Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jazz this week: Anat Cohen, Cory Pesaturo, Funky Butt Brass Band, and more

Although there actually won't be any jazz at St. Louis' official Mardi Gras celebration this weekend - something yr. humble editor has ranted about in this space before - there are a fair number of jazz shows happening around town over the next few days, if you know where to find them. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen (pictured) and her quartet will open a four-night engagement that continues through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Considered a rising star and already the winner of several "best clarinetist" awards in various jazz polls, Cohen played the Bistro a couple of years ago as a member of Waverly Seven, but this will be her debut as a leader at the club. Given her wide-ranging musical interests, Cohen's sets this weekend could include traditional, modern and/or Latin jazz; Brazilian music; klezmer; classical music; or a bit of all of those, and more. For more about Anat Cohen and some video samples of her in action, see this post from last Saturday.

On Friday, jazz accordionist Cory Pesaturo will be in town to play two sets at Cyrano's in Webster Groves, a spot probably best known to local music fans as the site of occasional gigs by Erin Bode. Pesaturo is a 24-year-old graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music who's played with saxophonist George Garzone and his band The Fringe. To hear what Pesaturo can do with the squeezebox in a modern jazz context, check out the video clip at this link.

Also on Friday, percussionist "Baba" Mike Nelson and Rhythms of the Caribbean will perform at Robbie's House of Jazz; saxophonist Tim Cunningham returns to Jazz on Broadway; pianist Carolbeth True and guitarist Randy Bahr will play at Third Degree Glass Factory's free "Third Friday" event; and it's also the night of the opening reception for "The Beat Goes On: Instruments from the Hartenberger World Music Collection," and other new exhibits at the Sheldon Art Galleries.

On Saturday, guitarist Tom Byrne and singer Ralph Butler will bring their Pat Metheny tribute project Have U Heard to the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, and "Rat Pack and More" singer Dean Christopher will perform at Frontenac Grill, accompanied by Carolbeth True on piano and Dave Troncoso on bass.

As alluded to at the beginning of this story, Saturday also is parade day for the St. Louis Mardi Gras celebration. But if you head down to the parade route or to the Soulard neighborhood expecting to hear jazz or Louisiana-style music, you may end up disappointed, as the music for the official Mardi Gras events in recent years has tended toward DJs and rock cover bands. The best bet for some thematically appropriate post-parade sounds this year would seem to be the gig featuring the Funky Butt Brass Band and Gumbohead at the Old Rock House, which gets started at 5:00 p.m.

On Sunday, the St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers series will present a free concert by saxophonist Willie Akins' quartet at Second Baptist Church, 9030 Clayton Rd (at McKnight).

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Webster University Jazz Collective plays a concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus; and on Fat Tuesday, Funky Butt Brass Band will be back in action again sharing a bill with Gumbohead, this time at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, 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.)

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