Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Jazz this week: Pat Metheny, Jazz St. Louis All-Stars, Denise Thimes with Rickey Woodard, and more

Though fall-to-spring academic and not-for-profit presenting schedules are winding down, and summer won't be here for a few weeks yet, there are still some noteworthy shows coming up over the next few days in St. Louis for fans of jazz and creative music.

The big news of the week is guitarist Pat Metheny's Orchestrion tour, which finally reaches St. Louis on Saturday night at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

If you're a regular reader, you know that StLJN has been somewhat fascinated with the whole "world-class-guitarist-ditches-real-musicians-for-robots" aspect of the project, and has been following Orchestrion-related developments for several months now; to catch up, you can review that previous coverage here.

For more about the tech behind the Orchestrion project, see this video post from last Saturday. As for what it sounds like, suffice it to say that Metheny (pictured) and his backup band of computer-controlled, robotically-actuated musical instruments provide a truly singular musical experience, yet one that's still recognizably Methenyesque.

On Friday and Saturday night, the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars will perform at Jazz at the Bistro. The All-Stars are a select group of young musicians of high school age, drawn from Jazz St. Louis' various education programs. They're taught by keyboardist Reggie Thomas, guitarist Rick Haydon, and other visiting jazz players and clinicians, and get a variety of performance opportunities throughout the year, including an annual weekend at the Bistro.

Though the individual musicians change year-to-year as graduates are replaced by new players, every edition of the group I've heard was quite accomplished for their relatively tender years. So, if you're the sort of person who likes to check out the possible "stars of tomorrow, today," as the saying goes, you can proceed with confidence that it definitely should be a listenable musical experience, and possibly even something more.

On Sunday, singer Denise Thimes will do her annual Mothers Day show at the Sheldon Concert Hall. In recent years, Thimes has featured a guest star or two from out of town along with her band of St. Louis musicians; this year, it's tenor saxophonist Rickey Woodard, a Nashville native known for his work with Ray Charles and the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra.

UPDATE: The Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson has an interview with Thimes about the Mother's Day show here.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night bassist David Certain, who's played with trumpeter Eddie Henderson, saxophonist Gary Bartz and other name-brand jazz performers, leads his CertainBeat WorldBop quartet at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. This time out, Certain will be joined by drummer Stan Hale, trumpeter Rob Endicott and saxophonist James Warfield Jr.

(Full disclosure: Yr. humble StLJN editor knows, and, at one time or another, has played music with, all four of these guys. Please don't hold it against them, they're actually all quite good.)

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 clicking the "Like" icon on 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.)


Anonymous said...

As the Director of LEMUR, the group that created most of the robotic musical instruments for Pat Metheny's Orchestrion, I'm very excited to be a part of this project. To see video and more of LEMUR's musical robots and the music we create with them, see -- Eric Singer

Dean Minderman said...

Thanks for stopping by, Eric. Nice job on the Orchestrion project, and I've enjoyed seeing the videos of some of your other work, too.