Saturday, January 31, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Kenny Barron

Today, let's take a look at some video clips featuring pianist Kenny Barron, who will be performing with vibraphonist Stefon Harris starting next Wednesday, February 4 through Saturday, February 7 at Jazz at the Bistro. This will be his first time playing at the Bistro since 2010, when he did a run of duo piano performances with the late Mulgrew Miller. He also led his own group there back in 2006.

Now 71 years old, Barron is a Philadelphia native who first gained wide attention in the early 1960s working with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. He's also performed and recorded with Stan Getz, Yusef Lateef, James Moody, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, and many other significant jazz musicians, and is known for exploring the music of Thelonious Monk as a co-leader of the group Sphere.

When not engaged in these sorts of collaborations, leading his own bands, or playing solo, Barron also is a jazz educator who taught music for more than 25 years at Rutgers University and currently teaches at Juilliard. Though perhaps not quite as well-known among casual jazz fans as his contemporaries Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, or McCoy Tyner, Barron is a versatile and technically accomplished player who's very well-regarded among his fellow musicians, and he was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2010.

In the first video up above, you can see and hear him playing "Autumn Leaves" in a trio with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Alan Dawson (undated but presumably from the early 1990s, as Dawson passed away in 1996). After the jump, there's a clip of Barron playing "Have You Met Miss Jones" with Cranshaw and Grady Tate on drums, recorded in 1995 in Japan 

That's followed by two duets with bassist Dave Holland, another recurring collaborator of Barron's in recent years. They're seen here playing "Billie's Bounce" and "Calypso" in 2012 at the Jazz à la Villette festival in France.

The last two videos are solo performances - first, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," recorded in 2000 at the Jazz à Marciac festival, also in France, followed by a medley of Duke Ellington songs including "Lotus Blossom," "Single Petal of a Rose," "Melancholia,' and "Star-Crossed Lovers," recorded in 2010 at Marciac.

For more about Kenny Barron, check out this interview from 2013; this 2013 compilation from writer Ted Panken of a 2005 Down Beat feature and WKCR Interviews From 1991 and 2004; and this 2003 "fireside chat" from

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jazz St. Louis announces
more shows for spring 2015

Jazz St. Louis this week announced additional bookings filling out the rest of the spring 2015 schedule at Jazz at the Bistro.

Perhaps the biggest news is that, as tipped here a couple of weeks ago, pianist Ramsey Lewis will return to St. Louis to perform at the Bistro on Friday, March 13. (JSL's Devin Rodino tells StLJN that the listing shown on Pollstar for Lewis on Saturday, March 14 at the Bistro is for a private event.)

The announcement also confirms dates at the Bistro previously announced by local acts the Bosman Twins (Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11) and Miss Jubilee (Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9).

In addition, Jazz St. Louis will "welcome" singer Mary Stallings (pictured) on Sunday, February 15 in a benefit performance for the not-for-profit organization Community Women Against Hardship; and St. Louis expats, singer Mardra Thomas and pianist Reggie Thomas, have booked a return trip home for Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 to promote the release of a new CD, Matters of the Heart.

Other shows added include a return visit from singer Denise Thimes (Friday, March 27); the Bistro debuts of jazz-fusion band Koplant No (Saturday, March 28) and the up-and-coming Kansas City-based ensemble Shades of Jade (Sunday, March 29); and a one-night, one-set return by the SIUE Concert Jazz Band and  SIUE Alumni Jazz Band (Tuesday, April 21).

Lastly, singer/guitarist Tommy Halloran’s Guerrilla Swing, who currently are playing Sunday brunch every week at the Bistro, will get a full weekend of shows on Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25; and the annual performances by students from the JazzU and the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars programs, with a special guest artist yet to be determined, will take place on Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6.

Tickets for all of these shows went on sale to Jazz at the Bistro subscribers on Wednesday, January 28, and will be available to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m. next Wednesday, February 4 via Metrotix or the Jazz St. Louis website.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* Pianist Kenny Barron (pictured), who's performing next week with vibraphonist Stefon Harris at Jazz at the Bistro, is the subject of a preview story by Calvin Wilson of the Post-Dispatch.

* Reviews of the recently released Miles Davis box set All of You: The Last Tour 1960 are in from the Free Jazz Blog and Jazz Times' Jeff Tamarkin.

* Pianist Peter Martin's special guest at his next performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall on Friday, February 27 will be keyboardist Federico González Peña, who's played with Marcus Miller, Gregoire Maret, Sting, and other well-known musicians. Also new this week, Martin's piano lessons on video, available previously via his website, now have been collected into a "curated course" on the website MusicGurus.

* The local musician-owned bass maker CertainBass has launched a Kickstarter to fund a new original electric bass design called the Svelte Bass. The campaign is intended to raise money to pay for CNC programming, raw materials and components, and other costs for a first production run of 20 basses. Details on the Svelte Bass, the Kickstarter campaign, and the various incentives offered to contributors are here.

* The Hartenberger World Music Collection of musical instruments recently donated to The Sheldon was the subject of a feature story last week on the newscasts of KPLR and local Fox affiliate KTVI.

* St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts' "Every Artist Insured" awareness campaign continues with free presentations next Monday on "Navigating Health Care Reform" and on how the Affordable Care Act can affect your taxes, plus four free one-on-one enrollment sessions in early February. For more information or to sign up, visit VLAA's website.

* Jazz St. Louis is looking to hire an accountant. You can see a job description and information on how to apply here.

* Music Record Shop in the Grove is seeking local bands and musicians interested in performing in-store.  To find out more, email them at musicrecordshop at gmail dot com.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, Calvin Wilson's “Somethin’ Else” program will feature the music of trumpeter Dave Douglas. Wilson can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jazz this week: Dawn Weber, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes CD release, and more

Longtime observers of St. Louis' live music scene know there sometimes can be a slight lull in activity between New Year's Day and the run-up to Mardi Gras.

But while there may not be any significant touring jazz or creative music acts passing through St. Louis this week, it's a big weekend for two local ensembles fronted by females, with one performing for the first time at the newly remodeled Jazz at the Bistro and the other releasing a new album. For more on these shows and other noteworthy upcoming gigs, let's go to the highlights...

Thursday, January 29
Pianist Ptah Williams plays solo in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Friday, January 30
Trumpeter and singer Dawn Weber opens a two-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro, accompanied by a band including saxophonist Jason Swagler, bassist Bob DeBoo, keyboardist Nathan Jatcko, drummer Jerry Mazucca, and guitarist Phil Ring.

Also on Friday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes (pictured, top left) will celebrate the release of their second CD Sarahnade En Bleu with a performance at Venice Cafe.

Elsewhere around town, Lindy Hop St. Louis' monthly "West End Stomp" at the Mahler Ballroom will feature music from Miss Jubilee; the Original Knights of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and trumpeter Jim Manley and guitarist Randy Bahr will take the stage at Thurman Grill.

Saturday, January 31
Singer Feyza Eren (pictured, below left) and guitarist Tom Byrne will duet at Thurman Grill.

Sunday, February 1
In a late-afternoon session before the big football game kicks off, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will be recording a music video at Nathalie's.

Monday, February 2
Webster University celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Billie Holiday with a concert from singer Kim Fuller and members of the Webster jazz faculty at Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus.

Tuesday, February 3
Pianists David Parker and Greg Mills present another performance under the auspices of their Society for Creative Survival, teaming up for "The Rites of Musick/ Tribute to John Cage" at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

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.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

T. Oliver Reid to headline spring season
for Gaslight Cabaret Festival

The Gaslight Cabaret Festival has announced their series for spring 2015, with a slate of shows in March and April including performances of NYC actor and singer T. Oliver Reid's show "Drop Me Off In Harlem" on Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28.

Described as "an evening of club-hopping to the music of Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington and Andy Razaf," Reid's show won a 2013 Bistro Award for "Best Theme Show" and will include a backup band featuring music director Lawrence Yurman, trumpeter Bob Ceccarini, bassist Dave Troncoso, and drummer James Jackson.

Reid (pictured) has been seen on Broadway in shows including Mary Poppins, Sister Act, The Wedding Singer, La Cage aux Folles, Never Gonna Dance, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Follies and Kiss Me, Kate.

The rest of the spring schedule will feature St. Louis performers, with shows in March from Brian Owens, Neal Richardson, Joe Dreyer and Rosemary Watts, Linda Kennedy, Ben Nordstrom, Meghan Kirk, and Anna Blair. Performers in April will include Gina Otto, Ken Haller and Kay Love. (For a complete schedule and details on the individual shows, see the website of series producers The Presenters Dolan.)

All performances start at 8:00 p.m. in the Gaslight Theater, 358 N. Boyle. Tickets are priced from $25 to $35, depending on the show and the seating option, and are on sale now.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Music Education Monday: Video workshops with Urbie Green & Delfeayo Marsalis

This week for Music Education Monday series, we've got a bone to pick with someone, via video workshops from jazz trombonists Urbie Green and Delfeayo Marsalis.

