Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Notes from the Net: Reviews of the Bad Plus, Dewey Jackson; funding jazz; and more

Despite the tradional mid-summer lull in breaking news, StLJN's tireless cyborg infotraps nevertheless have scooped up a few items of interest over the past week:

* AllAboutJazz.com ran a review of Live at the Barrel, yesteryear St. Louis trumpeter Dewey Jackson's session from 1954 recently issued for the first time by Delmark Records, the Chicago label owned by former St. Louisan Bob Koester.

* From the "Coming attractions" file, the Journal News, a suburban paper outside NYC, had a feature story on drummer Roy Haynes, who's playing Jazz at the Bistro in September.

* Also, the Bad Plus, who will return to the Bistro the first week of January 2008, recently played London, where one reviewer called them "a subversive US group whose jazz stylings seemed calculated to send up the entire genre...Fragmented, hyperactive and theatrical, The Bad Plus stretch the piano-trio format inside-out".

* An interesting piece in the Chicago Tribune last week examined a collective of businesses and foundations that is helping to fund jazz performances throughout the city:

"Two years ago, several of Chicago's most famous corporations and foundations dared to invent a new model for funding the arts.

In a dramatic move, they joined forces to create an informal philanthropic consortium dedicated to supporting music. This meant, in effect, that each of these big-league organizations risked losing some of the high visibility -- or the "branding" power, in marketers' terms -- that accrues with being the sole or lead underwriter of an arts event.

More radical still, they decided to pour their resources not into safe and conventional musical outfits, such as symphony orchestras and opera companies, but into a less formally organized music that long has been an orphan when it comes to funding: jazz.

Since then, the aptly named Chicago Jazz Partnership has funneled approximately $1.5 million in cash (and nearly as much in in-kind contributions, such as production costs and musician airfares) into a music that's internationally identified with this city.

Granted, that may not seem like a lot of money when compared with the funding of institutions such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which has an operating budget of $57.6 million and an endowment of $202 million. But it's huge in jazz, a music that somehow has flourished for most of a century on nightclub cover charges and bar tabs, but with scant institutional support (multimillion dollar organizations such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York, and SFJAZZ, in San Francisco, remain the exceptions in the low-budget world of jazz).

So when the stage lights go up Thursday night for Millennium Park's third annual "Made in Chicago" jazz series, a brilliantly programmed lineup underwritten by the Chicago Jazz Partnership, audiences once again can witness how this novel funding approach has altered the musical landscape of this city."

Read the whole thing here.

* And finally, The Onion recently ran a humor piece called "No one sets out to be a smooth jazz musician" that's good for a few chuckles, even (or maybe especially) for those who particularly enjoy that genre of music.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Finale to present shows by
Acoustic Alchemy, Diane Schuur

It's been a while since we've checked out the coming attractions at Finale Music and Dining, and since one of the club's notable shows with a touring headliner is happening next week, now seems like an opportune time to mention that Finale will present smooth jazz/world music group Acoustic Alchemy next Thursday, August 2. Also, although it's not yet on Finale's Web site, thanks to Pollstar, it has been revealed that the club also has booked a return appearance for singer and pianist Diane Schuur on Thursday, October 4 and Friday, October 5.

In between, Finale has scheduled appearances by a number of local and regional musicians of interest to jazz listeners, including return gigs by singer Debby Lennon (doing a Cole Porter tribute show on Saturday, August 4); saxophonist Tim Cunningham (Friday, August 10 and Friday, September 7); singer/impressionist Dean Christopher (Saturday, August 11); singer Anita Rosamond (Saturday, August 18); and Wild, Cool and Swingin' (Friday, September 21).

Also coming up at Finale: a tribute to Charlie Parker by trumpeter Randy Holmes and Hard Bop Heritage (Thursday, August 30); drummer Jerome "Scrooge" Harris with singer Anita Jackson (Friday, August 31); singer/pianist Al Oxenhandler (Saturday, September 1); Downtown Trio's "Bach To The Future" show (Friday, September 14); and a "tenor battle" from saxophonist David Fatek and his organ quartet (Thursday, September 20). And let's not forget the John Coltrane tribute from Holmes and Hard Bop Heritage (Saturday, September 22) and a two-night stand for the "Sinatra Songbook" show (Thursday, September 27 and Friday, September 28).

Finally, to add a little visual interest to this post, there's a bit of YouTubery above and below the text. The video up top shows Acoustic Alchemy performing "Playing for Time", while the one below features Schuur and her quartet doing "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)". Schuur's band in this clip include Rod Fleeman, an excellent guitarist with Kansas City roots who some may also recall as a member of the 1970s fusion group Dry Jack.

Bohemians featured in Post column

St. Louis Post-Dispatch pop critic Kevin Johnson devoted a good chunk of Thursday's column to the Bohemians, a St. Louis jazz/pop/cabaret group led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Bob Bailey that's releasing their second CD. You can read the article online here.

Johnson mentions in the piece that the Bohemians' first recording attracted a favorable notice from noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff. What isn't mentioned is that Hentoff did not just pick the recording out of the "slush pile" and single it out for praise; he came across it because his son-in-law, Michael Killian, was a member of the band at the time.

While no one could blame Hentoff for saying nice things about about a band including the father of his grandchildren, this doesn't necessarily invalidate his opinion of the CD, either. It is, however, an interesting tidbit that seems worth pointing out to the reader, and so, now, as that old gasbag Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.

Jazz St. Louis announces
dates for benefit gala, NYC trip

Finally catching up with a few items from last week, I see that staff members of Jazz St. Louis are now blogging away at the organization's newly redesigned Web site, particularly development director Melissa Jones, whose entries this past week contained a couple of newsworthy items.

For starters, JSL has set Saturday, April 5, 2008 at the date for their next benefit gala, an event that is one of the organization's major fundraisers of the year. There's no word yet as to ticket prices, but the event will be held, believe it or not, at the Nieman Marcus store at Plaza Frontenac, with cocktail hour music from the THF Realty All-Star Student Ensemble plus pianist and singer Tony DeSare as the featured entertainer.

Now, I don't quite know what to make of the location, although from what I understand, other not-for-profit organizations have also held fundraising events there. I guess if nothing else, it's in a part of town that's home to many people who attend such charity events.

As for the music, DeSare seems like a decent choice in the sense of having sufficient musical credibility to appeal to jazz fans, while being accessible to those who aren't hardcore aficionados. Moreover, I'm sure his fee is quite a bit less than that of, say, Al Jarreau, who had been scheduled to headline JSL's benefit this past year until he canceled and was replaced by the Neville Brothers, no bargain-basement act themselves. The selection of DeSare suggests that JSL likely has analyzed the returns from previous galas, and decided the event itself is the main attraction and that they can live with any trade-offs that may result from booking a talented but less well-known performer.

In another entry, Jones announced that JSL will be sponsoring a trip to New York City from April 18 - 20, 2008. There aren't many details available right now, but the trip will be put together by Altair Travel and the itinerary will include jazz clubs, dining and shopping. So, if you particularly like group travel, or if this otherwise seems like your sort of thing, you can contact Jones to reserve a spot by calling 314-289-4037 or emailing her at melissa@jazzstl.org.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

StLJN Saturday at the Movies:
Greg Osby plays "Sanctus", plus
Luther Thomas live in Copenhagen

This week's videos spotlight a couple of alto saxophonists with St. Louis roots, both of whom have found their own way to incorporate influences from jazz, funk and more experimental approaches into their own music.

First up is Greg Osby, performing guitarist Jim Hall's composition "Sanctus" in what's described as an outtake from an electronic press kit giving an inside look at the sessions for Osby's Invisible Hand CD, which came out back in 2000. Hall also performs on the CD and in this video, as does the late, great pianist Andrew Hill, and this track is one of just two cuts from the CD on which both men appear. Scott Colley is the bass player, Terri Lynn Carrington's on drums, and Gary Thomas contributes a brief passage on flute. This track is more laid back than most of Osby's own compositions, but it's still interesting and entertaining to watch these very fine musicians at work.

As for the second video, after posting earlier this week about a new album from Luther Thomas, I poked around the online video sites looking for something from him. This short clip was recorded last fall, and shows Thomas performing in a club in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he now resides. (For what it's worth, I also found that Thomas now has a MySpace page, albeit one with an eye-bleedingly awful color scheme, that seems to be much more up to date than the "official" site linked above.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Jazz this week: Randy Holmes Quartet,
Mike Nelson, "All That Tap" and more

Time is short today, due to a deadline for (paying) work, but there are still several jazz performances on St. Louis stages this week that are worth noting as we head into the dog days of summer:

Tonight, trumpeter Randy Holmes (pictured) leads his quartet in a free concert at Washington University as part of the Jazz at Holmes summer series.

On Friday, BAG II presents percussionist and trumpeter Mike Nelson in a free concert called "Talking With Drums" at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site. Also on Friday, trumpeter and vibraphonist Joe Bozzi will take the stage for two shows at Finale Music and Dining.

