Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jazz this week: Matthew Shipp & Michael Bisio, Shades of Jade, T. Oliver Reid, Koplant No, Essentially Ellington Festival, and more

It's another busy weekend of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a number of noteworthy shows from both touring and local performers, including a new variation on the usual booking formulas from Jazz St. Louis, as Jazz at the Bistro will for the first time in recent memory feature three different acts on three consecutive weekend nights.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday March 25
The Funky Butt Brass Band performs in concert for the monthly music series at the World Chess Hall of Fame; singer Erin Bode emerges for a rare gig at Nathalie's; and the new music duo Patchwork will deliver a program of contemporary compositions at 560 Music Center.

Thursday March 26
If you're a Francophile or Francophone, you're doubly in luck this evening, as The Poor People of Paris play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, while Gypsy jazz group Franglais returns to Evangeline's.

Elsewhere around town, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at Thurman Grill, and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly "Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.

Friday March 27
Singer and actor T. Oliver Reid (pictured, top left) will draw on jazz classics from the 1930s and 40s for the first of two performances of his Gaslight Cabaret Festival show "Drop Me Off In Harlem" at the Gaslight Theater.

Also on Friday, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville hosts the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival at Dunham Hall on campus, with performances from participating high school bands, the SIUE Concert Jazz Band and visiting clinicians including saxophonist Ron Carter, former Count Basie Orchestra drummer Dennis Mackrel, trumpeter Derrick Gardner; tuba player Bob Stewart; and bassist Jeff Campbell, plus various members of the SIUE jazz faculty.

Elsewhere around town, singer Denise Thimes will play a one-nighter at Jazz at the Bistro; singer Feyza Eren and pianist Curt Landes return to The Wine Press; and the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom.

And if all that's not enough, saxophonists Tim Cunningham and Willie Akins will be making a rare joint appearance at Troy's Jazz Gallery; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at Venice Cafe; and percussionist Herman Semidey and Orquesta Son Montuno will offer up a variety of Latin sounds at Club Viva.

Saturday, March 28
Pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist Michael Bisio (pictured, center left) will play a concert sponsored by New Music Circle at The Stage at KDHX. 

Shipp, who last performed here in 2011, is widely thought to be one of the most important improvising pianists of his generation, and Bisio is the bassist in his long-running trio. Their music as a duo, while obviously related to the sounds they make with drummer Whit Dickey, seems both more intimate but also potentially more raucous, as the absence of percussion forces a recalibration of relationships and a reallocation of sonic space. For more about Shipp, and video samples of his playing, check out this video post from last week.

Also on Saturday, Koplant No, who mix jazz-fusion, contemporary composition, and electronic music with a grab-bag of other influences, will present their first-ever performance at Jazz at the Bistro; and trumpeter Jim Manley, singer Charlie B. and pianist Arthur Toney will team up to play at the house concert venue KindaBlue.

Sunday March 29
The ever-evolving menu of Sunday jazz brunches has another new entry, as Mokabe's in the South Grand neighborhood now is featuring live music weekly from bassist David Certain and CertainBeat World Bop.

Sunday evening, the young Kansas City based band Shades of Jade, offering a neo-soul/hip-hop-influenced take on contemporary jazz and featuring former St. Louisan and Jazz St. Louis All-Star Joshua Williams (pictured), will make their debut at Jazz at the Bistro.

Monday, March 30
Animal Children will celebrate the release of their first (apparently self-titled?) CD at Foam Coffee And Beer, with The 442s opening the show.

Also on Monday, Dean Christopher returns with his "Rat Pack & More" show to One 19 Tapas & Wine Bar; "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play their monthly date at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; and Webster University's student jazz combos will show off what they've learned this semester in a performance at the Community Music School on the Webster campus. 

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Music Education Monday: Electronic music production tips, plus a keyboard workshop with Richard Tee

This week for "Music Education Monday," we've got some new info on electronic music production techniques, and a classic video workshop with a top session keyboardist:

* Ableton, makers of the popular Ableton Live software used for electronic music production, has put online a good-sized chunk of the new book Making Music: Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers, which purports to offer "a collection of solutions to common roadblocks in the creative process, with a specific emphasis on solving musical problems, making progress, and (most importantly) finishing what you start."

