Friday, April 20, 2012

Sheldon Concert Hall announces
2012-13 season schedule

The Sheldon Concert Hall has announced the 2012-13 schedule for its various season series.

As tipped earlier here on StLJN, the jazz subscription series will include a performance by trumpeter Arturo Sandoval on Saturday, October 6, while the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will offer their "Creole Christmas" show on Sunday, December 9 as a non-subscription "special concert." Other performers in the jazz series will include pianist Marcus Roberts (pictured) and his trio (Saturday, December 1); trumpeter and singer Jeremy Davenport (Saturday, February 2); and singer Dianne Reeves (Saturday, April 27).

The Sheldon's "Coffee Concert" series of mid-morning shows by local performers will include singer Dean Christopher's “Tribute to Frank Sinatra” (Tuesday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 3) and Cornet Chop Suey (Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8). Also, the St. Louis Stompers will play special coffee concerts that are not part of the subscription series on Tuesday, October 30 and Wednesday, October 31.

Looking at the rest of the non-subscription special concerts, jazz listeners also may be interested in the hall's official 100th anniversary celebration on Thursday, October 11, which will feature a multi-genre lineup of musicians including pianist Peter Martin, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. as well as classical singer Christine Brewer, violinist David Halen and members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, singer Sylvia McNair will return for the Sheldon's annual ArtSounds fundraiser on Friday, November 9, and singer Denise Thimes will team with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli for a "special concert" on Friday, February 15.

So what's the takeaway here for St. Louis jazz fans? While one really can't criticize the musical quality or skills of the jazz performers booked for 2012-13, it's also a conservative, risk-averse lineup, both in terms of musical styles and with regard to the potential box office draw of the performers. Except for Sandoval, who last played St. Louis in 2006, and Roberts, the former Wynton Marsalis sideman who's had a lower touring profile since joining the faculty at Florida State University in 2004, all of the touring bands and musicians on the schedule already have played St. Louis during the last couple of years.

While the Martin/Marsalis/McBride/Owens combo would seem to offer some real potential for surprise, the fact that it's a one-off gig for a benefit show that will be shared with other performers imposes some serious constraints. Overall, the Sheldon remains a great place to play and hear music, but it's too bad that the current circumstances there seem to preclude offering audiences more jazz that's different, new, or just previously unheard here in St. Louis.

Single tickets for the jazz series shows are priced from $35 to $45, while Coffee Concert tickets are $12 and $15. Pricing for "special concerts' varies from $20 and $25 for Thimes and Pizzarelli to up to $500 for patron seats for the 100th anniversary and ArtSounds shows. Single tickets will go on sale at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 11. Season subscriptions go on sale at 10:00 a.m. May 14 via phone at 314-533-9900 or the Sheldon's website.

(Edited after posting to add a link.)

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