Green, now 88 and retired from music, was known for his technical prowess, both as a soloist and bandleader and as a sideman with the big bands of Woody Herman, Gene Krupa and others, while Marsalis (pictured) is part of the famous New Orleans family that includes his dad, pianist Ellis Marsalis, and brothers Wynton, Branford and Jason.

Also worth a look (though we can't seem to get the embedded version to work on this page) is the episode about jazz trombone produced for the "Building Blocks of Jazz" segment of HEC-TV's program I Love Jazz.

Featuring St. Louis trombonist, bandleader and educator Dave Dickey with Jazz St. Louis education director Phil Dunlap on piano, the video covers "the evolution of the trombone style, from New Orleans to BeBop" and can be seen online here.

Miles on Monday: Memorial project nears completion; Miles Davis & boxing; and more

For this week's installment of "Miles on Monday," here are some links to the latest news:

* "The Miles Davis Memorial Project is nearing completion," according to a story published last week in the Alton Telegraph.

Site preparation will begin when the weather breaks this spring, and Preston Jackson, who is sculpting the staute of Davis that will be placed in downtown Alton, is finishing up his work. Members of the project committee will visit Jackson's studio next month for "final approval of the clay piece prior to sending it to the foundry for casting in bronze."

The project still is seeking financial support through the sale of inscribed bricks and granite blocks that will be part of the memorial site. To purchase a brick or block, or to donate to the Miles Davis Memorial Project, call Pride, Incorporated at 618-467-2375 or visit their website at

* This past week also saw publication of interviews with two former Davis sidemen and another musical associate and friend. Bassist/guitarist Joseph "Foley" McCreary, who played with Davis in the late 1980s and early 90s and now is living in Dallas, was interviewed by the Dallas Observer; guitarist John McLaughlin talked with Relix about a variety of topics including his time with the trumpeter; and, in an excerpt from his new autobiography published on The Daily Beast, guitarist Carlos Santana talked about his first meeting and subsequent interactions with Davis.

* Lastly, has posted a very interesting article about Davis' interest in boxing, in which you can read about how he "grew up loving boxing and came of age during a pivotal point in the sport"; his admiration of Sugar Ray Robinson; how he used boxing workouts to help him kick heroin in the mid-1950s; and how Davis once challenged Brazilian multi-instumentalist Hermeto Pascoal only to get popped right in the face.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Session: January 25, 2015

Maceo Parker
For your Sunday reading enjoyment and edification, here are some noteworthy items encountered during the past week about jazz, creative music, and more:

* The Piano Is Dead! Long Live the Piano! (The Daily Beast)
* For Musicians, a TV Series Underscores Diminishing Role (New York Times)
* Five Long Term Music Industry Predictions (And How Disney Will Rule The World) (Music Industry Blog)
* Blowin’ Heat: Maceo Parker On James Brown, ‘Get On Up,’ Ferguson, and Musical Unity (KQED)
* Netflix Producing Nina Simone Documentary from Liz Garbus, Set for 2015 (Variety)
* Sundance 2015 first look review: What Happened, Miss Simone? – a remarkable life, painted by numbers (The Guardian UK)
* Watch a human musician and his robots improvise together (Washington Post)
* Jazz Education Network Conference 2015: Sharing The Gift Of Jazz (KPLU)
* Jazz Connect & Winter Jazzfest – a New York state of mind (Seattle Times)
* 4-Disc Box of Coltrane’s 1961 European Tour Coming - Quintet recordings feature Eric Dolphy (Jazz Times)
* Bo Dollis, Mardi Gras Indians Big Chief, Dies at 71 - Prominent frontman of NOLA’s Wild Magnolias (Jazz Times)
* Meeting of New Music Minds at SF Gathering (New Music Box)
* Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock Announce World Tour (Billboard)
* Moog Announces System 55, System 35 & Model 15 Reissues (Future Music)
* Setting New Standards - American Songbook Series Reshapes the Canon (New York Times)
* Pro Tools Is Releasing a Free Version of Its Legendary Audio Software (Gizmodo)
* Music Bureaucrats’ Nomination Abomination (Wall Street Journal)
* When Bauhaus Met Lounge Music (The Atlantic)
* The Bad Plus puts its spin on a classic Ornette Coleman LP (Boston Globe)
* This Is What The Sound of Your Refrigerator Looks Like (
* Branford Marsalis, taking the long view (Boston Globe)
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