Saturday, July 21, 2012

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A sampler of St. Louis big bands

Continuing with our recent informal sampling of St. Louis jazz and creative music by genre, this week let's check out some video clips of several of the big bands from around the area.

The video up top features one of the newer entries in the local field, the Dave Dickey Big Band, which began gigging around town last year, not long after Dickey, a trombonist and music educator, moved here to take a job with the Lindbergh School District. Here, you can see them, with special guest Roger Ingram on lead trumpet, playing the Duke Ellington classic "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" last month during their regular monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. The DDBB's next appearance at Kirkwood Station is from 6:00 p..m. to 9:00 p.m. this Sunday, July 22.

Down below, the first clip shows another relatively new group, known simply as the St. Louis Big Band. Led by saxophonist and Webster University student Ryan Sheehan and featuring a number of younger, up-and-coming musicians, they're seen here performing "I've Got You Under My Skin" at Robbie's House of Jazz. The arrangement is by the band's saxophonist Dave Gill, and features guitarist Matt McCallie on vocals.

Below that, we've got clips of several other big bands that have been performing around the St. Louis area for years or, in some cases, decades. Today's third video features the Meramec Jazz Band playing an arrangement of Donald Fagen's "Walk Between the Raindrops" last year during one of their quarterly concerts at the Black Cat Theatre. Founded in 1969 on the campus of what's now known as St. Louis Community College - Meramec, the band currently is directed by Bob Boedges. The featured performers in this clip include singer Valerie Tichacek, trumpeters Fred Middlekauff and John Kinnison, alto saxophonist Colleen Templemeier, and tenor saxophonist Jason Kaminsky.

Next up, we have the Sessions Big Band, who have been playing on selected Mondays downtown at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups since the 1990s. This undated clip was made at BB's, and while the song sounds somewhat familiar to yr. humble StLJN editor, I must cop to not recognizing it by title. Perhaps one of our learned and erudite readers can identify it in the comments?

Below that, it's the St. Louis Jazz Orchestra, led by bassist Jim Widner, who also directs the jazz program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, runs big band camps in several locations every summer, and heads up the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival. The Orchestra, which also has gigged with similar personnel and repertoire as the Jim Widner Big Band, is seen here playing "Danny Boy" in an undated clip that looks to have been recorded at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The featured performers are trumpeter Lorenzo Trujillo and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis.

We finish up with two bands that make regular appearances at the Casa Loma Ballroom, playing for dancers on Friday nights. Video number six is a compilation of excerpts from several numbers by the long-running group the Ambassadors of Swing, recorded a couple of weeks ago at Casa Loma.

Today's seventh and final video features Second Generation Swing, formed in 1978 as the Althoff Catholic High School Alumni Jazz Band and also frequent performers at Casa Loma, playing an arrangement of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island."

No comments: