Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nu-Art Series announces spring concerts

The Nu-Art Series has announced a schedule of spring Saturday matinee concerts beginning on April 2 and continuing until May 14 at the Metropolitan Gallery, 2936 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.

The concerts, put together by Nu-Art's George Sams, will feature a mix of St. Louis musicians and returning expats, plus a couple of Sams' musical colleagues from when he lived in the San Francisco area. As with last year's spring series, the theme is "Re-Arrangements and Nu-Compositions," and each performer will offer his or her interpretation of the work of a well-known musician.

Singer Felicia Ezell, who last year performed a program of songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald for Nu-Art, will get it started on Saturday, April 2 performing "Favorites of Dionne Warwick" with accompaniment from pianist Brock Walker.

Next up, St. Louis native Marlin Bonds, now based in New York, comes home to play the music of Herbie Hancock on Saturday, April 9. Bonds began his musical career as a trumpet player, but lately has been working as a producer and arranger with hip-hop performers such as Twista, Bow Wow, and Swizzbeats. Sams says Bonds will pick up his horn again for this concert, with pianist Adam Maness, drummer Marc Colenburg and bassist Nick Jost serving as the rhythm section.

And speaking of picking a trumpet again, Sams will get his own horn out for the concert on Saturday, April 23, re-teaming with saxophonist Lewis Jordan (pictured at top left) in a new edition of their group The Sound Clinic to perform music by Ornette Coleman. Sams and Jordan, who lives in the Bay Area, will be joined by Chicago bassist Yosef Ben Israel and St. Louisan Charles "Bobo" Shaw on drums.

After a week's respite, the series will feature another visitor from the Bay Area, as keyboardist Rudi Mwongozi (pictured at left) plays a program of music by Duke Ellington on Saturday, May 7. Mwongozi, who's from Oakland and leads a jazz/R&B/reggae group called SONWA (Sound Of New World Afrikah) , will play with Sams, Shaw, bassist Claude Montgomery and alto saxophonist Kendrick Smith.

The spring series wraps up on Saturday May 14 with another St. Louis native, guitarist Marvin Horne, playing the music of Grant Green. Horne, now based in NYC, will be backed by Brock Walker, Nick Jost and Charles "Bobo" Shaw.

Doors open at 2 p.m. for all concerts, with music from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission.

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