The book's website includes includes eight full chapters of the 25 included in the print edition, covering topics such as active listening, presets as starting points, and "procrastination and timeboxing." If you have even a passing interest in the techniques being discussed, it's worth a look.

* In the video window below, you can watch Contemporary Piano With Richard Tee, a video workshop released in 1984 featuring the late gospel-influenced keyboardist who was a first-call NYC session man from the late 1960s until his death in 1993.

A co-founder of the influential instrumental group Stuff, Richard Tee was well known in the jazz world for his work with Hank Crawford, George Benson and Grover Washington Jr., and also did tours and recording sessions with many other famous jazz, R&B, rock and pop musicians and singers. The video features Tee discussing topics including practice techniques, chord substitutions, left-hand technique, how to back a vocalist, and how to play in studio sessions.

Miles on Monday: Memorial statue sculptor to speak at Lewis and Clark CC, and more

This week for "Miles on Monday," we have some recent news items involving the legendary trumpeter:

* Preston Jackson, the sculptor creating the statue for the Miles Davis Memorial Project that will be placed in downtown Alton, IL later this year, will give a presentation for Lewis and Clark Community College’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series at noon this Wednesday, March 25.

Jackson’s talk will give an overview of his work, both sculptures and paintings, and will include photos of the Miles Davis statue in progress. Admission to the event, which will take place at the Hatheway Cultural Center Gallery on the Lewis and Clark campus, is free and open to the public.

* The 1991 Australian drama Dingo, which included Davis' only starring role in a feature film, was the subject of a critical rewatch from The Guardian (UK) critic Luke Buckmaster. The film features Davis as a thinly disguised version of himself named Billy Cross, who serves as a musical idol and touchstone to the story's protagonist, an aspiring jazz trumpeter played by Colin Friels (pictured, with Davis). "It is a deeply rewarding work to revisit. The characters are strong, the dramas feel rich and organic and the music is fantastic," writes Buckmaster.

* Trumpeter Terence Blanchard will be the featured soloist in "Miles Davis / Gil Evans: Still Ahead," a program featuring original Evans arrangements from the albums Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead  to be presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic next Thursday, April 2 in LA.  

* Via the online 'zine Big O, you can download a recording of an unreleased live set of Davis' sextet performing in November 1970 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. Described as a "very good soundboard" of the show, it was recorded seven months after the release of Bitches Brew by a band featuring Davis with Jack DeJohnette on drums, Michael Henderson on electric bass, Keith Jarrett on electric piano and organ, Gary Bartz on alto and soprano sax, and Airto Moreira on percussion.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Session: March 22, 2015

Roy Haynes
For your Sunday reading, some interesting music-related items that have hit StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* We Speak African: Arturo O'Farrill on U.S./Cuba Exchange - Why diplomatic relations will change everything (Jazz Times)
* Five Decades, Six Galaxies, and Counting: The AACM at 50 (Walker Art)
* The Inside Story of How Vegas Changed Elvis Presley: Drugs, Debauchery & Superstitions (Billboard)
* Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Drummer Extraordinaire, Turns The Tables (NPR)
* Wynton Marsalis cancels Venezuela shows (USA Today)
* Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi's Widow Launch Blues Brothers Label (Rolling Stone)
* Could monitor engineers soon be a thing of the past? (Audio Media International)
* Behind The SFJAZZ Collective's Original Approach To Joe Henderson (NPR)
* Flashes of Quincy - The Quincy Jones Interview (Vice.com)
* Record Store Day: Indie labels say majors have ruined the big event (Independent UK)
* Chicago Jazz Festival To Celebrate AACM, Strayhorn, Lady Day with Special Concerts (DownBeat)
* Field Notes: Charles Lloyd at the Village Vanguard - A cause for celebration as the iconic venue turns 80 (Jazz Times)
* Haynes Celebrates 90th with Star-Studded Residency at New York’s Blue Note (DownBeat)
* Streaming Revenue Is Catching Up to Digital Download Revenue (Digital Music News)
* The Unlikely Story of “A Change Is Gonna Come” (The New Yorker)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The provocative piano of Matthew Shipp



This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring pianist Matthew Shipp, who's coming to St. Louis for a duo concert with bassist Michael Bisio that will be presented by New Music Circle next Saturday, March 28 at The Stage at KDHX.

