Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jazz this week: A benefit for Zimbabwe Nkenya; Brian Owens; Erin Bode; Larry Brown, Jr.; and more

There's a brief respite from major touring jazz acts this week in St. Louis, but there are still a number of events over the next few days with potential appeal for fans of jazz and creative music.

On Thursday, Washington University's Jazz at Holmes series continues with a free concert from pianist Ptah Williams and his trio. Also on Thursday, singer Erin Bode and her band will return to the events room at Cyrano's in Webster Groves.

On Friday and Saturday, singer Brian Owens returns to Jazz at the Bistro. This time out, Owens will perform the music of former St. Louisan Donny Hathaway with a band that includes Mark Colenburg (drums), Jesse Gannon (piano) and Alvin Quinn (bass).

Meanwhile, back in Webster Groves, Robbie's House of Jazz will feature the R&B/soul/funk cover band Mystic Voyage on Friday and jazz from guitarist Larry Brown Jr.'s group on Saturday. Another former student of the jazz program at SIUE, Brown will serve up "swing, soul and the blues" with help from pianist Stuart Mindeman, bassist Nick Jost, drummer Alfonzo Jones and trumpeter Quentin Coaxum.

Also on Saturday, New Music Circle is presenting a concert to benefit bassist and composer Zimbabwe Nkenya (pictured) at the Kranzberg Arts Center. All proceeds from the show will go to Nkenya, who had a stroke last fall and has been unable to perform since.

Friends and musical colleagues donating their time and talents for the show include NMC's Jim Hegarty, Fred Tompkins and Deb Summers; drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw and trumpeter George Sams; Dave Cheli's Tribal Chicken; the percussion group HaZMaT, with Tom Zirkle and Matt Henry; trumpeter and percussionist "Baba" Mike Nelson; and poets Curtis Lyle and Michael Castro.

Nkenya has been a tireless force on the local improvised music scene since moving back to the St. Louis area in 2006. Here's hoping for a good turnout (and a full cash box) on Saturday, and a speedy and complete recovery for Nkenya.

For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or by becoming a "fan" of the StLJN Facebook page.

(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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