Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jazz this week: A jazz tribute to Woodstock; music at the St. Louis Art Fair; a new book about the St. Louis blues; and more

While this weekend in St. Louis offers no shows featuring big name jazz musicians - think of it as a chance to save up a bit for next weekend's concerts by Sonny Rollins, Trio 3 and/or Chris Botti - there are still some jazz-related events over the next few days that may merit your attention. Here's a look at some highlights:

Tonight, the fall series of free weekly Jazz at Holmes concerts at Washington University begins with guitarist William Lenihan leading "a jazz tribute to Woodstock" outdoors on the Brookings Quadrangle.

Presumably, it's not a concert featuring jazz versions of songs that were played at Woodstock and/or written by musicians who performed there, or they would have just described it as such. (You can read Wash U's rather uninformative blurb on the show, and my initial reaction to it, here. ) Still, with a lineup of very capable musicians including Lenihan, Jason Swagler (who's listed in the show's promotional email as playing guitar, rather than his more usual alto sax), pianist Ptah Williams, drummer Kyle Hunnicutt, percussionist Henry Claude, and bassist Zeb Briskovich, there's certainly plenty of potential for some good music, even if the concept is a bit vague.

On Friday, St. Louis artist and writer Kevin Belford will be at Mad Art Gallery, signing copies of his new book Devil at the Confluence: The Pre-War Blues Music of St. Louis and showing his original paintings of St. Louis blues musicians that illustrate the tome. The free event also will include a performance from singer/guitarist Tom Hall, vintage film footage of St. Louis blues legends, and a spin of the book's companion CD. .

Friday night is also the beginning of the official "grand opening" weekend for Robbie's House of Jazz, which is located in the old Cookie's Jazz and More space at 20 Allen Ave. in Webster Groves. The featured performers this weekend will be the 16-piece Robert Edwards Big Band, which delves into a variety of big band jazz styles and includes trombonist Lamar Harris and pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson among its members. (For more about Robbie's, see this previous post. I've also got a new post about the club scheduled to go online today at the Riverfront Times music blog, A to Z; when it goes live, I'll post a link here.)

The annual St. Louis Art Fair also gets underway on Friday, but there's not much music of interest to jazz fans until Saturday, when the event will feature performances from the Funky Butt Brass Band and the Sheldon Jazz Quintet, comprised of Rick Haydon (guitar), Mardra Thomas (vocals), Reggie Thomas (piano), Miles Vandiver (drums) and Zeb Briskovich (bass).

Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford's band the Blues Inquisition also will perform on Saturday, and Sunday's musicians of interest include pianist Monika Herzig's group, and trumpeter/vocalist Dawn Weber (pictured) and her band Electro Funk Assembly.

On Sunday, there will be a benefit performance for singer Elaine Donahue from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups, 700 S. Broadway. Performers will include Willie Akins, Marty Abdullah and members of the Soulard Blues Band, Denise Thimes, Skeet Rogers, the Bosman Twins, Mae Wheeler, Jeanne Trevor, Roland Johnson, Wendy Gordon, Marsha Evans, Eugene Johnson, Renee Smith and more. All proceeds will go to medical and living expenses for Donahue, who has been fighting cancer and has been unable to work as a singer or at her day job in the treasurer’s office for the city of East St. Louis. In addition to leading her own group, Donahue has worked with Akins, pianist Ed Nicholson’s trio, and many others.

For more jazz and creative music events this weekend and beyond, check the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, available for viewing on the left sidebar or by clicking here.

(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.)

(Edited 9/10/09 to fix problems with tags & add additional tags. Edited again on 9/11/09 to restore a paragraph accidentally dropped during the editing process.)

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