Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Notes from the Net: More on WSQ and M'Boom; Metheny's Orchestrion released; plus news, reviews, interviews, and more

Here's the latest 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:

* In the latest Miles Davis-related news, Lucid Jazz Lounge in Seattle just put on a multi-show tribute to Miles and the different eras of his career featuring trumpeters Owuor Arunga, Scott Morning, Ahamefule J. Oluo and Jason Parker. Meanwhile, over at the blog Miles Davis Online, the tireless Milesophile Jeff Hyatt has new musings about the proposed feature film biography of the trumpeter and word of a possible HBO documentary as well.

*Before a recent gig in Pittsburgh, saxophonist David Sanborn talked to Rick Howlin of the Post-Gazette about his new CD, Only Everything.

* The World Saxophone Quartet, featuring former St. Louisan Oliver Lake on alto sax and the East Side's Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax, recently renewed their collaboration with the percussion ensemble M'Boom for a series of shows at NYC's Birdland. Here are impressions of the gig from Howard Mandel and Amiri Baraka.

* AllAboutJazz.com recently published an extended interview of saxophonist and St. Louis native Greg Osby by Lloyd Peterson, excerpted from Peterson's book Music and the Creative Spirit. Osby's remarks are a few years old - the book was published in 2006 - but still make an interesting read.

* Here's a review of saxophonist Chris Cheek's latest CD Rollo-Coaster from Mark F. Turner of AllAboutJazz.com. The release pairs Webster University grad Cheek with the Spanish-born, Berklee-educated accordionist Victor Prieto.

* Turning to news of recent visitors, one evening of The Bad Plus' recent stand at Jazz at the Bistro was reviewed here by Patrick Shamel of JamBase.

* A bit of serendipitous Googling turned up this dialogue about "Improvising Digital Culture" between pianist Vijay Iyer, who also played the Bistro last month, and Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky). The conversation, published by the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation, is available as both text and streaming audio.

* The winners in the jazz categories at Sunday night's Grammy Awards included some names familiar to St. Louis listeners, most notably vocalist Kurt Elling, who performed at the Bistro in December and nabbed the "Best Jazz Vocal Album" Grammy for his CD Dedicated to You. It's Elling's first Grammy after being nominated nine times, and to celebrate the occasion, the Indiana Public Radio station WFIU just reposted an interview from last fall with Elling about the project.

Trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who's played in St. Louis at both the Bistro and the Sheldon Concert Hall, took home the "Best Improvised Jazz Solo" award for “Dancin' 4 Chicken” from Jeff “Tain” Watts' album Watts. And saxophonist Kenny Garrett, who fronted his own group at the Bistro in October, shared in the award for "Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group" for the live album from the Five Peace Band, led by pianist Chick Corea and guitarist John McLaughlin.

Other jazz Grammy winners were Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate, "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" for 75; the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album" for Book One; and Bebo Valdés and Chucho Valdés, "Best Latin Jazz Album" for Juntos Para Siempre.

Update after posting: As first mentioned here earlier, St. Louis native Clark Terry received a Lifetime Achievement Award in conjunction with this year's Grammy ceremony; you can see Terry's acceptance speech from Saturday's non-televised awards event in the embedded video window below.

* Opening the "coming attractions" file, guitarist Jeff Beck will release a new CD on April 13 before heading out on a tour that will bring him to St. Louis' Fox Theatre on April 29. Emotion and Commotion will feature a mix of original songs and covers of tunes such as Jeff Buckley’s “Corpus Christi Carol,” “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You,” with Joss Stone on vocals. Beck also teams up with a 64-piece orchestra for a few tracks, including Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5”, The Atonement score’s “Elegy for Dunkirk” and Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.”

* Meanwhile, the release of guitarist Pat Metheny's new solo CD Orchestrion has incited a flurry of press coverage, including reviews of the recording from the Associated Press' Charles J. Gans, Jeff Giles of Popdose, Richard Gehr of the Village Voice, and Andy Gill for the UK's Indepdendent.

For even more on Orchestrion, here's a feature interview of Metheny (pictured) by the New York Times' Nate Chinen, a follow-up blog post from Chinen, and another story about the project from Wired magazine. The Orchestrion tour comes to the Touhill Performing Arts Center on May 8.

* Over at the JazzWax blog, proprietor Marc Myers is doing another of his extended interviews with jazz greats, chatting this time with pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who will return to St. Louis in October for the American Arts Experience-St. Louis festival. Read part one of the interview here, and part two here.

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