Friday, March 06, 2009

Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival set for April 16-18 with guests Peter Erskine, Lou Marini, John Pizzarelli, and Jon Faddis

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has announced its 2009 guest artists, and organizers have booked some well-known musicians this year to serve as clinicians and performers for the three-day event, which will run from Thursday, April 16 through Saturday, April 18.

While some details are yet to be announced, here's what's been revealed so far: On Friday, April 17, drummer Peter Erskine and saxophonist Lou Marini will be the featured performers in a concert at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. Then on Saturday, April 18, trumpeter Jon Faddis (pictured) and guitarist John Pizzarelli and his quartet will play the TouPAC. Tickets for both concerts are now on sale.

(As regular readers may recall, word of Pizzarelli's appearance leaked out a few months ago via Pollstar, at which time yr. humble editor speculated that the gig in question might indeed be part of the festival. Admittedly, as predictions go, it's not particularly startling, but, hey, it's always nice to get one right.)

Pizzarelli is a favorite of St. Louis audiences, having performed here in the past at both Jazz at the Bistro and the Sheldon Concert Hall. Erskine is known for a diverse career that encompasses early big band work with Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson; tours and recordings with the jazz-fusion ensembles Weather Report and Steps Ahead, and many other significant credits as both leader and sideman.

Marini is familiar to many music fans as part of both the Blues Brothers band and Blood, Sweat and Tears, but also has been a busy session player in New York for many years. Faddis, once a teenage protege of Dizzy Gillespie, is known as both a powerful lead trumpet player - for groups including his own big band and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra - and a daring soloist, and is actively involved in jazz education.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis jazz ensemble, directed by bassist (and festival head honcho) Jim Widner, also will perform at both concerts. The fest's publicist, Dawn DeBlaze, says that a news release with full details on all three days will drop soon, and when it does, we'll have the updated information for you right here.

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