Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Jazz this week: Dweezil Zappa, Lettuce, Marilyn Maye, Project/Object, and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes one grande dame of cabaret; a couple of danceable funk/jazz acts; two pianists sharing one stage at the city's most prestigious jazz club; and not one, but two tributes to the music of the eclectic guitarist and composer Frank Zappa, plus more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, October 12
Promoting their latest recording, Within You, The People's Key begin a two-night stand that marks their debut at Jazz at the Bistro.

For the details, check out their appearance Monday on KTVI-Fox 2's morning newscast, and the brief Q&A between keyboardist Ryan Marquez and the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson.

Thursday, October 13
Guitarist Dweezil Zappa (pictured, top left) brings his "50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants—The Cease and Desist Tour" to The Ready Room.

Although he's still more-than-capably performing music from his father Frank Zappa's vast catalog of compositions, and using the same musicians formerly known as Zappa Plays Zappa, Dweezil can no longer use his dad's name or likeness, due to what's become a rather ugly legal battle with his mother and two of his siblings. As the name suggests, this year's tour offers a broad retrospective of FZ music going back to his first album Freak Out, which was released 50 years ago.

Also on Thursday, funk/jazz band Lettuce returns to The Pageant, with electronic music duo The Geek x Vrv as opening act.

Friday, October 14
The aforementioned grande dame of cabaret, Marilyn Maye, returns for the first of two nights at the Gaslight Theater, kicking off the fall series for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival.

With a career stretching back more than 60 years, Maye (pictured, bottom left) remains a compelling performer, even at 88 years old. Although she was here this summer for the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, both shows are likely to sell out, if they haven't already, so advance reservations are suggested.

Also on Friday, pianists Adaron “Pops” Jackson and Phil Dunlap will team up on two grand pianos for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro, supported by bassist Nick Jost and drummer Kaleb Kirby.

Elsewhere around town, singer Feyza Eren will present an evening of Brazilian music at The Chapel, and The BonBon Plot, a new trio that describes their sound as "bossa nova and modern French jazz with an indie twist" will play for the first of two nights at the Ozark Theatre.

Saturday, October 15
Bassist Kent Miller is in from Washington, DC with his quartet for a show of straight-ahead jazz at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and Wack-A-Doo plays swing and Americana at Evangeline's.

Also on Saturday, trumpeter Jim Manley and guitarist Randy Bahr's All-Star Band returns to Nathalie's; and the Funky Butt Brass Band's monthly gig at the Broadway Oyster Bar will feature a second-set tribute to the music of Huey Lewis and the News. (Don't say we didn't warn you!)

Sunday, October 16 
The area gets a second helping of Zappa music for the week as the long-running FZ tribute act Project/Object plays at 2720 Cherokee, joined by two of Zappa's former sidemen, singer, guitarist and St. Louis native Ike Willis and keyboardist Don Preston.

Although Dweezil Zappa has been, until recently anyway, the most "official" and best-known keeper of his dad's musical legacy, Project/Object are worthy and experienced interpreters, too. Yr. StLJN editor saw them play a few years back at Cicero's here in St. Louis, with Willis and former FZ saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock as guest performers, and they performed Zappa's music with skill and enthusiasm to spare.

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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