On Saturday, pianist Carolbeth True and her trio will serve as the backing band for this year's All About Tap festival held at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Of course, you can also check out local favorites at their regular recurring gigs, including pianist and singer Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum at Brandt's tonight; the Dave Stone trio at Mangia Italiano on Friday; and tenor sax kingpin Willie Akins at Spruill's on Saturday. For a more extensive list of local jazz-related events, please consult the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.

(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.)

Photo of Randy Holmes by Dennis Owsley.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Luther Thomas releases Ayler tribute

In part because he's lived in Europe for much of the last two decades, saxophonist Luther Thomas (pictured) isn't quite as well known ro American jazz fans as his former Black Artists Group colleagues Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett.

However, Thomas' recordings from back in the day with the Human Arts Ensemble, particularly Funky Donkey, are seen as prime examples of the particular mixture of free jazz and funk developed in St. Louis during the BAG years, and Thomas has continued to perform and record, though much of his recent output has been for small European labels without much US distribution.

Distribution should be no problem for Thomas' latest effort, though, since it's a download-only release, available to anyone with a suitable fast Net connection and 8.70 Euros (that's a little more than $12 US, in case you were wondering.)

Meditations on Albert Ayler was recorded on March 8, 2007 at the Glenn Miller Café in Stockholm, Sweden, and features Thomas (alto sax), Jair-Rohm Parker Wells (bass) and Tony Bianco (drums). According to the Ayler Records label, which is releasing the recording, "it is not an "Ayler cover band". The music presented is improvised music inspired by the life, music and words of a musician who extended the vocabulary and the scope of the music formerly known as "Jazz"."

You can read more about the album here, or download it directly from this page.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Notes from the Net: Reviews of Roy Haynes & Elliot/Braun; free Wynton Marsalis MP3s; and more

Not much on the Interwebs this week about St. Louis' native jazz musicians, but there are a few items of interest pertaining tosome musicians who have performed here recently, or will soon:

* Saxophonist Kirk Whalum, whose performed in St. Louis at the Pageant last month as part of the Guitars and Saxes show (and who's also been known to sit in with his uncle Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum at Brandt's), has a new "best of" disc coming out.

* Trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Richard Elliot, just here at the Pageant as part of the Jazz Attack show, have released a new CD together, reviewed here.

* Drummer Roy Haynes (pictured), due in town to perform at Jazz at the Bistro in September, last week played Dizzy's Club Cola, the jazz club at Lincoln Center. Read the NY Times review here.

* Wynton Marsalis, who's coming to St. Louis to play the Sheldon in February, has a Web-only album available as a free download; go here for more info and links to the individual tracks from Here and Now.

* And lastly, pianist and singer Diana Krall continues to do lots of press for her current tour. This week's entries include interviews with the Detroit Free Press and Wichita Eagle. Krall also wound up on the receiving end of some snark from the Toronto Globe and Mail about her taste in Canadian wine, as recently revealed in tour riders published online by The Smoking Gun.com

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pollstar: Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to play The Sheldon in February

This just in, via Pollstar: Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (pictured) have been booked to play the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis on Saturday, February 9, 2008.

Marsalis, the Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winning trumpeter and composer, serves as the director of the 15-member Orchestra, which was founded in 1988 and is the “house band” for the Jazz at Lincoln Center program based at the NYC concert venue. The band includes a number of young, up-and-coming players, as well as veterans like ex-Ellingtonian Joe Temperly and frequent Marsalis collaborator Victor Goines. You can see video interviews with some of the Orchestra’s members here, and you can see the whole band performing an arrangement of Ornette Coleman’s composition “Free” in the embedded video window below.

As with all shows listed on Pollstar, this concert should not be considered confirmed until officially announced by the venue. There’s nothing about the concert yet on the Sheldon’s Web site, but the St. Louis date is listed as part of a 20-city tour for the JaLCO that begins in mid-January, and is bracketed by dates in Columbia, MO and Kansas City, so all in all, I'd say it seems quite likely to happen. Watch this space for confirmation, further information about tickets, and so on.

(Edited after posting to fix the headline.)

StLJN Saturday at the Movies:
Downtown Trio - "Stanford Avenue"
and "U City Blues"

This week, we're featuring a couple of homebrew videos from St. Louis' Downtown Trio, seen here performing their original fusion-style jazz in "Stanford Avenue" (above) and "U City Blues" (below).

Keyboardist Mike Silverman, his brother Rob on electronic drums, and bassist Matt Bollinger have been playing together since their teens, and as a result have acheived the kind of interplay that you just don't find in a group of guys playing standards at a pickup gig. The DT has developed their own repertoire of original compositions over the years, as well as a couple of alternate identities. They perform as The Fan Band every Sunday night on CW11's live sports broadcast The Fan Show, while their "Bach to the Future" project reworks classical melodies for a modern electric instrumental context.

