Monday, January 21, 2013

Troy's Jazz Gallery owner says club will showcase St. Louis musicians

If there's any truth to the old saying that "the third time's a charm," Troy Williams is hoping it applies to running a jazz club.

Williams, whose past ventures into presenting live music included Troy's on the Park near Lafayette Square and Filter in the Central West End, recently re-entered the business with the opening of Troy's Jazz Gallery, 4519 Olive. "This is my third space doing jazz," he told StLJN in a phone conversation last week. "You learn, and you try not to make the same mistakes."

Responding to previous posts here about the club, Williams reached out to offer some additional information on what he's got planned for his new space. Regarding the venue's soft opening and relative lack of marketing to date, he said that plans for a grand opening and accompanying advertising campaign are in the works. "I wanted to get the kinks out first," he said. "The most important thing was trying to line up the right bands for the different nights."

For Williams, that means emphasizing local talent, and as 2013 begins, he said he's booked four St. Louis musicians for weekly appearances. Vibraphonist Peter Schlamb (pictured) will perform from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, with up-and-coming saxophonist Kendrick Smith's quartet slotted in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Fridays. Williams said East St. Louis High School jazz band director and trumpeter Delano Redmond, who taught Smith at ESL HS, will be performing with Smith's group.

Saturdays will feature saxophonist Willie Akins and his group playing from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., as a sort of successor to Akins' long-running Saturday matinee gig at the now-defunct Spruill's. "I've wanted to work with Willie for five years," said Williams. Saturday evenings will feature bassist Darrell Mixon leading a group from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Williams hopes that presenting the same bands each week will help both the club and the musicians to get repeat business. "We all agreed to three to six months to try to build a following over time," he said. However, he's also continuing to talk about possible bookings with other local musicians, mentioning singer Erin Bode and guitarist Dave Black as two performers of interest.

As for the rest of the week, Williams said that by February, he hopes to be open on Wednesdays, presenting a weekly poetry night, and on Thursdays with a DJ spinning, presumably jazz, soul and other compatible music. Watch this space for more info on that, and on the "grand opening" of Troy's Jazz Gallery.

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