Sunday, March 08, 2009

Notes from the Net: Oliver Lake reviewed, Peter Erskine interviewed, John Zorn goes west, and more

A day late but otherwise none the worse for the wear, here's our weekly compilation of news and links related to jazz, improvisation, and creative music in St. Louis, including news of musicians originally from the Gateway City, recent visitors, and coming attractions, plus assorted other items of interest:

* Miles Davis' landmark album Kind of Blue officially turned 50 years old this past week, and the jazz blogs Straight No Chaser and Rifftides both had noteworthy commemorative posts. Also, here's a review of Scottish trumpeter Colin Steele's Kind of Blue tribute show, mentioned a couple of weeks ago in this space.

* Speaking of reviews, via, here's a report on saxophonist Oliver Lake's recent organ trio concert at Twins in Washington D.C., and, via, a review of Berne Concert, a new CD on Intakt Records for which Trio 3, which includes the former St. Louisan Lake (pictured), Andrew Cyrille on drums and bassist Reggie Workman, joined forces with pianist Irene Schweizer.

* And speaking of alto saxophonists with a St. Louis connection, SF Weekly had a nice feature on John Zorn's recent West Coast stand at Yoshi's. (Zorn studied here at Webster University before moving to NYC.)

* Following up on some items about recent visitors to St. Louis, here are a couple of reviews of the recent Thelonious Monk Town Hall tribute concert last week in NYC from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The concert featured ensembles led by Jason Moran (who was here last fall at the History Museum) and Charles Tolliver offering distinctly different takes on Monk's music.

* Here's a review of the Blue Note 7's album Mosaic. The group performed selections from the CD last month at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

* The Smithsonian magazine has an interesting interview with another recent visitor to the Sheldon, New Orleans singer and pianist Dr. John

* Here's the New York Times review of Bela Fleck's new Africa Project CD; the related tour comes to the Sheldon on April 1.

* There's also news of a couple of the guest artists scheduled to appear at the upcoming Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival in April. Drummer Peter Erskine recently appeared with DJ and blogger Leroy "The JazzCat" Downs on his radio program "Live With The JazzCat," and an MP3 of their conversation is archived online here. Meanwhile, trumpeter Jon Faddis will lead the the Chicago Jazz Ensemble in "The Art of the Composer: Music by William Russo and Frank Foster" featuring special guest Von Freeman on Friday, March 20 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago.

* Last but not least, jazz journalist Howard Mandel laments that the economic stimulus money going to the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the bill that recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama will be distributed only to previous recipients of NEA grants. Mandel notes that while this will help preserve existing arts institutions at a time when income from other funding sources is down - a worthy goal, to be sure - it won't necessarily help stimulate much new activity.

(Edited 3/11/09 to add more tags.)

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