Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Session: June 25, 2017

Ahmad Jamal
Here's the weekly roundup of various music-related items that have landed in StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* 'It’s just me, on the phone in my son’s bedroom.' The church hall that became contemporary music’s hottest venue (The Guardian)
* Thelonious Monk: Lost Liaison - Inside the Forgotten 1959 Studio Session (Jazz Times)
* Is the Printed Circuit Board a Form of Musical Notation? (New Music Box)
* The Story Behind ‘I’ll Be Around’ (Wall Street Journal)
* Alice Coltrane: “The Gifts God Gave Him” (Jazz Times)
* Team-Ups & Supergroups Power San Francisco Jazz Festival (DownBeat)
* In New Orleans, Party Buses Drive The Legacy Of Bounce Music (TheFader.com)
* Generation Next: Four Voices From Seattle (AllAboutJazz.com)
* The Story of Tropicália in 20 Albums (Pitchfork.com)
* Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah On World Cafe (NPR)
* Money Ain’t a Thang: 11 of the Most Expensive Albums Ever Produced (Soundfly.com)
* Philadelphia Orchestra composer Hannibal finds humanity amid the loss (Philly.com)
* Tony Bennett to Receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize (Rolling Stone)
* Ann Hampton Callaway Says Her Return to Singing Is ‘Scary and Thrilling’ (Playbill)
* Q&A with Ahmad Jamal: Continuum of Influence (DownBeat)
* "My goal is to reach people on an emotional level" — The Kenny Barron interview (Ottawa Citizen)
* Paul McCartney on making music with Kanye West: ‘You basically don’t write songs’ (NME.com)
* Why my guitar gently weeps - The slow, secret death of the six-string electric. And why you should care (Washington Post)
* Mills College’s Plan to Ax Jazz Legend Roscoe Mitchell Draws International Outrage (East Bay Express)
* Red Hook Jazz Festival: Neighborhood Feel, Avant Sound (DownBeat)
* The Secret Lives of Playlists (CashMusic.org)
* What I'm Listening to Now: Mats Gustafsson (AllAboutJazz.com)
* Why didn’t famous composers write national anthems? (Classical-Music.com)
* The Ethereal Genius of Craig Taborn (New York Times)
* Artist’s Choice: Bobby Watson on Unsung New York Masters - The saxophonist and educator reflects on his mentors (Jazz Times)
* Langston Hughes Creates a List of His 100 Favorite Jazz Recordings: Hear 80+ of Them in a Big Playlist (OpenCulture.com)
* Bon Iver’s Dad Helped Me Discover the Secret Jazz History of His Hometown (Vice.com)
* Is Jazz Still Sexist? (Jazz Times)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Six St. Louis saxophonists you should know



When talk turns to saxophonists from St. Louis, many knowledgeable music fans will associate our city with David Sanborn and World Saxophone Quartet founding members Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake and Julius Hemphill.

Sanborn, Bluiett, and Lake all grew up in this area, and Hemphill, though not a native, made an important contribution to the Black Artists Group here, and first gained national recognition for his album Dogon A.D., recorded at Oliver Sain's Archway Studios on Natural Bridge Rd. in north St. Louis.

Going beyond those well-known names, though, there definitely are more saxophonists with roots in the St. Louis area who are enjoying noteworthy careers in jazz and creative music, and today StLJN is featuring videos from six of them that every local jazz fan should know. After you've sampled their sounds here, check out their respective websites for more info.

Leading off is Greg Osby, who can be seen in the first video up above doing a spontaneous duet with bassist Christian McBride on the standard "The Song Is You," recorded in July 2014 at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

After the jump, it's Marty Ehrlich, playing a duet with pianist Myra Melford on her composition "Be Melting Snow," recorded in 2015 at The Stone in NYC.

That's followed by Eric Person doing a full set with his band Meta-Four, recorded in November 2016 at the Blue Note in NYC. Along with Person, the group includes guitarist Freddie Bryant, keyboardist Adam Klipple, bassist Adam Armstrong, and drummer Shinnosuke "Shin" Takahashi.

Next up is East St. Louis' own Andre Delano, seen here working the crowd on a version of Prince's "Adore," recorded in 2016 at The Tavern at Fire Station 1 in Silver Spring, MD.

