Friday, July 31, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Drummer Mark Colenburg (pictured) has recorded a new promotional video for Zildjian's "Cover To Cover" series, playing a version of Radiohead's "Packed Like Sardines."

* Speaking of videos, the St. Louis Big Band has posted a new one on YouTube featuring excerpts from their shows "Sinatra at 100," which continues through next Sunday at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

* Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg of Dr. Lonnie Smith's band has posted to Facebook an album of photos from Smith's most recent St. Louis gig with Lionel Loueke in May at Jazz at the Bistro.

* Metro East audio equipment manufacturer Heil Sound is expanding, adding 3,200 square feet of space to their Fairview Heights warehouse.

* The Nevermore Jazz Ball announced this week that advance tickets for 2015's event are sold out. More information on a wait list, pass transfers, and the NJB's free public events will be forthcoming at a later date.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, “Somethin’ Else” host Calvin Wilson will dig into the catalog of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon.

After that on "The Jazz Collective," host Jason Church will play tracks from Four80East, Dave Koz, The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, James Lloyd, Keyon Harrold, the JT Project, Gato Barbieri, Down To The Bone, Slash, Young-Holt Unlimited, Funky Butt Brass Band, Vincent Varvel, Feyza Eren and Dawn Weber.

Wilson's program begins at 8:00 p.m., followed by Church at 9:00 p.m., and can be heard over the air on 107.3 FM, on HD radio at 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jazz this week: All That Tap XXIV, "Swinging for the Fences," Good 4 The Soul, and more

It's another sultry mid-summer week in St. Louis, and though there are no major touring headliners in town this week, there's plenty of activity involving local jazz and creative musicians, offering sounds ranging from nostalgic to experimental. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 29
Tonight, the Spiritual Revolution Ensemble will make their official debut at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Formed after a jam session in May at ToFA, the group of free improvisors features a core band of saxophonists Jerome “J-Dubz” Williams, Aaron Parker, and Rahtu Johnson, pianist David Parker and percussionist Glenn "Papa" Wright, augmented for this performance by guests including guitarist Kendra Mahr, poets Pacia Anderson and Jana Thomas, and pianist Greg Mills.

Also tonight, Tommy Halloran's Guerrilla Swing will play a free outdoor concert for the Missouri Botanical Garden's Whitaker Music Festival; and guitarist Vincent Varvel leads a trio at Nathalie's.

Thursday, July 30
Jazz St. Louis continues their series of events looking at the relationship between jazz and baseball with "Jazz & the Negro Leagues", a free lecture by author and Washington University professor Gerald Early, followed by a reception at Jazz at the Bistro.

Also on Thursday, drummer Montez Coleman leads a quartet in a free concert wrapping up the summer edition of the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and the St. Louis Big Band and singer Joe Scalzitti will open the second weekend of performances of their tribute show "Sinatra at 100" at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Elsewhere around town, Miss Jubilee will make up for a rainout earlier this summer with a free concert at Ellisville's Bluebird Park, and singer Erin Bode returns to Nathalie's.

Friday, July 31
Good 4 The Soul (pictured, upper left) returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of two evenings, with guitarist Shaun Robinson, bassist John King and drummer James Jackson joined for the weekend by keyboardist Pete Ruthenberg, subbing for Adaron "Pops" Jackson.

Also on Friday, singer Tony Viviano will serenade diners at Fortel's, guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith will take the stage at Thurman Grill; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will be swinging at the Venice Cafe.

Saturday, August 1
The annual St. Louis Tap Festival culminates with All That Tap XXIV, an evening of tap dance performances and music at the Grand Center Arts Academy's Sun Theatre.

This year's event serves as a tribute to Tap Festival founder Robert L. Reed, who died earlier this month in Oklahoma City, and will feature Reed's daughter Robin Reed (pictured, lower left) performing in his stead.

Pianist Carolbeth True's trio once again will provide the music for a lineup of featured dancers including Charon Aldredge, Christopher Broughton, Omar Edwards, Anthony LoCascio, Avi Miller & Ofer Ben, Jason Samuels Smith, and Dorneshia Sumbry-Edwards. You can read a brief preview of the performance from St. Louis magazine here.

Also on Saturday, percussionist Joe Pastor and the St. Louis Legacy Ensemble will play a free outdoor concert at Lafayette Park

Sunday, August 2
The Friends of Scott Joplin will present their monthly "Ragtime Rendezvous," a free event at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site.

