Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Jazz this week: Cyrus Chestnut & Russell Malone, Claire Chase & ICE, St. Louis Stompers, and more

This week's jam-packed calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis offers something for listeners of just about any stylistic preference, from ragtime and traditional New Orleans style to straight-ahead modern jazz to free improvisation and contemporary chamber music. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and his trio will team up with guitarist Russell Malone for the first of four nights at Jazz at the Bistro. Revisiting an alliance forged a couple of years ago at the Bistro, Chestnut and Malone both are technically accomplished musicians who also swing hard and usually manage to incorporate elements of blues and/or gospel into their playing. For some video samples and interviews with both men, see this post from last Saturday.

Tomorrow night, Claire Chase - flute player, founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" - will give a talk and take questions in an early evening event presented by New Music Circle at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd.

Chase (pictured) and ICE then will perform in an NMC-sponsored concert on Friday at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. For more about her and ICE, see this video showcase post from a couple of weeks ago. 

After Chase's talk, you should be able to get to the Washington University campus in time to hear trumpeter Anthony Wiggins lead a quartet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series entitled "Mandela: Improvisation & The Music of Social Justice."

Also tomorrow night, the Gaslight Cabaret Festival resumes with Morgan A. Faulkner performing her show "I Got It All From My Mother" at the Gaslight Theater; and guitarist Dave Black and singer Feyza Eren will play at Nathalie's.

On Friday, after the Claire Chase and ICE concert, cornetist Rob Mazurek of the Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Quartet and/or Orchestra will join bassist Darin Gray for a late set of improvised music at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Also on Friday: For those in the mood to hear a vocalist, Katie McGrath will be performing her show "Love in the Desert: Romance in an Age of Scarcity" for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival; Tony Viviano will return to Talayna's of Chesterfield; and Wendy Gordon will be back at DeLeo's Cafe & Deli.

Meanwhile, swing dancers can check out Miss Jubilee at Lindy Hop St. Louis' monthly "West End Stomp" at the Mahler Ballroom, or the Knights of Swing at Casa Loma Ballroom, while those looking for some straight-ahead jazz may enjoy saxophonist Kendrick Smith's trio at Cigar Inn or pianist Brad Ellebrecht "Little Quartet" at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Saturday evening, trumpeter Scott Vignassi's big band will perform at Robbie's; the Coleman Hughes Project will play smooth jazz and R&B at Troy's Jazz Gallery; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will swing the Venice Cafe; and the Funky Butt Brass Band returns to the Broadway Oyster Bar.

Sunday afternoon potentially has a bit of a throwback feel, as the Metro South Arts Council will showcase the young winners of their 14th Annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Competition in a performance at Robbie's House of Jazz, while the St. Louis Jazz Club will present the traditional jazz sound of the St. Louis Stompers at the Doubletree Hotel in Westport.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday pianist Jim Hegarty and bassist Paul Steinbeck will play improvised music at the Tavern of Fine Arts; Webster University's student jazz combos will give a free performance at the Community Music School on the Webster campus; and guitarist Tom Byrne plays 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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