Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jazz this week: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, Sean Jones, John Jorgenson, Medeski Martin and Wood, FLOW, Dixie Daredevils, Stan Hale, and more

It's the busiest week so far this year for jazz and creative music performances in St. Louis, with a number of touring artists in town and a schedule of shows representing a wide variety of styles, from traditional jazz and big band to straight-ahead modern jazz to free improv, intermedia and more.

Let's go the highlights in chronological order, starting with this evening, when the acclaimed young trumpeter Sean Jones opens a four-night stand continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Jones is considered by many to be a rising star among jazz trumpeters, and this weekend marks his St. Louis debut as a bandleader. For more on Jones and some video samples of his playing, see this post.

On Thursday, singer and pianist Anita Rosamond is doing a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, backed by a group featuring keyboardist Nathan Jatcko, bassist Bob DeBoo, and drummer Jerry Mazucca. That same evening, the Detroit-based free improv duo of saxophonist Wally Shoup and percussionist Ben Hall will perform at Open Lot, 1310 S. 18th St, with opening sets from Dave Stone & Danny McClain and Brain Transplant.

On Friday, the public performance portion of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival kicks off with a concert featuring guest artists Peter Erskine on drums and Lou Marini (pictured) on saxophone with the University of Missouri - St. Louis Jazz Ensemble at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. For some background on Erskine and some video samples of his playing, see this post. Also on Friday, the NYC-based saxophonist Kim Bock and his jazz organ trio FLOW will take the stage at The Gramophone.

Saturday brings some free educational opportunities for aspiring musicians during the morning and afternoon, with Erskine and trumpeter Jon Faddis each presenting free master classes at the Touhill while Bock and FLOW will be giving a free workshop and performance at Saxquest.

On Saturday night, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival continues with a concert featuring Faddis, singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli and the UMSL Jazz Ensemble at the Touhill. For more about Faddis and some video samples of his playing, see this post.

Also on Saturday, guitarist John Jorgenson brings his Django Reinhardt-inspired quintet to the Sheldon Concert Hall. For some background on Jorgenson and a video sample of his playing, check out this post from when he was last in St. Louis in September 2007.

That same evening, New Music Circle will present a program at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium featuring videos created by Van McElwee, Roy Zurick and others with live musical accompaniment by S.A.N.E. (Semi-Acoustic Noise Ensemble), percussionist Rich O'Donnell, and friends

Sunday is another busy day, as the St. Louis Jazz Club presents a performance by the Peoria, IL-based traditional jazz band Dixie Daredevils at Bel Air Bowl in Belleville, and St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers ends its spring 2009 series with a free concert featuring guitarist Steve Schenkel and singer Ashley Mason at the Second Baptist Church.

Also on Sunday, veteran drummer Stan Hale is having a CD release event at the Jazz Spot to promote The Stan Hale Experience, his debut jazz recording as a leader. Hale's band for the show will feature Jeff Anderson on tenor sax, Tony Simmons on keyboards, Henry Taylor on guitar, and Jamal Nichols on bass, with vocals by Ralph Butler and Virginia Williams, and the $10 admission price includes a copy of the CD. (Full disclosure: Hale is a musical associate of yr. humble editor, and there's a possibility I may end up playing some intermission piano at this gig.)

Last, but not least, Sunday also is the pick day for jazz fans at this weekend's jam-band-oriented Loyal Earth Festival, with performances scheduled during the evening by the groovalicious organ trio Medeski Martin and Wood and pan-stylistic Chicago guitarist Fareed Haque of Garaj Mahal fame.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band is back at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups, and on Tuesday, the ambient music duo Mountains will perform at Open Lot, while the David Wiatrolik Trio is set to perform at The Gramophone.

With so much going on, these are just some of the noteworthy shows happening around St. Louis over the next few days. To see more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, 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.)

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