Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ronnie Laws, The Cunninghams
coming to The Sheldon this summer

The Sheldon Concert Hall has added a couple of jazz shows to its summer schedule:

* Saxophonist Ronnie Laws (pictured at left) and singer Dee Brown will perform at the Sheldon on Wednesday, June 17 in a concert commemorating the 25th anniversary of the National Black MBA Association - St. Louis Chapter. Laws, a native of Houston, TX and the brother of flute player Hubert Laws, is perhaps known for his hit song "Always There" and has been performing recently in the group 3BT with fellow tenor men Wilton Felder (formerly of the Crusaders) and Gary Davis. He's touring solo this summer in support of his new CD Voices in the Water.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the STL-BMBAA's scholarship fund, which provides scholarships to high school, undergraduate and MBA students. VIP tickets, which are $125 and include a meet-and-greet with the artists, "deluxe hors' d'oeuvres" and a souvenir gift, can be purchased online at www.stlbmbaa.org or by calling 636-230-2404. Regular tickets are $65 and $50, and can be purchased through Metrotix.

* The husband-and-wife team The Cunninghams (pictured below) will be returning to St. Louis to perform on Sunday, July 12. Don Cunningham, a percussionist, saxophonist and singer, is a St. Louis native who started his music career here during the Gaslight Square era before going on the road with singer Johnny Mathis and subsequently relocating to the West Coast.

Nearly 40 years after its original release, Cunningham's locally produced album Something For Everyone, recorded live at the Playboy Club in St. Louis, became a favorite of acid-jazz DJs and crate-diggers around the world, eventually leading to its re-release on CD by Ubiquity Records. More recently, working as a duo with his wife Alicia, a classically trained singer and pianist, Cunningham has toured extensively throughout North America and Asia, headlining shows and appearing as special guests with the Count Basie Orchestra.

I had a chance to interview Don and Alicia Cunningham a couple of years ago before a previous show at The Sheldon, and they were most generous with their time and full of interesting stories about their travels, famous folks they've known, and, in Don's case, the Gaslight Square scene here in St. Louis. At that time, they said they planned to curtail their touring schedule somewhat, wanting to spend more time at their home in Las Vegas after a couple of decades of constant travel. It's good to see them making an exception to return to St. Louis. Tickets for The Cunninghams' "Coming Home One Mo' Time" show are $25 for general admission and are available via Metrotix.

(Edited 5/6/09 to fix a typo.)

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