Also on Sunday, Jazz St. Louis wraps up their "Swinging for the Fences" series with a "Town Picnic" at Lafayette Park. The free event is open to the public and will feature a "vintage" baseball game played with period uniforms and rules, followed by Lindy Hop dance lessons and a concert of traditional jazz and swing by the Spats 'n' Flapper Speakeasy Orchestra, who are from Clear Lake, IA.  

Monday, August 3
Singer Erika Johnson and guitarist Tom Byrne will return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

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, July 28, 2015

Jazz St. Louis announces changes to
2015-16 Jazz at the Bistro schedule

The vagaries of scheduling and musicians' lives being what they are, Jazz St. Louis has made some alterations to the previously announced 2015-16 season schedule for Jazz at the Bistro.

In the most significant change, the shows from Wednesday, October 21 through Saturday, October 24 originally scheduled for bassist Dave Holland's PRISM with guitarist Kevin Eubanks (pictured) and drummer Eric Harland now will be filled by Eubanks' own trio, sans Holland and Harland. Subscription tickets already purchased for PRISM will be valid for the Eubanks trio.

Also, the tribute to Clark Terry with trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling and the Jazz St. Louis Big Band originally set for Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17 has been moved to Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26 of next year. Subscribers who bought tickets already have had them exchanged for the new dates, based on the original day and set time. The October dates left open will be filled by the Coleman Hughes Project featuring Adrianne Felton.

Lastly, bassist Jahmal Nichols' performance on Saturday, September 12 has been cancelled, due to Nichols being on tour with singer Gregory Porter. No replacement show will be booked for that date, and there's no indication as to when Nichols might be rescheduled.

Suubscribers who have questions about any of this can contact the Jazz St. Louis box office at 314-571-6000.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Music Education Monday: A master class
with Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer

In addition to being two of the top pianists in contemporary jazz, both Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer (pictured) are past winners of much-coveted MacArthur Fellowships (aka "the genius grant"), and both have developed accompanying reputations as deep thinkers.

For this week's "Music Education Monday," here's a small window into the minds of both men, via a video of a joint masterclass they did in September 2014 at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Moran is a member of the NEC faculty, while Iyer is now a professor at Harvard in nearby Cambridge, MA.

Miles on Monday: Miles Ahead to close
New York Film Festival, and more

This week in Miles Davis news:

* Miles Ahead, the film about Davis directed by and starring Don Cheadle, finally has a US premiere date. The movie will be shown on Sunday, October 11 in New York City as part of the closing night of the New York Film Festival, though Cheadle still is seeking a distributor for a wider release.

* The Newport Jazz Festival this coming weekend will include a number of events and performances celebrating the 60th anniversary of Davis' historic debut at the event, and the Associated Press has an overview. (And speaking of Newport, many more reviews of the Miles Davis at Newport box set released on July 17 have been published over the past week, and we'll have a look at some of those next week.)

* Meanwhile, Davis' fashion sense and visual style during the 1950s was the subject of an article at Ivy Style

* On a much more serious note, David Hoppe of the Indianapolis alt-weekly Nuvo compares a well-known encounter Davis had with NYC police in 1959 with the case of Sandra Bland, the African-American woman who recently died in a Texas jail while being held on charges stemming from a traffic stop.

* Lastly, the photo above and the three after the jump offer the latest look at the site of the Miles Davis Memorial Project in Alton. The plaza designed by architect Barry Moyer to resemble a musical staff has now been completed, with a pedestal styled after an eighth-note awaiting installation of the statue of Davis by sculptor Preston Jackson before the unveiling on Saturday, September 12. You can see the Davis family's commemorative block right next to the eighth note.

The pix come to StLJN courtesy of Ken Whiteside, who works with both the Memorial Project and the Miles Davis Jazz Festival. You can see the rest of the photos after the jump...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Session: July 26, 2015

