They'll perform three compositions by Sorey, and two by the late composer and experimental music pioneer Pauline Oliveros. You can see one of Sorey's pieces, plus additional videos featuring Chase and Smith, in this post.

Also on Saturday, guitarist Dave Black leads a trio at the house concert venue The Judson House in Grand Center.

Sunday, January 14
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents trumpeter Randy Holmes' Satchmo Six in a matinee performance at the Moolah Shrine Center.

Tuesday, January 16
The St. Louis Low Brass Collective will present their annual gala at the Sheldon Concert Hall featuring special guest trombonist and composer Marcus Lewis, who's based in Kansas City when he's not on the road with R&B singer Janelle Monae.

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, January 07, 2018

Sunday Session: January 7, 2018

Ron Carter
Here's the roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's inboxes over the past week:

* A 2017 JT Reader - Selected highlights from the year in JazzTimes (Jazz Times)
* Legendary Jazz Bassist Ron Carter Talks About Music, Recording, and Hi-Fi (Stereophile)
* Long Players: writers on their most cherished albums (NewStatesman.com)
* Wayne Shorter: Artist In Residence At The Detroit Jazz Festival (NPR)
* Lifetime Achievement in Music: The Poet Laureate of Mardi Gras Indians, Monk Boudreaux (Offbeat)
* Iverson Plays Final Show with Bad Plus (DownBeat)
* How a Hit Happens Now (Vulture.com)
* The 'Despacito' effect: The year Latino music broke the charts (NBC)
* Player Pianos and the Commodification of Music (JStor.org)
* Spotify Hit With $1.6 Billion Copyright Lawsuit Over Tom Petty, Weezer, Neil Young Songs (Hollywood Reporter)
* Rick Hall, Producer And Songwriter Who Put Muscle Shoals On The Map, Dead At 85 (NPR)
* Jazz improvisers score high on creativity (Science News)
* In 2018, I want to find new music without using algorithms (TheVerge.com)
* The rebirth of St. John Coltrane church in the Western Addition (TheWesternEdition.com)
* The lost art of music snobbery (The Globe and Mail)
* Matt Wilson – The Ambassador of Unvention (Modern Drummer)
* New Documentary Examines Milford Graves’ Music and Philosophy (DownBeat)
* The Healing Power of Jazz (The New Yorker)
* Producers say record labels are calling projects “mixtapes” to avoid paying them fairly (TheFader.com)
* Fred Hersch: Life, Music, and the Creative Process (AllAboutJazz.com)
* Recording Studios are not Dying (Pro Sound News)
* Pop tunes are welcome in the movies, directors say, as long as it's in service of the plot (Los Angeles Times)
* How Women Shaped The Legacy Of Nashville’s Oldest And Most Celebrated Venue, The Ryman Auditorium (Uproxx.com)
* theartsdesk Q&A: Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant (TheArtsDesk.com)
* Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, and the Road to West Side Story (Vanity Fair)
* The Alabama Recording Studios Where Music Was Never Segregated (ZocaloPublicSquare.org)
* US Label Cuneiform stops all new releases for 2018 (London Jazz News)
* YouTube’s Unlikely Peacemaker Has a Plan to Make Musicians Rich (Bloomberg.com)

Saturday, January 06, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Winter/spring 2018 jazz preview, part 4



This week, StLJN's winter/spring 2018 jazz preview continues with part four of a series of posts featuring videos of the jazz and creative music performers who will be coming to St. Louis in the first few months of the new year. (If you missed the previous installments, you can see part one here, part two here, and part three here.)

Continuing in chronological order from where part three left off, today's first video features singer Marilyn Maye, the grande dame of cabaret who will perform Wednesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 8 at Jazz at the Bistro. She's seen here singing a medley of "Secret of Life" and "Here’s to Life," recorded June 5, 2017 at the fifth anniversary celebration of Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City.

After the jump, you can see a clip of Melissa Aldana, who will lead her quartet in shows starting Wednesday, March 14 continuing through Saturday, March 17 at the Bistro. The video shows the Chilean-born, Berklee-educated saxophonist with pianist Sam Harris, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Craig Weinrib playing "Turning & Over There" in November 2017 at the venue musig im pflegidach in Muri, Switzerland.

That week also features two more concerts of interest to StLJN readers on Thursday, March 15, when New Orleans jazz/funk band Galactic will be playing at Delmar Hall while saxophonist Ben Wendel performs at The Ready Room.

Galactic can be seen in the second video after the jump, playing a full set recorded in February 2017 at the Music Box in San Diego, CA, followed by Wendel, a founding member of Kneebody, playing "Song Song" from his album What We Bring in a undated video with Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders, and Henry Cole.

Next up, it's The Thing, the avant-jazz trio of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, and drummer Paal Nilssen Love. They'll be in St. Louis on Thursday, March 22 for a concert presented by New Music Circle at Off Broadway, and can be seen here playing a full set recorded November 27, 2017 at Blue Tomato in Vienna, Austria.

the penultimate clip features bassist Victor Wooten's trio with drummer Dennis Chambers and saxophonist Bob Franceschini. They're set to perform on Tuesday, March 27 at the Old Rock House, and are seen here playing "Love is My Favourite Word" in February 2016 at the Blue Note in Milano, Italy.

Last, but certainly not least, it's The Baylor Project, fronted by the husband-and-wife team of drummer and St. Louis native Marcus Baylor and singer Jean Baylor, who are performing Wednesday, March 28 through Saturday, March 31 at the Bistro.

The Baylors, who are nominated in for 2018 Grammy Awards in both the "Best Traditional R&B Performance" and "Best Jazz Vocal Album" categories, can be seen in today's final video performing their Grammy-nominated song "Laugh and Move On," in a version recorded live last year at the studios of radio station WERS in Boston.

Look for part five of StLJN's winter/spring 2018 jazz preview next week in this space. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...