Friday, June 21, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:

* The New Orleans Times-Picayune says that pianist and former St. Louisan Tom McDermott (pictured) will release an anthology of tracks from his back catalog curated by famed arranger/producer and performer Van Dyke Parks. Keyboard magazine has more on the story here.

* New Music Circle was recognized as best "Cutting Edge Arts Organization" in St. Louis' magazine's annual "A-List" issue, which is out this week.

* Reviews of trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard's opera Champion, which had its world premiere last Saturday at Opera Theatre St. Louis, are in from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller; former P-D columnist Harper Barnes, now writing for the St. Louis Beacon; and Denver Post classical music critic Ray Mark Rinaldi.

* Speaking of reviews, here's one by's Dan Bilawsky of Quartette Humaine, the new album from St. Louis native David Sanborn and keyboardist Bob James.

* The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has posted on Facebook a photo album from their most recent show at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

* Two St. Louis music-related businesses have gotten some recent national attention, as Mel Bay Publishing won several 2013 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence from the Music Publishers Association, while Logic Systems Sound & Lighting was featured in the trade publication Lighting and Sound America.

* This week in jazz radio: If you still can't get enough of Terence Blanchard and Champion, Saturday's edition of Calvin Wilson's program "Somethin' Else," airing at 8:00 p.m. on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, features an interview with the trumpeter, plus music from his new Blue Note album Magnetic.

Right after that at 9:00 p.m., Jason Church's "The Jazz Collective" will have sounds from the great female vocalists of jazz - i.e. "Ella, Sarah, Billie, Nina" - in the first hour, with music in hour two from the Carolbeth True Trio, Commonwealth, Brian Owens, Jason Swagler, Brian Vaccaro Trio, Christopher Braig, Bela Fleck, Fourplay and Richard Boulger. You can hear both programs over the air at 107.3 FM and 96.3 HD-2, or online at

Elsewhere on the radio dial, having finally completed the 10-week-long, updated version of his radio history of St. Louis jazz, Dennis Owsley will be back to regular programming on this Sunday's "Jazz Unlimited", airing at 9:00 p.m. on KWMU (90.7 FM). This week will have "new music featuring a duet between Jaki Byard and Tommy Flanagan, Ben Sidran, Joey Calderazzo, Monty Alexander, Keith Jarrett, Jaleel Shaw, the Jim Widner Big Band and a five part Suite called "Hagar’s Song" by Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran."

* Turning to what might be called "Crowd-Funding Corner," bassist Willem von Hombracht is in the final days of a campaign on Indie-A-Go-Go to raise money for the International Jazz Academy, which sends jazz musicians from the USA and elsewhere to work with music students in Eastern Europe; and guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran is using the same service to raise the cash needed to press the next CD from his band Guerilla Swing.

* Finally, here's a new promotional video from Wack-A-Doo for their song "The Black Bear Bounce," featuring, among other things:  the local bakery of the same name; a lot of local outdoor art; and a guy in a bear costume dancing and riding a unicycle. While film buffs might quibble that the shot selection gets a little repetitive after a while, overall it's a fun and imaginative way to promote a piece of instrumental music, setting an example that other local bands might do well to emulate.

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