Shipp, who played here most recently in 2011 at 560 Music Center, emerged in the 1990s as one of the most provocative pianists of his generation, capable of both pointillist, jagged-sounding improvisations and lush, classically influenced romanticism.

He first received wide attention as a member of saxophonist David S. Ware's long-running quartet, and since has gone on to record dozens of albums as a soloist and bandleader in his own right, as well as in collaborative projects with musicians including saxophonists Darius Jones and Ivo Perelman and multi-instrumentalist Joe Morris.

Shipp also has gained a reputation for unusual candor, giving interviews and penning essays that express skepticism and challenge conventional views about subjects ranging from the relevance of the jazz tradition to the current state of the music business.

However, as entertaining and occasionally controversial as those critical and cultural musings may be, for an improvising musician like Shipp, the important stuff is what happens in the moment, on the bandstand. And so, here are a half-dozen videos offering glimpses of some of what he's been up to since his last visit to St. Louis.

First up, you can see Shipp's trio, with Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey, playing the title track from their 2014 album Root of Things in March 2014 at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY.

After the jump, there's a full solo set by Shipp, recorded as part of the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival's "PianoForte Sessions."

That's followed by excerpts from a couple more trio shows, for Vision Festival 19 in June 2014 at Roulette in Brooklyn, and in June 2013 at Constellation in Chicago.

The fifth video is another complete set, featuring Shipp and saxophonist Evan Parker in June 2013 at La Dynamo in Toulouse, France, followed by yet another excerpt from a trio gig, in November 2012 in Budapest.

For more about Matthew Shipp, check out these recent interviews with the UK newspaper the Guardian and the websites Jazz Right Now, Flowers In A Gun, and Wondering Sound.

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* St. Louis native Lawrence Fields (pictured) can be heard playing piano on the upcoming release Live at Monterey Jazz Festival by SoundPrints, the Wayne Shorter-inspired band led by saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas. The album goes on sale everywhere Tuesday, April 7.

* Jazz St. Louis has posted on Facebook a photo album from Kneebody's opening night this week at Jazz at the Bistro. The group performs there through Saturday, with two sets per night plus a FREE lunchtime set open to the general public at 12:00 p.m. today (Friday, March 21).

* Did the late pianist Johnnie Johnson get a fair shake from the courts fifteen years ago when he sued rock 'n roll legend Chuck Berry claiming joint authorship of some of Berry's most famous songs? In an article published this week in St. Louis magazine, Byron Kerman talked to attorney Tim McFarlin, who after all these years has a new take on the case's implications.

* In a related development, McFarlin will give a "Business Edge" presentation for St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts on Monday, March 30 titled "The Case of Johnnie Johnson v. Chuck Berry and What Artists Should Do Before They Collaborate."

* Now that City of Music, Nine Network's special about the history of St. Louis music, has had its broadcast premiere, you can watch both parts of the program online at Nine's website. The special, which was filmed last October at the Sheldon and features performances from Alarm Will Sound, Denise Thimes, Peter Martin, Billy Peek, Illphonics, Carolbeth True and more, also will get a repeat broadcast airing at 7:00 p.m. this coming Tuesday, March 25.

* The 2015 St. Louis Cabaret Conference has added two-time Tony-winning composer Jason Robert Brown as a guest faculty member and festival performer. Deadline for performers wishing to attend this year's conference to submit their audition materials is Monday, April 13.

* Last week's funeral services for singer and nightclub owner Gene Lynn were covered by local Fox affiliate KTVI (Channel 2)

* A post this week on the Riverfront Times' music blog spotlights New Music Circle's sliding scale ticket prices for "struggling artists."

* Drummer and St. Charles native Dave Weckl will be one of the instructors at a "Drum Fantasy Camp" to be held this summer from August 7 - 11 in Chicago at Vic's Drum Shop/Music Garage.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake will reunite with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille as Trio 3 for a week-long gig starting this coming Tuesday, March 24 at NYC's Village Vanguard.

* The latest remastered vinyl reissue of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue gets an "extended analysis" from AllAboutJazz.com's Nenad Georgievski.