Both of these clips were shot at the Pageant in 2005 when DT opened a show there for the Rippingtons. Non-St. Louisans should know that the title of "U City Blues" refers to the band's hometown of University City, which is located just to the west of the city of St. Louis proper, and has a number of streets named after famous institutions of higher learning, including "Stanford Avenue".

Friday, July 20, 2007

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

If it's Friday, that means it's time once again for another fortnightly plug for StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, which features music videos from a variety of genres, including jazz, blues, soul, classic rock, prog rock, experimental and more.

Over the last couple of weeks, the site has showcased clips from Bud Powell, Jimmy Smith, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Tower of Power, Medeski Martin and Wood, Pharoah Sanders, Chico Hamilton, Kool and the Gang, Mahvishnu Orcestra, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters 2005, Traffic, Earth Wind and Fire, Howlin' Wolf and Rare Earth. See them all, plus many more, when you visit Heliocentric Worlds.

(Edited 7/21/07 to fix a typo.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jazz this week: Jazz Attack, Russell Malone,
an avant garde showcase, and more

There's a nice range of stylistic diversity on St. Louis' jazz stages this week, from free form, experimental sounds to mainstream to smooth jazz.

Tonight at Jazz at the Bistro, it's an evening of international avant garde jazz from pianist Satoko Fujii, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, bassist Tamaz Kurashvili and pianist Zurab Ramishvili. This is a free show presented in conjunction with the Summer Jazz Institute at Washington University funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On Thursday, the Bistro presents a tribute to singer Mae Wheeler, featuring "Lady Jazz" herself along with the Adaron Jackson Trio and various special guests. Also on Thursday, Washington University's Jazz at Holmes organization continues its summer series with a free concert by the Curt Landes/Vince Martin group.

On Friday night, the smooth jazz package show Jazz Attack plays the Pageant. This year's edition, presented once again by radio personality and impresario Rick Sanborn, includes trumpeter Rick Braun, saxophonist Richard Elliot (pictured), guitarist Peter White and singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler.

On Friday and Saturday, guitarist Russell Malone celebrates the release of his new MAXJAZZ CD Live at the Jazz Standard Volume 2 by headlining two nights at Jazz at the Bistro. I've got a Critic's Pick on this show in this week's edition of the Riverfront Times, which you should be able to read online here as soon as it goes live on the Web.

Some other noteworthy gigs this weekend include a comparatively rare Friday night appearance at Brandt's by Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum; saxophonist Rod Tate at Finale Music and Dining on Saturday; and Trio Tres Bien with Danita Mumphard at Cookie's Jazz and More, also on Saturday.

As usual, those pesky limitations of the space-time continuum mean that we can only discuss a small sampling of the jazz sounds around town this week. So, for a more extensive list of St. Louis area jazz-related events, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar

(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 17, 2007

BAG II will present Mike Nelson in
"Talking With Drums" on July 27

Via email, the Black Arts Guild aka BAG II sends word of a free concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 27 at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, this time featuring percussionist and trumpeter Mike Nelson:

BAG Presents: Talking with Drums

The batá drums and their music have survived for over 500 years, from the land of the Yorùbá in Nigeria to Cuba to the United States and beyond.

Used almost entirely for religious or semi-religious events in Nigeria and Benin, musicians in Cuba and the US have started to build and play batá drums that are not sacred.

The batá drums can speak. Not in a metaphorical sense, but they really can be used to speak the Yorùbá language, and have been used traditionally to recite prayers, religious poetry, greetings, announcements, praises for leaders.

Yorùbá speakers use three basic tones, or pitches, and glides between them, as an essential part of how words are pronounced. This is how the hourglass-shaped "talking drums" (called dundun in Yorùbá) are able to speak Yorùbá praises and sayings.

On Friday, July 27 at 7pm Mike Nelson and Friends will be “talking” with the Drums at Scott Joplin House. A native of St. Louis, Mr. Nelson will perform on trumpet, percussion and conch shells. The music will blend traditional with contemporary and promises to be an exciting evening of rhythm and jazz.

Mike Nelson is an accomplished musician and arts educator. He has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, China National Orchestra and Aska Kaneko as well as a list of well-known recording artists. Mr. Nelson has served on faculty at COCA and at the Better Family Life's Urban Rhythms program. He is also an award winning environmental consultant who has represented EPA community based projects and
environmental justice across the country.

