Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jazz this week: Dave Easley, Alan Evans Trio, "Webster's Got Talent" contest finals, and more

With heavy rain from Hurricane Isaac expected to reach well up into the Midwest this Labor Day weekend, organizers of outdoor events like the Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede's Landing and the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden are hustling to implement their bad-weather contingency plans and/or inform the public of possible schedule changes.

Fortunately, while there are a couple of outdoor jazz events scheduled for the weekend, there also are plenty of jazz and creative music events happening indoors where it's safe and dry. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival will present the finals of their "Webster's Got Talent" contest at Robbie's House of Jazz, with the winner getting an opening slot at the OWJ&BF on Saturday, September 15. The finalists performing are North of the Quarter, Sarah Jane & the Blue Notes, Sarah LeBeau & Friends, and singer Ron Wilkerson & Friends.

Also tonight, it's the monthly "Avant-Garde Arts Night," featuring live improvised music, at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Tomorrow night, drummer Maurice Carnes leads a quartet with saxophonist Freddie Washington and guitarist Chris Burchett at Robbie's House of Jazz, while saxophonist Willie Akins and drummer Montez Coleman will bring a quartet to the Cigar Inn in Belleville.

Also on Friday, the Gaslight Theater is the venue for "Labors of Love," a cabaret show featuring singers Anna Blair, Robert Breig, Ken Haller, Charlene Reimann and Chuck Lavazzi with pianist Carol Schmidt; and the Funky Butt Brass Band plays at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

On Saturday, there's a chance to hear a virtuoso improviser on an instrument rarely used in jazz, as pedal steel player Dave Easley (pictured) comes to town for a gig at Robbie's. Easley, who's based in New Orleans, has played with drummer Brian Blade's Fellowship, Coco Robcheaux, and numerous other well-known performers, as well as with several local jazz groups in NOLA.

Then on Sunday, the St. Charles Community Big Band has a free concert scheduled for Frontier Park on the St. Charles riverfront, and keyboardist Pete Ruthenberg will play an early evening set at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

On Monday afternoon, the Funky Butt Brass Band plays a free outdoor concert in Benton Park, and that evening, guitarist Tom Byrne and Have You Heard? return to BB's.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, drummer Alan Evans of Soulive and his new trio will pay a return visit to the Old Rock House. The group, which also features organist Beau Sasser and guitarist Danny Meyer, was here back in May at the same venue, promoting their recent debut release Drop Hop.

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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