The fifth video features Chris Cheek with his quintet performing his composition "Pelican Blues" in a show last month at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Along with Cheek, that's James Fernando on piano, Francois Chanvallon on guitar, Max Gerl on bass, and Tyson Jackson on drums.

In the final clip, Butch Thomas plays "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets," written by his former employer Sting, at a gig 2011 in Tampa FL, backed by Frank "Third" Richardson (drums), Tim George (bass), Ron Reinhardt (keyboards), and Peter Mongaya Hogsholm (guitar).

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* St. Louis magazine's annual "A-List" issue is out, and among the honorees for "Culture and Amusements" are the STL Free Jazz Collective (pictured) and Yaquis on Cherokee, which features live traditional jazz and blues on weekends.

* Also in St. Louis magazine, pianist Adam Maness' regular Thursday night gig at Thurman's in Shaw is the subject of a brief feature story by Thomas Crone.

* Mr. Handy's Blues, a new documentary about the life and legacy of "St. Louis Blues" composer W.C. Handy, will get its first showing this Sunday at a private event at the MX theater on Washington Avenue.

* St. Louis native Greg Osby will join fellow saxophonists Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman as the newest member of "Saxophone Summit" for a five-night run next week at Birdland in NYC. The group, which in this iteration also includes bassist Cecil McBee, drummer Billy Hart, and pianist Phil Markowitz, will play the club starting Tuesday, June 27 through Saturday, July 1.

* A video with highlights from pianist Ethan Leinwand's St. Louis Piano Festival, which showcased an assortment of ragtime, blues, and stride pianists earlier this month at BB's Jazz Blues & Soups, has been posted to Vimeo.

* Pianist Peter Martin's Open Studio Network is rolling out a new video course, "Elements of Jazz Piano," featuring Martin and Adam Maness. You can find out more and see a preview here.  

* Jazz St. Louis is looking to hire a part-time box office associate. For details on the job and how to apply, visit their website.

* Guitarist Todd Mosby has posted on YouTube a new live performance video of his composition "Moon Song."

* Multi-instrumental Lamar Harris' Isley Brothers tribute show "Ballad of Atlantis," which is being presented this weekend at Jazz at the Bistro, was previewed on KTVI's morning newscast and in a Post-Dispatch feature story by Kevin Johnson.

* Drummer Maurice Carnes has posted to YouYube a video of his band Avant Gardians playing the music of Ornette Coleman earlier this month at the U City Jazz Festival.

* Trumpeter Russell Gunn, originally from East St. Louis and now residing in Georgia, is one of alt-weekly Creative Loafing's "6 rising Atlanta music MVPs for 2017". As mentioned last week in this space, Gunn recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to finance his next recording.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jazz this week: Chesterfield Jazz Festival, "Ballad of Atlantis," Denise Thimes, and more

For the first official week of summer, the calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features some noteworthy free outdoor concerts; shows paying tribute to a jazz guitar giant and some old-school soul/funk favorites; and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, June 21
Though there's no live music at Jazz at the Bistro until the weekend, the weekly Grand Center Jazz Crawl proceeds as usual, with live music at four different venues within the district.

Also on Wednesday, guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran will play the Venice Cafe, and singer Feyza Eren will be among the performers taking part in an observance of "Make Music Day St. Louis" at Evangeline's.

Thursday, June 22
Saxophonist Ben Reece’s Unity Quartet will perform at The Dark Room; the Gateway City Big Band plays a free outdoor concert at the Chesterfield Amphitheater; and singer Erin Bode returns to Cyrano's.

Friday, June 23
The Jazz Edge Big Band will offer a "Tribute to Wes Montgomery" featuring guest guitarists Eric Slaughter, Rick Haydon and Gregg Haynes at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Over on the other of Grand, multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris (pictured, center left) will be presenting "Ballad of Atlantis: The Music of The Isley Brothers" for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Saturday, June 24
The free, outdoor Chesterfield Wine and Jazz Festival will feature performances from the Wooten Brothers (pictured,top left), Bach to the Future with violinist Tracy Silverman, singer Anita Jackson, Soul Cafe, and singer Kim Fuller-Barnes at the Chesterfield Amphitheater.