Talking with Drums
Friday, July 27, 7 – 9 PM
Scott Joplin House, historic Rosebud Café
2658 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis MO 63103

A free evening of music presented by BAG
For further information call 314-340-5790
or email: bag_blackartistsgroup @ yahoo.com

Steve Bagby 1941-2007

StLJN reader Eric Nolling sent this link about a recently deceased musician originally from St. Louis:

Drummer Steve Bagby Dies at 66

University of Miami drum-set instructor Stephen Bagby died from cancer on June 27 at a Fort Lauderdale hospice. The 66-year-old had served on the faculty at UM for 30 years and performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Stan Getz, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Stitt and Chet Baker. Bagby also once performed with saxophonist John Coltrane in Chicago, sitting in for the regular drummer Elvin Jones.

Bagby was born in St. Louis and grew up in the Chicago suburbs, then toured extensively with the Red Rodney-Ira Sullivan Quintet before moving to Miami in the 1960s. He played numerous regular gigs in southern Florida, including those at two now-defunct venues, Bubba’s in Fort Lauderdale and the Rancher Motel Lounge in Miami.
Bagby frequently played with Sullivan, whom he knew from his teenage years back in Chicago.

Bagby joined the UM faculty in the mid-1970s, and also led the house band for WLRN’s Flamingo Jazz Series at Hialeah Race Track in the 1980s. UM alum Rob Schuh said of his former teacher, “He always was the consummate artist. He never sold out, never cared about being famous or having endorsements.”

Bagby lived in Coral Gables. He is survived by his son Guy Logan, 35, a Los Angeles television producer, brother Benjamin Bagby of Paris, and sisters Barbara Davenport of Seattle and Emily Bagby of Rogers, Ark.

While I'd heard of Bagby through his work with the Rodney-Sullivan group, I was not aware of his St. Louis connection, so many thanks to Eric for pointing it out. You can read a bit more about Steve Bagby in this obituary from the Miami Herald. (Link is to Google's cache.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Notes from the Net: Nelson and Moran reviewed, Krall interviewed, and more

* Mosaic Records has a new box set compiling big band sessions led by the late saxophonist, composer and arranger Oliver Nelson, and AllAboutJazz.com has a review here.

* Pianist, composer and St. Louis native Linda Presgrave recently performed at the NYC club Iridium as part of a showcase for her label, Metropolitan Records.

* Pianist Jason Moran (pictured), who will appear at Jazz at the Bistro from January 30 - February 2, 2008, recently performed at NYC's Jazz Standard. Read the New York Times' review of Moran's gig here.

* Diana Krall is coming to St. Louis' Fox Theatre on August 29 as part of her first tour since the birth of her twins last year, and the Boston Globe recently interviewed her about music, motherhood and assorted other topics. Read the article here.

Joe Bozzi featured in Press-Journal

Trumpet player and vibraphonist Joe Bozzi (pictured) is the subject of a feature story in the West County Press Journal, prompted by his upcoming gig later this month at Finale Music and Dining.

You can read the article online here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wheeler, Prost to receive
awards from Grand Center

In a item in today's Post-Dispatch, gossip columnist Deb Peterson revealed that singer Mae Wheeler will be one of the recipients of a "Visionary Award" from Grand Center Inc. in a ceremony to be held in November. The awards, now in their fifth year, recognize women for their outstanding contributions to St. Louis' arts and cultural community. Wheeler will be getting a Lifetime Acheivement Award, and StLJN congratulates "Lady Jazz" on a well-deserved honor.

Also scheduled to be honored as Outstanding Arts Professional is Cynthia Prost, executive director of Cultural Festivals, Inc, the organization that produces the St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival, the St. Louis Art Fair, and the Big Read literary festival.

Oddly, Peterson's item mentions the Art Fair and the Big Read, but not the Jazz Festival. Was this an intentional omission by Prost or Peterson? Is Grand Center expressly excluding the Jazz Festival from the list of accomplishments making Prost eligible for the award? Or did one or more of the above just sort of forget that the Jazz Festival exists, or feel that it was too insignificant to mention? Whatever the reason, it certainly doesn't reflect well on the importance or the public profile of the event.

Sheldon single tickets on sale August 11

Single ticket for events in the Sheldon Concert Hall's various 2007-08 series will go on sale at 10 a.m., Saturday, August 11. The Sheldon's 2007-08 jazz series will include concerts by guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, pianist Ahmad Jamal, singer Carla Cook, pianist Michael Wolff, and Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers.

Tickets can be purchased via Metrotix or in person at the Fox Theatre box office at 534 N. Grand Blvd.

Jazz at Holmes presenting
summer concert series

Washington University's Jazz at Holmes concert series, which presents free jazz concerts in the University's Holmes Lounge during the school year, is also sponsoring a series of free shows this summer.

Pianist Curt Landes and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Vince Martin will perform from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. this coming Thursday, July 19, followed by the Randy Holmes Quartet on July 26, singer Tony Viviano and pianist Ptah Williams on August 2, and the Todd Mosby Group on August 9.

All concerts are free and open to the public and take place in Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall, except for the August 9 concert, which will be in Brookings Quadrangle.

(Note: The series actually started this past Thursday, July 12 with a show by Willie Akins. However, StLJN didn't receive notice of the concerts from Wash U until late Thursday night, when a news release Google Alert containing a University news release dated that morning arrived via email. While I'd hope to be able to offer information on future University events in advance, that depends largely on their ability and willingness, or lack of same, to distribute that information on a timely basis.)

(Edited 7/24/07 to correct the sourcing of the Wash U news release.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

StLJN Saturday at the Movies:
Peter White - "Promenade",
and Russell Malone - "Mugshot"

This week's videos feature two guitarists who will be performing in St. Louis next weekend. First up is Peter White, who will take the stage at the Pageant on Friday, July 20 as part of the Jazz Attack smooth jazz show, also featuring trumpeter Rick Braun, saxophonist Richard Elliot and singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler. He's seen here doing his composition "Promenade" in a clip from 2004.

Down below is a video from Russell Malone, who returns to Jazz at the Bistro on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21 to celebrate the release of his new CD Live at the Jazz Standard, Volume 2 on the St. Louis based MAXJAZZ label. In this clip, Malone is performing "Mugshot", recorded live at the NYC club Smoke in 2004.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Eddie Fisher memorial service
set for Saturday, July 14

A musical tribute and "Going Home Celebration" honoring Eddie Fisher will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 14 at the Greater New Hope Baptist Church, 2240 Missouri Ave. in East St. Louis.

In related news, local radio personality and journalist Bernie Hayes remembers the late guitarist in an obituary in this week's editon of the St. Louis American, and Riverfront Times music editor Annie Zaleski notes Fisher's passing in this post on the paper's music blog, A to Z. Zaleski also interviewed Fisher last year in conjunction with the CD reissue of his album The Next One Hundred Years, and you can read that article here.

(StLJN's earlier coverage of Fisher's death can be found here.)

Jazz this week: The Cunninghams, BAG II,
Red Holloway, Erin Bode, and more

There's lots of good music on tap this weekend in the Gateway City, so let's go right to the highlights:

Tonight, The Cunninghams perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The jazz vocal duo - St. Louis native Don Cunningham and his wife Alicia - will be joined by a number of guest stars including the Carolbeth True Trio, pianist Marion Miller, and saxophonist Chuck Tillman, and you can read more about them here and here.

Also tonight, singer Erin Bode gives a free concert at St. Louis Place Park, with Bob Bennett's Swing 'n Soul as opening act.

On Friday, BAG II presents a free concert paying tribute to the late St. Louis saxophonist Maurice Malik King at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site. See this post for more details.

On Friday and Saturday, tenor saxophonist Red Holloway (pictured) performs at Jazz at the Bistro. Holloway's specialty is old-school bop & blues, and he's also got a nice touch with ballads, a satisfyingly greasy tone and a real sense of showmanship.

Other noteworthy shows this weekend: On Friday, Dizzy Atmosphere plays a free outdoor concert as part of the Webster Groves Gazebo Series, and bassist Tom Kennedy brings his trio to Brandt's. And on Saturday, singer Anita Rosamond returns to Finale Music and Dining, while Jeff Anderson and Positive Energy appear at Cookie's Jazz and More.

For a more extensive list of local jazz-related events, please see the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.

(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 11, 2007

The Cunninghams featured in this week's RFT

The jazz vocal duo of Don and Alicia Cunningham will be in St. Louis tomorrow night to perform a concert at the Sheldon, and I've got a brief story about them in this week's Riverfront Times, which you can read online here. (Scroll halfway down the page to see the start of the the article.)

More electric Miles shows online as free downloads

If you just can't enough of Miles Davis' late-1960s/early 1970s electric period, get on over to darkfunk.com, which currently offers a bunch of live recordings of Miles from that period available as free downloads, including a rare, if comparatively brief, collaboration between Davis and B.B. King.

Most of the currently available shows seem to be from European concerts (Paris, Berlin, Belgrade, etc), and while sound quality may be "variable" and there's not much documentation in terms of track names, personnel listings and so on, it seems unlikely that much of this stuff will ever turn up on official releases, so grab it while you can.

