Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jazz this week: Tony Bennett, Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival, Two Times True, Montez Coleman, "3 Nights in September," and more

As St. Louis prepares to mark the turn of seasons into autumn, the jazz and creative music presenting season is starting to roll, with offerings this week ranging from the return of one of the foremost interpreters of the "Great American Songbook" to a three-day gathering of local improvisors and experimentalists. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, September 16
Pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True with guest saxophonist Larry Johnson (pictured, top left) return to Jazz at the Bistro for the first night of a two-night engagement; Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Open Mic Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes duo will play at The Feasting Fox.

Thursday, September 17
Trumpeter Danny Campbell and band will perform in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and guitarist Dave Black and friends, featuring singer Feyza Eren, will return to Nathalie’s.

Also on Thursday, New Music Circle will anticipate the beginning of their 57th season with a "welcome/fundraiser" event at the Tick Tock Tavern, 3459 Magnolia Ave. The event is free to attend, and will feature "drinks, live DJs (Josh Weinstein and Jeremy Kannapell), and raffle prizes such as vinyl LPs, CDs, and tickets to NMC concerts." Bar proceeds from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. will go into NMC's coffers to help fund their concert season and associated programs.

Friday, September 18
Drummer Montez Coleman will lead a quintet for a one-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro that originally was billed as a date to be co-led by saxophonist Willie Akins.

Instead, the evening has been re-purposed as a tribute to Akins, whose recently worsening health issues have left him unable to perform. With the veteran saxophonist unavailable, Coleman (pictured, center left) has enlisted two up-and-coming alumni of Jazz St. Louis' all-star student ensemble, trumpeter Brady Lewis and saxophonist Carlos Brown Jr, with guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Bob DeBoo completing the ensemble. 

Also on Friday, the Air Force Band of Mid-America's "Shades of Blue" jazz combo will perform in concert at Alton's Jacoby Arts Center; the 4.5 Smooth Groove Band will play smooth jazz, R&B and fusion at the Ozark Theatre; and the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, September 19
Beginning at mid-day and continuing until well past dark, the annual Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival will feature two stages of music in the area around the intersection of Lockwood and Gore Avenues in Webster Groves' Old Webster Business District.

Performers at the free event will include saxophonist Eric Marienthal, guesting with St. Louis' Bach to the Future; the Webster University faculty jazz ensemble; Miss Jubilee; blues guitarist and singer Marquise Knox, and more. For more about the OWJBF, check out this interview that festival music director Terry Perkins did with St. Louis magazine.

Then on Saturday evening, legendary singer Tony Bennett (pictured, center right) will make his first appearance in the St. Louis area since 2011, performing at the J. Scheidegger Center For The Arts on the Lindenwood University campus in St. Charles.

If you don't have tickets already, though, you may be out of luck, as the Scheidegger Center's website currently shows the concert as a sellout. You can find out about potential returns, cancellations, and/or any other last-minute availabilities by calling the box office at (636) 949-4433.

Also on Saturday evening, the Jim Manley/Randy Bahr All-Star Group will return to Nathalie's.

Monday, September 21
The Webster University jazz faculty ensemble will pay tribute to one of the key jazz record labels of the 1960s and '70s with "On Impulse - A Celebration of Impulse Records" at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

The ensemble, featuring Keith Moyer (trumpet), Paul DeMarinis (flute, alto and tenor saxophones), Steve Schenkel (guitar), Kim Portnoy (piano), Willem von Hombracht (bass), Kevin Gianino (drums), and Debby Lennon (vocals), will perform St. Louis native Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" from Nelson's classic Impulse album Blues and the Abstract Truth, plus eight more selections recorded for Impulse by John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Keith Jarrett and others.

Also on Monday, "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Tuesday, September 22
It's the first of "3 Nights in September," a mid-week festival of improvised and experimental music organized by cellist Tracy Andreotti at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Tuesday's program will include performances from Brain Transplant, NNN Cook, Michael Williams, and the Hess/Cunningham Duo (pictured, bottom left).

The festival then continues on Wednesday and Thursday with two more completely different lineups of bands and musicians; see the event's Facebook page for the latest details.

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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