Saturday, November 22, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Cactus Truck hitting Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center on Sunday, November 30

Prickly and persistent, loud and as unsubtle as an 18-wheeler careening down a stretch of bad road at 70 miles an hour, the music of Cactus Truck certainly fits their name. Their balls-to-the-wall skronk also seems like an appropriate soundtrack for a state of emergency, either real or imagined, and so the upcoming visit by the Amsterdam-based trio on Sunday, November 30 to Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center seems rather timely.

Comprised of saxophonist John Dikeman (who's originally from the USA, born in Wyoming), guitarist/bassist Jasper Stadhouders, and drummer Onno Govaert, Cactus Truck was named "discovery of the year" in 2011 by the UK music magazine The Wire. Their first album Brand New For China! was called "brutal, furious and uncompromising" by's Eyal Hareuveni, and has evoked repeated comparisons to the electric music of saxophonist Peter Brötzmann with Last Exit, Hairy Bones and Trio Roma, and to experimental/noise groups such as The Thing and Zu.

You can sample their sonic mayhem in the first track up above, an excerpt from a performance in April 2014 at the alternative music venue Occii in Amsterdam.

After the jump, there are three excerpts from a 2013 show at Autonoom Centrum, which translates as "autonomous center," a sort of collectively managed community gathering place, performance space, and bookstore. (There are several venues in the Netherlands using the designation, including in one in Amsterdam, but it's not clear which one this is from the notes on the video.)

After that, it's a piece called "Magnum Eyebrow," recorded in 2013 at 12 Points, a festival in Dublin, Ireland for young European jazz artists.

Last but not least, the connection with 1960s free jazz is made a bit more explicit by a clip of Dikeman and Govaert performing Albert Ayler's "Ghosts" in 2012 at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.

Tickets for Cactus Truck at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center will be $7 at the door. Saxophonist Dave Stone's Free Jazz Unit will open the show.

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The Bosman Twins (pictured) were interviewed for a short feature in St. Louis magazine by the mag's culture editor Stef Russell.

* The opening of Jazz St. Louis' new HQ was covered in the December issue of DownBeat magazine by St. Louis' own Terry Perkins.

* Cabaret singer Meghan Kirk performed Thursday on Fox 2's morning newscast. Kirk will do her show "The Story Goes On" tonight for a sold-out house at the Gaslight Theater as part of the final weekend of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival.

* Quincy Jones was interviewed by The Dinner Party Download about trumpeter Clark Terry and Keep On Keepin' On, the the new documentary about Terry that Jones co-produced.

* The Funky Butt Brass Band has posted on Facebook an album of photos from their performance last Sunday for the St. Louis Jazz Club.

* Saxquest has posted on Facebook an album of photos from saxophonist Tia Fuller's performance and workshop there last Thursday.

* The U City High School jazz band has put online some photos from their workshop last week with pianist Peter Martin and trumpeter Sean Jones.

* In this week's Miles Davis-related news, Los Angeles-based apparel company Worn Free has launched a new line of Miles Davis t-shirts, with eight different designs priced from $35 to $50.

* Meanwhile, Prestige Records is looking for producers and DJs to do remixes of Davis' version of "Doxy." Prizes for the winners include $500 cash, a "large merch package from Prestige," an official release on a Spotify EP, and more.

* Jazz radio update: Saturday night on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else”, host Calvin Wilson will feature music from trios led by pianist Chick Corea, including tracks from his new album with Christian McBride and Brian Blade. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roscoe Mitchell to lecture Friday, December 5 at Washington University

While he's in town next month to play a concert for New Music Circle, multi-instrumentalist and composer Roscoe Mitchell (pictured) also will present a special guest lecture at Washington University to discuss the evolution of one of his best-known compositions.

Mitchell's talk "NONAAH: From Solo to Full Orchestra" will take place at 2:00 p.m., Friday, December 5 in Wash U's Music Classroom Building, Room 102, 6500 Forsyth Blvd at Wallace Dr. The event is free and open to the public.

Known as one of the founders of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell now serves as Distinguished Darius Milhaud Professor of Music at Mills College in Oakland, CA. He will perform with keyboardist Craig Taborn in a concert that same evening at 7:30 p.m. at The Stage at KDHX.

