Thursday, September 04, 2014

Jazz this week: Roomful of Teeth, "Jazz Heaven: They Paved The Way" and more

While the fall presenting season isn't quite in full swing yet, the activity level of jazz and creative music in St. Louis definitely is picking up this first weekend after Labor Day. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, guitarist Dave Black and Friends, including singer Feyza Eren, play at Nathalie's.

Tomorrow night, the new music vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth will perform at 560 Music Center. Founded in 2009, the eight-member group is best known for having premiered composer Caroline Shaw's Pulitzer Prize-winning work "Partita for Eight Voices" and for winning the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. With a mission to "mine the expressive potential of the human voice," they incorporate a variety of musical traditions and extended vocal techniques into their sound.

Elsewhere around town on Friday, trumpeter Randy Holmes' quintet kicks off the new jazz series at the Ozark Theatre in Webster Groves with a concert featuring the music of Horace Silver.

Friday also is the opening night for a couple of weekend festivals of note. The entertainment at Schlafly Bottleworks' "Art Outside" event on Friday will include sets from Miss Jubilee and Dawn Weber, while the St. Louis Art Fair, which runs from Friday through Sunday, includes jazz acts such as drummer Bensid Thigpen's Le Jazz Hot, singer Joe Mancuso, the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars student ensemble, and others among its varied musical offerings.

And still on Friday night, the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; vibraphonist Tom Rickard leads a trio at Cigar Inn; saxophonist Tim Cunningham plays smooth jazz and R&B at Troy's Jazz Gallery; the Funky Butt Brass Band return to the Broadway Oyster Bar; and singer Tony Viviano joins forces with his namesake, pianist Tony Viviano, for what might be termed "a tale of two Tonys" at Fortel’s in Creve Coeur.

On Saturday, pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True, with saxophonist Larry Johnson as special guest, will perform at the Ozark Theatre; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play swing and jump blues at Evangeline's; and trumpeter Jim Manley and guitarist Randy Bahr will duet at The Wine Press.

On Sunday afternoon, you've got time to stop by the early fall edition of the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show at the American Czech Hall on the south side before heading out to Clayton, where singer Wendy Gordon will be presenting her latest production, "Jazz Heaven: They Paved The Way," at the Ethical Society.

In addition to Gordon (pictured), the cast includes singers Jeanne Trevor, Dean Christopher, Erika Johnson, Chuck Flowers, Tish Haynes, and more, performing in the styles of vocal greats such as Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter, Etta James, Frank Sinatra and Lou Rawls, plus tap dancer Ryan Johnson as Sammy Davis Jr.; Linda Kennedy as narrator; and a band featuring Arthur Toney (piano), Jeffrey Anderson (bass), Eric Slaughter (guitar), Alfred Barnes (drums), Kendrick Smith (alto sax) and Adrian Bowers (trumpet).

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday Webster University begins their fall series of concerts featuring members of their jazz faculty with "A Celebration of ECM Records"; and percussionist Joe Pastor brings his group back to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

And lastly, we'd be remiss if we didn't note that bassist Bob DeBoo's briefly dormant weekly gig and jam session at the Kranzberg Arts Center has been re-started this month on Wednesday nights, while trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's weekly Wednesday session just down the block at The Dark Room now has been moved to a later time so that the two don't conflict.

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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