Saturday, April 15, 2017

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
2017 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival

This week, let's take a look at some videos of the headlining musicians for the 2017 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, which will take place next Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The event actually begins on Thursday with a day devoted to adjudicated performances by jazz bands from area high schools, along with clinics for student musicians, followed by the public concerts on Friday and Saturday at the Touhill.

This year, Friday's concert is billed as a tribute to Louis Armstrong, and will feature trumpeter Terell Stafford, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and saxophonist/flutist Chris Vadala, along with the University of Missouri-St. Louis Big Band directed by bassist Jim Widner, who heads both the festival and UMSL's jazz program.

On Saturday, the concert will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dizzy Gillespie by featuring one of his more notable proteges, trumpeter Jon Faddis "and Friends," which for this occasion will include Stafford, Vadala, trombonist Andre Hayward, drummer Ignacio Berroa, and trumpeter Nick Marchione, plus the UMSL Big Band.

You can see Stafford in the first video up above, a full set of music paying tribute to trumpeter Lee Morgan that was recorded in October 2016 at Dizzy's Club in NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center. Stafford is accompanied by his close friend and fellow Philadelphia native Tim Warfield on tenor sax, Bruce Barth on piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Billy Williams on drums.

After the jump, you can see a full set of music featuring Gordon, also recorded at Dizzy's Club in November of last year. Joining Gordon are Adrian Cunningham (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Ehud Asherie (piano), Corcoran Holt (bass), and Alvin Atkinson Jr. (drums), plus guest trombonist Corey Wilcox.

Finding recent, high-quality clips of Vadala was something of a challenge. Since he's a very active clinician with high school and college jazz programs - he was last here in St. Louis in 2012 working with students from Webster Groves High School and Western Illinois University - there are dozens of amateur shaky-cam videos of him on YouTube performing as guest soloist with various student groups all around the country, but most of them devote as much time to the ensembles as to Vadala, or have audio/video quality below even StLJN's rather forgiving standards.

In the end, the best available, recently shot, close-up showcase for Vadala seemed to be the next two clips, which feature him playing with a band called the Eastern Standard Time Jazz Quartet at the 2016 Takoma Park JazzFest in Maryland.

Finally, you can check out a couple of clips of Faddis, first doing a dueling-trumpets thing with Wynton Marsalis on an arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's "Things To Come," and then playing Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" with the Barcelona Jazz Orquestra.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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