Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jazz this week: Matthew Shipp & Michael Bisio, Shades of Jade, T. Oliver Reid, Koplant No, Essentially Ellington Festival, and more

It's another busy weekend of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a number of noteworthy shows from both touring and local performers, including a new variation on the usual booking formulas from Jazz St. Louis, as Jazz at the Bistro will for the first time in recent memory feature three different acts on three consecutive weekend nights.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday March 25
The Funky Butt Brass Band performs in concert for the monthly music series at the World Chess Hall of Fame; singer Erin Bode emerges for a rare gig at Nathalie's; and the new music duo Patchwork will deliver a program of contemporary compositions at 560 Music Center.

Thursday March 26
If you're a Francophile or Francophone, you're doubly in luck this evening, as The Poor People of Paris play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, while Gypsy jazz group Franglais returns to Evangeline's.

Elsewhere around town, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at Thurman Grill, and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly "Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.

Friday March 27
Singer and actor T. Oliver Reid (pictured, top left) will draw on jazz classics from the 1930s and 40s for the first of two performances of his Gaslight Cabaret Festival show "Drop Me Off In Harlem" at the Gaslight Theater.

Also on Friday, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville hosts the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival at Dunham Hall on campus, with performances from participating high school bands, the SIUE Concert Jazz Band and visiting clinicians including saxophonist Ron Carter, former Count Basie Orchestra drummer Dennis Mackrel, trumpeter Derrick Gardner; tuba player Bob Stewart; and bassist Jeff Campbell, plus various members of the SIUE jazz faculty.

Elsewhere around town, singer Denise Thimes will play a one-nighter at Jazz at the Bistro; singer Feyza Eren and pianist Curt Landes return to The Wine Press; and the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom.

And if all that's not enough, saxophonists Tim Cunningham and Willie Akins will be making a rare joint appearance at Troy's Jazz Gallery; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at Venice Cafe; and percussionist Herman Semidey and Orquesta Son Montuno will offer up a variety of Latin sounds at Club Viva.

Saturday, March 28
Pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist Michael Bisio (pictured, center left) will play a concert sponsored by New Music Circle at The Stage at KDHX. 

Shipp, who last performed here in 2011, is widely thought to be one of the most important improvising pianists of his generation, and Bisio is the bassist in his long-running trio. Their music as a duo, while obviously related to the sounds they make with drummer Whit Dickey, seems both more intimate but also potentially more raucous, as the absence of percussion forces a recalibration of relationships and a reallocation of sonic space. For more about Shipp, and video samples of his playing, check out this video post from last week.

Also on Saturday, Koplant No, who mix jazz-fusion, contemporary composition, and electronic music with a grab-bag of other influences, will present their first-ever performance at Jazz at the Bistro; and trumpeter Jim Manley, singer Charlie B. and pianist Arthur Toney will team up to play at the house concert venue KindaBlue.

Sunday March 29
The ever-evolving menu of Sunday jazz brunches has another new entry, as Mokabe's in the South Grand neighborhood now is featuring live music weekly from bassist David Certain and CertainBeat World Bop.

Sunday evening, the young Kansas City based band Shades of Jade, offering a neo-soul/hip-hop-influenced take on contemporary jazz and featuring former St. Louisan and Jazz St. Louis All-Star Joshua Williams (pictured), will make their debut at Jazz at the Bistro.

Monday, March 30
Animal Children will celebrate the release of their first (apparently self-titled?) CD at Foam Coffee And Beer, with The 442s opening the show.

Also on Monday, Dean Christopher returns with his "Rat Pack & More" show to One 19 Tapas & Wine Bar; "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play their monthly date at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; and Webster University's student jazz combos will show off what they've learned this semester in a performance at the Community Music School on the Webster campus. 

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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