New "Gateway Grooves" column now online

The latest "Gateway Grooves" column from freelance jazz journalist/occasional StLJN co-conspirator Terry Perkins is now online at AllAboutJazz.com; read it here.

Bistro adds two shows next week

Jazz St. Louis has added two events to the previously announced summer schedule at Jazz at the Bistro.

Next Wednesday, July 18, the Bistro will present a free program of avant garde jazz tied into the the summer "Teaching Jazz As American Culture" institute going on this month at Washington University. Featured performers will include pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura from Japan, and bassist Tamaz Kurashvili and pianist Zurab Ramishvili from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Then on Thursday, July 19, the club will present "A Tribute to Mae Wheeler," featuring Wheeler, pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson and his trio, and special guests. Tickets are $10 and are available via Metrotix and at the door.

Monday, July 09, 2007

NPR story will celebrate
Mel Bay's 60th anniversary

This just in from the folks at St. Louis-based music publisher and jazz record label Mel Bay:

"National Public Radio is commemorating the 60th anniversary of Mel Bay Publications with a report on Mel Bay and the company he founded in 1947.

Scheduled to air Tuesday, July 10th on Morning Edition, the piece will feature an interview with company president William Bay. Popular guitarist and Mel Bay author Frank Vignola was also interviewed for the report."
Morning Edition airs in St. Louis from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on radio station KWMU, 90.7 FM.

UPDATE - 1:00 p.m., 7/11/07: NPR's Mel Bay story is now online here.

Guitarist Eddie Fisher passes away

Guitarist Eddie Fisher, a Centreville, IL resident whose albums The Third Cup and The Next One Hundred Years blended jazz, soul, blues, funk and a touch of psychedelia to earn a substantial cult following among jazz guitar fans, has died after a long bout with cancer.

A native of Little Rock AR, Fisher toured with Solomon Burke and served as Albert King’s bandleader before establishing his career as a solo artist. He also lived in Memphis for a time before moving to the St. Louis area and becoming part of the house band at the Blue Note Club in East St. Louis. His first two records were released by Chicago’s Cadet label, a subsidiary of Chess, and a third, Hot Lunch, came out on the All Platinum label.

Fisher then started his own imprint, Nentu Records, and over the years released three more CDs: Fisher, The Promise, and 42nd Street. In addition, in 1994 he and his wife Christina began operating a video production business and theater in Centreville. Fisher had not performed much in recent years, presumably due to his health problems, but did manage to make a couple of non-playing public appearances when The Next One Hundred Years was reissued on CD last year. Fisher was voted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2004. You can read an interview with Fisher from 2001 here, and Terry Perkins did a very nice feature story on Fisher for the Riverfront Times in 2002, available online here.

No word yet as to funeral arrangements, but StLJN will have updates as more information become available.

Living St. Louis profiles Jeanne Trevor

Singer Jeanne Trevor, a St. Louis favorite since the Gaslight Square era, was recently profiled by local PBS affiliate KETC's magazine show Living St. Louis, and the segment is now available as streaming video online here. (The link is to a .wmv file; if it won't play, go here, scroll down to Trevor's name and then click.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Notes from the Net: Miles profiled,
Lake interviewed, Childers remembered

(Editor's note: With this post, StLJN reintroduces our occasional compendium of short news items related to St. Louis jazz and/or St. Louis jazz musicians, now in a new & improved bullet-point format.)

* Miles Davis was recently the subject of one of NPR's "Jazz Profiles". Also, four Davis tracks are getting a contemporary remix treatment for Evolution of the Groove, an EP scheduled for release next month. And AllAboutJazz.com offers reviews of three new Miles-related projects from bassist Ron Carter, saxophonist Dave Liebman and trombonist Conrad Herwig here.

* Radio personality Leroy "The Jazzcat" Downs recently interviewed saxophonist Oliver Lake (pictured); you can listen to the conversation here.

- The late trumpeter and St. Louis native Marion "Buddy" Childers, who passed away in May, is remembered by AAJ big band columnist Jack Bowers here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

StLJN Saturday at the Movies:
Red Holloway's got the "Cleanhead Blues",
plus Clark Terry's "In A Mellowtone"

This week's videos feature a couple of jazz elders who are still active and proving the enduring value of two of the music's fundamental components, swing and the blues.

The first clip features tenor saxophonist Red Holloway, who will be performing at Jazz at the Bistro on Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14. The footage is from 1995, and the song is "Cleanhead Blues," a number originated by the late singer and saxophonist Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson that has subsequently become something of an anthem for follicly impaired men everywhere.