Update: Mitchell also will be participating in a Q&A session at 7:30 p.m. the previous evening, Thursday, December 4, at Tavern of Fine Arts. This event, moderated by Dennis Owsley of KWMU and Paul Steinbeck of Wash U, also is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O to play Monday, December 8 at Joe's Cafe

Drummer Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O will be making a stop in St. Louis next month to perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, December 8 at Joe's Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave. The show is being presented by Jazz St. Louis and "welcomed" by New Music Circle.

In addition to Wilson on drums (and jingle bells), Christmas Tree-O (pictured) also includes saxophonist/clarinetist Jeff Lederer and bassist Paul Sikivie. "Batting around holiday standards with a mischievous but sentimental air," according to the New York Times, the group recorded an eponymous album in 2010 for Palmetto Records, which you can sample via online streaming here.

Tickets for Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O are $20 for adults, $8 for students and "struggling music supporters," and are on sale now via the Jazz St. Louis box office and online. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, pending availability, but only with cash. (Note also that Joe's Cafe is a "house concert" venue, with no liquor license or food service, so patrons must "BYOB.")

Jazz this week: Jeff Coffin & the Mu'tet, Peter Martin, Funky Butt Brass Band CD release, Thollem McDonas, and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music in and around St. Louis includes the Jazz at the Bistro debut of a touring saxophonist who's already built up a nice local following; the release of a new album by some local favorites; shows from several fine piano players; and, as the saying goes, much more. Let's go to the highlights....

Tonight, saxophonist Jeff Coffin and his eclectic jazz-fusion group the Mu’tet will make their debut at Jazz at the Bistro in the first evening of a four-night run continuing through Saturday. They're touring in support of a new album, and for more about that, plus some video samples of the Mu'tet in action, see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Wednesday, two weekly gigs nearby in Grand Center continue, starting early with bassist Bob DeBoo hosting a jam session at the Kranzberg Arts Center, followed by trumpeter Kasimu Taylor leading a trio (with guests) just down the block at The Dark Room.

Elsewhere around town, guitarist Dave Black, singer Feyza Eren and friends will perform at Nathalie's, and the Sidney Street Shakers will play their monthly "Cherokee Shake" swing dance event at 2720 Cherokee.

Tomorrow night, multi-instrumentalist Jeff Anderson will lead a quartet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and the Gaslight Cabaret Festival continues with actor, singer and director Christopher Limber reprising his show "Riffs in a Set of 10," originally performed at this past summer's St. Louis Fringe Festival, at the Gaslight Theater.

On Friday, pianist Peter Martin resumes his eponymous series at the Sheldon Concert Hall, though without his originally announced special guest, clarinetist Anat Cohen, who had to cancel due to a family emergency. Standing in for Cohen will be singers Erin Bode and Brian Owens.

There are two other noteworthy pianists in action on Friday, too, as free improvisor Thollem McDonas will be in town for a performance at Tavern of Fine Arts, while Carolbeth True and Two Times True will be playing straight-ahead jazz and more at the Ozark Theatre

On Saturday afternoon, as he has on several previous visits, Jeff Coffin will present a free workshop and performance at Saxquest.

Then on Saturday night, the Funky Butt Brass Band (pictured) will celebrate the release of their new album Sugar Sugar Whomp Whomp with a performance at the Broadway Oyster Bar. (You can hear a preview of the album here.)

Also on Saturday, singer, actor and Webster University faculty member Lara Teeter wraps up the Gaslight Cabret Festival's fall schedule with his show "Lucky To Be Me" at Gaslight Theater; and the Joe Bozzi Band will play at Evangeline's.

On Sunday afternoon, those who enjoy supporting local student musicians can do so by checking out the Riverview Gardens High School Big Band and "Point of View" jazz combo, along with band director and saxophonist Harvey Lockhart's quintet, at the Sheldon.