For more about the Wooten Brothers - bassist Victor Wooten and drummer Roy "Futureman" Wooten, of Bela Fleck's Flecktones, plus their siblings Regi on guitar and Joseph on keyboards - plus some video of them in action, see this post from last Saturday.

Sunday, June 25
The St. Louis Record and CD Collector's Show will present their summer event at the American Czech Educational Center; the Folk School of KDHX hosts their monthly traditional jazz jam session; and singer Denise Thimes (pictured, bottom left) will perform in a free outdoor concert at Ivory Perry Park.

Monday, June 26
Singer and impressionist Dean Christopher returns with his "Rat Pack and More" show to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar

Tuesday, June 27
Saxophonist "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, and saxophonist and singer Cary Colman's trio plays at Evangeline's.

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.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Session: June 18, 2017

Ornette Coleman
Here are some interesting music-related items that have landed in StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* Trombone Shorty: Living for the Crescent City (Jazz Times)
* 10 Musicians Look Back on the Albums They Don’t Remember Recording (SPIN)
* Web Exclusive: Hal Blaine (Modern Drummer)
* Tom Oberheim On The Art Of Synthesizer Design (Synthtopia.com)
* After 7 Decades, Sonny Rollins Can't Get Music Off His Mind (NPR)
* Charlie Parker's Yardbird review – beauty, anger and poetry, but the jazz great's genius eludes us (The Guardian)
* Do Androids Dream of Electric Guitars? Exploring the Future of Musical A.I. (Pitchfork.com)
* Interview: Airto Moreira (RedBullMusicAcademy.com)
* National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2018 Class of NEA Jazz Masters (Arts.gov)
* Gregg Allman: The Wild Times, Lost Years and Rebirth of a Southern-Rock Legend (Rolling Stone)
* Transcending genre labels, Vijay Iyer leads the Ojai Music Festival toward bold new territory (Los Angeles Times)
* Go-Go Forever - The rise, fall, and afterlife of Washington, D.C.’s ultimate rhythm (MTV.com)
* Steve Earle: 'My wife left me for a younger, skinnier, less talented singer' (The Guardian)
* This interracial couple endured discrimination and bullying — but loved each other until the end (Washington Post)
* All That Jazz: The Business Of Over 35 Years At The Blue Note Jazz Club (Forbes)
* Guest Editorial: Why Musicians Don’t Get Paid—A New Orleans Musician’s View (Offbeat)
* A new generation of jazz comes to the fore at Tokyo Lab (Japan Times)
* Who killed the contemporary Christian music industry? (The Week)
* 2 guitars returned to Muddy Waters' heirs in ongoing estate battle (Chicago Tribune)
* Gibson Brands transforms guitar-making into diverse 'music lifestyle' firm (Los Angeles Times)
* Celebrate Ornette Coleman: Artists pay homage to the legendary avant-garde saxophonist (TheVinylFactory.com)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The Wooten Brothers keep it in the family



This week, let's check out some videos featuring the Wooten Brothers, who are coming to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, June 24 at the Chesterfield Jazz Festival, headlining a bill that also will include Bach to the Future with Tracy Silverman, Anita Jackson, Soul Cafe, and Kim Fuller & Maurice Carnes.

The band includes bassist Victor Wooten, the youngest of the four brothers, and drummer Roy "Futureman" Wooten, who are best known as half of banjo player Béla Fleck's group, the Flecktones; keyboardist Joseph Wooten, who's released solo albums with his own group, Hands of Soul, and toured in recent years with the Steve Miller Band; and guitarist Regi Wooten, the oldest sibling, who teaches and gigs in the brothers' adopted hometown of Nashville. (A fifth brother, saxophonist Rudy Wooten, died in 2010.)

They've been playing together nearly all their lives, drafting Victor into the family band when he was just six years old, and later honing their chops while in high school by playing in a country music review at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. Although as adults their careers have taken them in different directions, the brothers have continued to work together when the opportunity has arisen, teaming up since the early 90s on what's nominally Regi's weekly gig at the Nashville club 3rd and Lindley when they're all off the road, and squeezing in occasional tour dates between their other obligations.

In their last extended tour in 2013, they visited the studios of radio station WMMR in Philadelphia to record the version of "Sex in a Pan" - one of Victor's tunes, first heard on the Flecktones' 1992 album UFO Tofu - seen in the first video up above.

