Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jazz this week: Holiday jazz continues, Doug Lawrence, St. Louis Rivermen, and more

The rush to the holidays is on, and if you're looking for some seasonal jazz this weekend in St. Louis, there's plenty to be had, along with an assortment of other jazz and creative music events. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, there's a trifecta of big band shows, as the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra plays at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company; the St. Charles Community College Jazz Big Band and Jazz Faculty Sextet perform a free concert at the Shook Fine Arts Building on the SCC campus, and the new Jazz St. Louis Big Band will offer a program centered on Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker Suite" in a sold-out show at Jazz at the Bistro.

Tomorrow, Jazz St. Louis' JazzU student ensemble will play for early evening shoppers at Whole Foods Market in Brentwood, and multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman will share some of his harmonica knowledge in another workshop at Mozingo Music.

On Friday, the parade of holiday-themed shows continues as the Latin jazz group Musica Slesa returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of two nights of a "Feliz Navidad" celebration. Also in keeping with the holiday theme, the Webster Groves High School Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra will present a free performance of Ellington's "Nutcracker Suite" and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Elsewhere around town on Friday, singer Tony Viviano pays tribute to Frank Sinatra's birthday at the Four Seasons Winery in Chesterfield; singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and vocal group Java Jived takes the stage at Robbie's House of Jazz. On the instrumental side, the St. Louis Big Band will play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom, pianist Ptah Williams leads a trio at Cigar Inn, and guitarist Tom Byrne will mix holiday songs with music from Pat Metheny at the house concert venue KindaBlue.

On Saturday afternoon, the veteran saxophonist Doug Lawrence will be in town for a free performance and workshop at Saxquest. Lawrence (pictured) currently is the featured tenor saxophonist with the Count Basie Orchestra, and has an extensive list of credits that includes work with Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Roy Eldridge, Buck Clayton, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Wild Bill Davis, Hank Jones, Mel Lewis, George Cables and many others.

On Saturday evening, Three Central will perform in a holiday concert at Blessed Hope Bible Church; violinist David McNair leads a quartet at Robbie's House of Jazz, and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to the Venice Cafe.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club will present their final concert of the year, featuring traditional jazz from the St. Louis Rivermen at the Doubletree Hotel in Westport.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the eclectic acoustic music group The 442s will be at the Tavern of Fine Arts, and the Sessions Big Band will play at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

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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