Also on Sunday, catch some swing and jump blues from Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; or revisit "The Music of Phyllis Hyman" courtesy of singer Courtney Loveless and First Call, which features Jeff Anderson, Eric Slaughter, Phillip Graves, Everett Moore, Chad Evans, Craig Williams, and Jason Swagler, at the Clubhouse of the Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will check in for their monthly gig at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Then on Tuesday, Genesis Jazz Project will perform at the Midwest Music Conservatory in Ballwin; and the Tavern of Fine Arts will host a triple bill presented by the Society for Creative Survival, a joint project of pianists David Parker and Greg Mills.

The free show will feature the Vernacular String Trio (Tracy Andreotti, cello; Josh Weinstein, bass; and Alexander Cunningham, violin) with Nexus (Mills, piano; Dave Stone, saxophones; Jeremy Melsha, trombone; and Ajay Khanna, electronics) and Creative Delusions (Mills, Andreotti, Parker, and Henry Claude, percussion).

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, November 18, 2014

Zappa Plays Zappa to perform One Size Fits All on Monday, April 20 at Plush STL

The Frank Zappa repertory band Zappa Plays Zappa, led by FZ's son, guitarist Dweezil Zappa, will be returning to St. Louis next year to perform on Monday, April 20 at Plush STL.

The gig will be part of a 33-date US tour commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of One Size Fits All, the 1975 album that introduced several Zappa compositions that would become convert staples, including "Inca Roads," the dual vocal and instrumental versions of "Sofa," and "Florentine Pogen."

ZPZ will play the album in its entirety, much as they did with Apostrophe in their 2010 tour that included a stop here at The Pageant. The group's most recent visit to St. Louis was in 2012, also at the Pageant, and featured a setlist drawn from throughout Frank Zappa's career.

The 2015 tour also will mark the tenth anniversary of Zappa Plays Zappa. In addition to Dweezil Zappa on lead guitar and occasional vocals, the group's current lineup includes Ben Thomas (lead vocals, trumpet, trombone, rhythm guitar), Scheila Gonzalez (saxophone, flute, keyboards, vocals), Chris Norton (keyboards, violin, vocals), Kurt Morgan (bass), and Ryan Brown (drums), along with Pete Jones, who serves as tour/production manager and designated "stunt vocalist." Although some of their previous tours have included former FZ sidemen as special guests, they've mostly worked as a self-contained unit for several years now.

Tickets for Zappa Plays Zappa at Plush will be priced from $25 to $75 - the high end presumably being some sort of VIP package - and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Friday, November 21 via TicketFly.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Education Monday: "Visual Reference for Musicians" & "Cymbals 101"

Because everyone likes a sweet infographic, for this week's Music Education Monday we'd like to direct your attention to "Visual Reference for Musicians," created by NYC guitarist Miles Okazaki as "a collection of visualizations for organizing pitch and rhythmic information" including "352 pitch collections, 1,211 rhythmic modes, 505 rhythmic cells, various pitch space maps." Even if many of the ideas contained therein are intended for advanced students and pros, it's worth a look just for the presentation.

And if you've ever wanted to know what makes cymbals sound the way they do, watch the video "Cymbals 101" in the embedded window below. Produced by the Avedis Zildjian Company, the presentation by Zildjian's director of research and design/quality Paul Francis understandably emphasizes the company's products, but there's still plenty of interesting general info about how cymbal design affects overall pitch, volume, and sustain.

Jane Monheit, John Pizzarelli to perform
for The Sheldon's 2015 gala

Singer Jane Monheit and singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli (pictured) will be the featured performers at the 2015 fundraising gala for the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries at 8:15 p.m., Saturday, April 18 at The Sheldon.

Both performers are familiar to St. Louis music fans, with Pizzarelli having just completed a four-night run at the new Jazz at the Bistro last month, and Monheit appearing at the Bistro most recently in May of this year. Their show for the Sheldon gala will be part of a joint tour beginning in December and continuing into next year under the banner "Singers Over Manhattan."

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Sheldon's concerts, gallery exhibitions and educational programs. Tickets for the gala can be purchased now by calling the Sheldon at 314-533-9900. Prices start at $500 per person, and include pre-concert cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dinner, preferred concert seating, complimentary valet parking, and a tax deduction.

Concert-only tickets will be priced at $45 orchestra, $40 balcony, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 14 via all MetroTix outlets and online at The Sheldon's website.
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