Down below, we showcase another venerable jazzman, St. Louis' own Clark Terry in a swinging version of the Duke Ellington standard "In A Mellowtone", a song that he no doubt has played many times, both while in and out of the Duke's employ.

(Edited 7/11/07 to fix a typo.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jazz this week: Greg Osby, a tribute to
John Norment, Erin Bode and more

There's only time for a short post this week, but there are a few performances definitely worth noting, starting with saxophonist Greg Osby (pictured), a St. Louis native who returns home this weekend to play Friday and Saturday night at Jazz at the Bistro. A prolific composer and bandleader, Osby is always challenging himself and his audience with new material and different ensemble configurations. The quartet is one of his more frequent performing formats, but according to this interview Osby did with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson, he'll have a new piano player and some new compositions to show off this weekend.

Osby is also a Net-savvy individual who's been known to engage fans at length on various message boards and whose Web site contains lots of free music for download in MP3 format. If you're not already familiar with this fine musician, go here to sample some of his work, and then get down to the Bistro to check him out in person.

Also worth noting this weekend is the appearance of singer Erin Bode at Finale Music and Dining for a comparatively rare two-night engagement on Friday and Saturday. No doubt Bode's considerable local fan base will want to avail themselves of the chance to hear her in a showcase club setting, so if you're interested in going, advance reservations are definitely in order.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bistro will host a jazz brunch featuring the Jerome "Scrooge" Harris Quartet in a tribute to the late St. Louis saxophonist John Norment. Proceeds from the event go to benefit Harris' not-for-profit educational institute for young musicians, and they'll also be selling a new CD featuring Harris' renditions of some of Norment's music. For more details, see this post.

Other noteworthy gigs this weekend include perennial local favorite Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum at Brandt's this evening; the Vegas-style jazz of Wild Cool & Swingin' at Cookie's Jazz and More on Saturday; and singer Mae Wheeler at Brandt's for a late afternoon/early evening gig on Sunday.

That's about it for this week, but remember, you always can find a more extensive listing of local jazz-related events by visiting the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.

(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 04, 2007

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

Posting here will be light for another day or so, due to the holiday and assorted other concerns, but if you're looking for a few minutes of music-related diversion, please visit StLJN's sibling site, the music video blog Heliocentric Worlds.

There you'll find video clips featuring Tony Williams' All-Star Quintet, the Average White Band, Al Kooper, the J Geils Band, Otis Redding, Roy Ayers, the Allman Brothers Band, Mikel Rouse, Joe Henderson, Parliament/Funkadelic, Traffic, Jack DeJohnette, Deodato, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jeff Beck with Jan Hammer & Steve Lukather, Diamanda Galas, Bassdrumbone, and J.J. Johnson, Sonny Stitt and Howard McGhee, plus many more.

See them all, plus dozens more videos of jazz, blues, soul, classic rock, prog rock and assorted other cool stuff, at Heliocentric Worlds.

Monday, July 02, 2007

BAG II to pay tribute to
Maurice Malik King on July 13

This just in from the Black Arts Guild aka BAG II:

"On Friday, July 13th from 7 – 9 p.m., Shirley LeFlore, Zimbabwe Nkenya and a line-up of special guests will pay tribute to St. Louis saxophonist Maurice Malik King in the historic Rosebud Café at Scott Joplin House.

Malik was an inspiration to countless musicians, poets and dancers. During his lifetime he influenced and shaped much of the creative music played in St. Louis during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Born and raised in St. Louis, Malik’s career spanned decades and included stints in Los Angeles and New York where he studied under Albert Ayler before returning to the midwest in 1972. He was a member of Shirley LeFlore’s ensemble Free N’ Concert; and served as music director of the Creative Arts & Expression Lab, the African People’s Continuum and the Black Arts Alliance. His one release, Time and Condition, which featured his Emerging Forces Art Trio (Maurice Malik King, saxophone; Zimbabwe Nkenya, bass; and Qalyim Shabazz, percussion) was released in 1982."
Admission to the event is free. For more information, email BAG at
bag_blackartistsgroup @ yahoo.com

Jazz St. Louis' Web site gets a new look

Jazz St. Louis has unveiled a redesign of their Web site. In addition to the expected cosmetic makeover, site navigation seems improved (to this observer, anyway) and the organization's list of coming attractions is now prominently displayed on the home page. Marketing director Adam Roach, who manages JSL's online efforts, says he'll be adding more features and content soon.

It looks like the new design will allow the various JSL staff members to create their own on-site blogs, which could make for some interesting reading. (JSL's old Blogspot blog hasn't been updated since November 2006.) There's also a user registration feature, which allows registered users post to the site's message board.