After the jump, you can see the Wooten Brothers' take on Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" during a 2013 gig in Virginia, followed by another clip with some more footage from the 2013 tour.

The fourth video is from 2014 at a jazz festival in Bratislava, Slovakia, and though it's billed as the Victor Wooten Band, the ensemble also includes Reggie and Roy on guitar and drums, plus keyboardist Karlton Taylor and saxophonist Bob Francheschini (who was here In St. Louis with Victor's trio earlier this year at the Old Rock House).

While Joseph missed out on that festival gig, you can see plenty of him in the final two clips, which are taken from the brothers' performance at his wedding reception this past February in Franklin, TN.

The penultimate clip picks up in mid-song with Victor showing off some bass thumping before the rest of the brothers come back in on what turns out to be version of the 1970s hit "Play That Funky Music." (Apparently even musicians as famous as the Wootens have to play some cover-band standards if they're doing a wedding gig...)

In the final clip, Joseph sings the soulful ballad "We Are All In This Together" with his son Jessie Wooten on drums, Victor on bass, and, eventually, everybody on background vocals.

For more about the Wooten Brothers, check out this brief interview with Victor, Roy and Joseph and this longer interview with Joseph, both from 2013.

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trumpeter Russell Gunn (pictured) has launched a crowd-funding campaign to finance the debut recording of his Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, which he describes as an "ultra modern contemporary Jazz Big Band from the U.S.A." featuring vocalist Dionne Farris.

You can find out more about the project and pledge your support here.

* The latest album from Trio 3, featuring saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake, was reviewed by the Free Jazz Blog.

* A 100th birthday tribute to Buddy Rich at Ronnie Scott's in London, featuring drummer and St. Charles native Dave Weckl driving a group of alumni of Rich's big band for half the show, was reviewed by Jazz Journal.

* Jazziz magazine has published a download-only article detailing "what they think are the five absolute essential Miles Davis albums that any jazz lover must have in their collection." (Spoiler: Their picks are Kind of Blue, Miles Ahead, 'Round About Midnight, Nefertiti, and In A Silent Way.) The download is available (in exchange for an email address) here.

* Speaking of Miles, the SFJAZZ Collective's latest album featuring their new arrangements of Davis' compositions was reviewed by AllAboutJazz.com's John Kelman.

* The website Best of American Towns has included St. Louis' Vintage Vinyl on their list of "15 of the Best Record Stores in America."

* After a hiatus of several months, pianist Peter Martin has a new blog post up at Medium.com, offering his thoughts on the ballad comping style of pianist Wynton Kelly.

* Gene Dobbs Bradford of Jazz St. Louis is one of seven winners of the Arts and Education Council's St. Louis Arts Awards for 2018. Bradford will receive his award, which is for "Excellence in the Arts," at A&E's gala event on January 22 at the Chase Park Plaza hotel.

* Keyboardist James Hegarty, cellist Tracy Andreotti, and flute player Fred Tompkins have released more new improvised music under Hegarty's "Secret Sessions" imprint, now available as a free download from Bandcamp.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

All Angles Orchestra to perform
Wednesday, July 5 at Grandel Theatre

The All Angles Orchestra is coming to St. Louis to perform at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 5 at the Grandel Theatre.

Based in Colorado, the 15-piece ensemble is led by trombonist, composer, and arranger Mike Conrad, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music who in recent years has won four ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and five Downbeat Student Music Awards for composition and arranging.

Eschewing the traditional instrumentation of a jazz big band, the All Angles Orchestra (pictured) instead "forces the classical and jazz worlds to collide" with a "combination of orchestral woodwinds, a string quartet, a mix of brass instruments, and a jazz rhythm section." 

They're touring a half-dozen Midwestern cities in July in support of their debut album New Angle, which is set for release at the end of this month. The recording features all original music and arrangements by Conrad and other members of the group, including trumpeter and St. Louis native Greg Weis and pianist Thomas Amend. It also includes guest performances from NYC trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, who's worked with Dave Holland, Mingus Dynasty, Michael Brecker and others, but is not part of the tour.

The All Angles Orchestra's concert at the Grandel Theatre is free and open to the public. You can hear some samples of their music on their Bandcamp page, and see some brief performance excerpts and interview segments in the promotional video clip below.