Sunday, April 26, 2009

Notes from the Net: Miles Davis reissued on vinyl, Duke Ellington Day in NYC, plus news, reviews, interviews, and more

Here's this week's compilation of assorted news briefs 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:

* Four classic Miles Davis albums - Sketches Of Spain, In A Silent Way, Nefertiti, and Bitches Brew - have been newly reissued on 180 gram vinyl LPs. (And on a related note, via, here's an interesting piece from the Los Angeles Times about the continuing demand for music on vinyl.)

In other Miles-related news, composer/pianist Robert Irving III will present the world premiere of "Sketches of Brazil," an orchestral homage to his mentors Davis and Gil Evans, in August at Chicago's Millennium Park. The piece will feature trumpeter Wallace Roney, guitarist Toninho Horta and percussionist Dede Sampaio, and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the recording of Sketches of Spain, which was arranged by Evans. Irving recorded and performed with Davis during the trumpeter's comeback in the early 1980s.

* Saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake has a new CD with the group Trio 3, which also includes bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille. Berne Concert features a guest appearance by pianist Irene Schweitzer, and gets a rave here from reviewer John Sharpe for "Almost without anyone noticing, Trio 3 has become one of the great working bands in jazz...Trio 3 is sure to find new fans with Berne Concert: not a single track on this outstanding disc is less than stellar."

* Turning to news of coming attractions, saxophonist Kirk Whalum will join forces with pianist Cyrus Chestnut and students from the Stax Music Academy for "SOULed on Jazz!" on May 9 at the Germantown Performing Arts Center in Memphis. Whalum is artist-in-residence at the Stax academy, and he'll be in St. Louis twice this summer - in June to perform with his uncle, Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum, at the History Museum, and in July with saxophonist Gerald Albright when their "Sax for Stax" tour comes to Ameristar Casino St. Charles' Bottleneck Blues Bar.

* Next up, we've got a bunch of links related to recent visitors to St. Louis, starting with another review of trumpeter Sean Jones' new CD The Search Within, penned for by the writer pseudonymously known as "The Big Geez": "Sean Jones has followed a successful recipe for his fifth album...Solid compositions in a collection that skillfully blends his own outstanding play with that of his talented cohorts — a winning combination." Jones played in St. Louis at Jazz at the Bistro the week before last.

* Jam/funk organ trio Medeski Martin & Wood, who were in St. Louis the same weekend as Jones to play the Loyal Earth Festival, have a new CD called Radiolarians II. It's reviewed here by Doug Collette for - "Notwithstanding the noir ambience of the closing cut, a piano jazz trio reading of "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," Radiolarians II assaults more than it insinuates" - and here by Bryan Castleberry for JamsBio: "Yes, this is Medeski, Martin & Wood, baffling the listener with their inimitable skill at melding genres and making it all sound so perfectly cool you expect Samuel L. Jackson to speak through your ear buds." Keyboardist John Medeski also has a new CD with trumpeter Steven Bernstein's band Sex Mob.

* Singer Rachael Price, who played the Sheldon Concert Hall in March, was interviewed here before a recent gig in Lodi, CA.

* The Bad Plus, the first musicians to play the Bistro in 2009, and singer Wendy Lewis, who's featured on their new CD For All I Care, were back home in the Twin Cities this past weekend. They also recently did an interview and brief performance for National Public Radio, available via online stream here.

* Pianist Dave Brubeck has had to cancel several more concert appearances while he recovers from a recent viral infection. Brubeck, who is 88, is under a doctor’s orders to not travel until the end of May, but is expected to resume touring following his recovery. Brubeck played the Sheldon last fall.

* Last but not least, by decree of the mayor, this Wednesday, April 29, is Duke Ellington Day in New York City. The event celebrates the 110th anniversary of the birth of Ellington (pictured), and will include speeches by his grandchildren and a special run of the last surviving 1939 'A' Train. At 10:00 a.m. that day, Duke's grandson Paul Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra will perform their signature song "Take The A Train" on the mezzanine at 125th Street and St. Nicholas, and then board and perform on the historic train as it travels out on regular service. The Ellington Orchestra appeared in St. Louis earlier this year at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

(Edited 4/27/09 to add tags.)

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