* Jazz radio update: On this Saturday's episode of Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else,” host Calvin Wilson will be spinning contemporary pop tunes given jazz interpretations by musicians including Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, and Jason Moran. "Somethin' Else" can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

SIUE, St. Louis Jazz Club to present Essentially Ellington Regional Festival
on Friday, March 27

The jazz studies program at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and the St. Louis Jazz Club are teaming up to present the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival on Friday, March 27 at Dunham Hall on the SIUE campus.

Funded by a grant from the Jazz Club and co-produced by NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center, the festival includes a full day of performances and workshops involving high school jazz ensembles from around the St. Louis metro area, culminating in a public concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring the participating bands, clinicians, and the SIUE Concert Jazz Band.

The visiting clinicians for the event will include saxophonist Ron Carter (pictured), former director of jazz studies at NIU, as well as former Count Basie Orchestra drummer Dennis Mackrel, trumpeter Derrick Gardner; tuba player Bob Stewart; and bassist Jeff Campbell. Participating musicians from the SIUE jazz faculty will include guitarist and jazz studies director Rick Haydon, trombonist Brett Stamps, saxophonist Jason Swagler, trumpeter Garrett Schmidt, pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson, and drummer Miles Vandiver.

Tickets for the concert are $12 for general admission, $9 for seniors and under 18, and free to SIUE students with valid student ID.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jazz this week: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience, Kneebody, Jazz Edge Big Band, and more

It's looking like the busiest weekend so far this year for live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a number of touring bands and musicians passing through town in the next few days, as well as some particularly noteworthy shows from local players.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, March 18
The eclectic quintet Kneebody makes their St. Louis debut, opening a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Although their instrumentation (trumpet, sax and rhythm section) may seen familiar, Kneebody pulls in a lot of influences from beyond the jazz tradition, ranging from punk rock to contemporary classical. You can see and hear the results for yourself in this video showcase post from last Saturday.   

Also tonight, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Open Mic Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts

Thursday, March 19
Pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Friday, March 20
The 2015 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival opens with a concert featuring a ad hoc group fronted by saxophonist "Blue" Lou Marini, trombonist Steve Wiest, and trumpeter Clay Jenkins at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The UMSL Jazz Ensemble will open the show. 

Also on Friday, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at Chaser's Lounge in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel; and the Sentimental Journey Dance Band performs at Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, March 21
The Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience will perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Led by Dizzy Gillespie’s long-term bassist John Lee, the group pays tribute to Gillespie’s pioneering efforts to fuse jazz and Latin music in the 1940s and 50s, with a repertoire featuring the trumpeter's compositions as well as contemporary Latin jazz that draws on the tradition he helped establish.

Back at the Touhill, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival continues with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

Led by bassist John Clayton, his brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton, and often featuring St. Louis native Keith Fiddmont in the saxophone section, the Los Angeles-based big band is a hard-swinging outfit with original charts that puts contemporary touches on the mainstream tradition, not unlike a West Coast version of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Also on Saturday, singer/actress Anna Blair will perform music composed by a famous former St. Louisan in her show "Inside Story - The Songs of Fran Landesman" for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will be swinging at the Backstreet Jazz and Blues Club at Westport; guitarist Brian Vaccaro's trio adds singer Feyza Eren as special guest for a gig at The Wolf; and drummer Montez Coleman and Friends play at the Kranzberg Arts Center.


Sunday, March 22
The Jazz Edge Big Band will present a "Salute to St. Louis Women in Jazz" at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Inspired by Women's History Month, the concert will feature the 17-piece band and guest performers including singers Marsha Evans and Denise Thimes, trumpeter/singer Dawn Weber, pianist Carolbeth True, and saxophonist Hope Walker playing "jazz standards and also a few soon to be standards."

Monday, March 23
Guitarist and St. Louis native Daryl Darden, who's been based on the West Coast in recent years, will be back home for a performance at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; and pianist Matt Villinger will play while artist Vesna Delevska paints at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Tuesday, March 24
Keyboardist Jim Hegarty doubles down on his Off Topic trio to launch STL, The Free Jazz Septet with a debut performance at the Tavern of Fine Arts. In addition to Hegarty, the septet includes Off Topic members Paul Steinbeck on bass and Gary Sykes on drums, plus "Baba" Mike Nelson (trumpet, shells, poetry), Jay Dubz (alto sax, percussion, vocals), John Tamm-Buckle (electronics), and Michael Castro (poetry).

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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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