Kamasi Washington
For your Sunday reading, here are some interesting music-related items that have hit StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* After 20 Years, New Orleans Band Galactic Lifts Off With New Voices (NPR)
* This Year’s DownBeat Critics Poll Kerfuffle (Outside-Inside-Out)
* Digitized and Now Available: Mahler’s Marked Score of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony (New York Philharmonic)
* 'Inside Out' composer Michael Giacchino is on a roll (Los Angeles Times)
* The key to perfection: how a Steinway piano is made (Financial Times)
* How Hip-Hop Is Becoming the Oldies (New York Times)
* Swing It Loud: Duke Ellington’s Early Black-Pride Music (WFIU)
* How MTV Is Trying to Reinvent Itself to Combat Sinking Ratings and Disinterested Teens (Billboard)
* 'Kid Charlemagne': A Close Reading Of Steely Dan's Ode To Haight Street's LSD King (SFist)
* To Stream or Not to Stream? That is the Wrong Question (New Music Box)
* How Music Magazines Are Changing to Stay Alive (Billboard)
* Why do pop singers like Lady Gaga keep releasing jazz albums? The upsides are tremendous. (Washington Post)
* Apple Music is a nightmare and I'm done with it (The Loop)
* SpokFrevo Orquestra, Redman Spark North Sea Jazz Festival (DownBeat)
* LA jazz: how Kamasi Washington and Thundercat are breathing new life into the west coast scene (The Guardian UK)
* Impulse To Release Haden-Rubalcaba Duo Album (DownBeat)
* Zappa Family Gives Access For New Frank Zappa Documentary (

Saturday, July 25, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Six from Harry Connick Jr.

This week, let's check in via video with singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr., who will be performing in St. Louis this coming Tuesday, July 28 at the Peabody Opera House.

If you're enough of a jazz fan to have found your way here, you're likely already familiar with Connick, as he's among the most prominent of the relatively small number of jazz musicians who have crossed over to significant pop success in the last couple of decades. (If not, please consult his website, linked above, for the relevant biographical details.) Given that, and the fact that it's summer vacation time, let's skip any additional preamble and go straight to the videos.

Up top, you'll find a clip from Connick's recent stint as one of the celebrity judges on TV's American Idol, but thankfully, it's not one drawn from the ample supply of videos showing him schooling a clueless contestant. It's a straight-up performance, featuring Connick singing and playing "City Beneath the Sea," a song about New Orleans that he first recorded on his 1996 album Star Turtle.

After the jump, you can see the official music video for "One Fine Thing," which was the single released from Connick's most recent album, 2013's Every Man Should Know.

The next two clips are even farther removed from the commercial slickness of American Idol, as both were recorded during a visit Connick made in 2013 to the Agape House Fellowship Church in Bridgeport, CT.

These audience-shot videos, which to date have only a few thousand views each on YouTube, show Connick singing the gospel standards "The Old Rugged Cross" and "You Are My Sunshine." While the production values obviously are not professional quality, it's an interesting chance to see him in a different environment than usual.

Last but not least, we close out with two more videos showing Connick performing two more songs about New Orleans, "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" and "Take Her To The Mardi Gras."

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trombonist, singer and St. Louis native Joseph Bowie (pictured) is the subject of In Groove We Trust: A Joe Bowie Experience, a 2014 documentary film that now can be streamed online.

The movie, produced by the Dutch public broadcasting system Boeddhistische Omroep, offers an intimate look at the Defunkt founder's life both on and off-stage, and includes some footage shot here in St. Louis as well as interviews with St. Louis musicians including Ronnie Burrage, Oliver Lake, Kelvyn Bell, and more.

* Trumpeter, St. Louis native, and former Jazz St. Louis student All-Star Joshua Williams and his band Shades of Jade are prepping a new album, Fingerprinted Memories Part 2, for release in the fall. The Kansas City based ensemble will drop an advance track, a jazz-infused R&B slow jam called "That One" featuring guest singer Derick Cunigan, on Thursday, August 20.

* Saxophonist David Sanborn's latest album Time and the River is on sale for a discounted price at Amazon from now until the end of the month.

* The Sheldon Concert Hall has posted on Facebook an album of photos from last Friday's tribute to the late pianist and St. Louis native Ray Kennedy.

* Trumpeter Andy Tichenor has landed a gig in the band for the national tour of the musical theater production of "Dirty Dancing." Tichenor will join the tour in Chicago after the end of the Muny season here in St. Louis. 

* St. Louis based sound and lighting contractor Logic Systems is in the running for two industry awards: Front of House Online's 2015 Hometown Hero Sound Company award, which allows for reader voting, and an ESPRIT Award from the International Special Event Society, the results of which will be announced on August 22.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, Calvin Wilson's program “Somethin’ Else,” will focus on jazz versions of soul and R&B songs such as "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" as performed by musicians including Joshua Redman, John Scofield and Marcus Miller. The program can be heard over the air on 107.3 FM, on HD radio at 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Then on Sunday night, Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" program on KWMU/St. Louis Public Radio will be the second part of a special featuring music from the labels run by the late jazz impresario Norman Granz. You can listen in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays over the air at 90.7 FM and online at
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