Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Session: April 23, 2017

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

* Philip Glass on Listening (and Composing) at 80 (Sonos.com)
* “It wasn’t until I experienced a great amount of pain at one time in my life that I really understood what the blues were about:” An Interview with Matana Roberts (WTJU)
* Forgotten audio formats: The flexi disc (ArsTechnica.com)
* Alice Coltrane’s Devotional Music (The New Yorker)
* A Year On, Few Answers From Probe Into Prince's Death (Billboard)
* Rejuvenating contemporary classical music (The Economist)
* Newest Two Time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Greg Rolie (Santana/Journey) Talks Past & Present (INTERVIEW) (GlideMagazine.com)
* E Street Band Bassist Garry Tallent Gears Up for First Solo Tour, Talks Bruce Springsteen & Chuck Berry (Billboard)
* Allan Holdsworth, Guitarist Revered in Both Jazz and Prog-Rock Circles, Dies at 70 (WBGO)
* Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Writing for Frank Sinatra (Rolling Stone)
* Online music is about to experience another MySpace moment (MusicXTechXFuture.com)
* Are Music Festival Lineups Getting Worse? (Pitchfork.com)
* Concert Review: 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute - Is this the last one? Trump's FY2018 budget proposal eliminates the NEA (Jazz Times)
* 'Jazz Is The Mother Of Hip-Hop': How Sampling Connects Genres (NPR)
* Jazz singer Gregory Porter is an ex-lineman with a blues-infused soul (TheUndefeated.com)
* Shorter, Bridgewater, Kamasi To Headline Detroit Jazz Festival (DownBeat)
* Wayne Shorter, "The Newark Flash," Recalls His Formative Years in the Ironbound and Beyond (WBGO)
* Songwriters ‘More Heavily Regulated Than Pharmaceutical Companies’ and Other Takeaways From ASCAP Expo (Variety)
* How Music on TV Actually Works, According to ‘The Leftovers’ and ‘FNL’ Music Supervisor (Pitchfork.com)
* New Orleans Jazz: Expanding the Tradition (Wall Street Journal)
* Vinyl fantasy: Is the record boom bad for new music? (FactMag.com)
* History of Muzak: Where Did All The Elevator Music Go? (WQXR)
* Those Timeless Tunes of the 1940s, ’60s, and ’80s (PSmag.com)
* Surface Noise (The Paris Review)
* Sylvia Moy, Motown songwriter who wrote hits for Stevie Wonder, dies at 78 (Los Angeles Times)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Site news: Post #4,500

Today, yr. humble editor must briefly pause our regularly scheduled blogging (pictured at left) to point out that this is post number 4,500 on St. Louis Jazz Notes.

Many thanks to all the readers, commenters and sources who have been part of this site since it began in April, 2005.

To mark the occasion of today's questionable achievement, please feel free to use the comments to offer your sincere congratulations, helpful suggestions, jeering taunts and/or bitter complaints.

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
SFJAZZ Collective plays Miles Davis



This week, it's time to check out some videos of the latest iteration of the SFJAZZ Collective, who will be here in St. Louis to perform starting next Wednesday, April 26 through Saturday, April 29 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Founded in 2004 as a sort of ever-evolving, all-star house band for the San Francisco presenter SFJAZZ, the group's lineup by design has changed considerably over the years, and currently features Miguel Zenón (alto sax), David Sánchez (tenor sax), Sean Jones (trumpet), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Warren Wolf (vibraphone), Edward Simon (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Obed Calvaire (drums).

Each year, the members come together to record an album, with each contributing two arrangements - one original, the other re-imagining a work from a specific composer chosen as the season's focal point.

That repertoire then serves as the basis for a subsequent tour, and when last seen here in St. Louis in March 2016 at the Bistro, the SFJAZZ Collective was playing the music of pop icon Michael Jackson. This year's featured composer is a lot closer to home for St. Louis listeners, since it's none other than the legendary trumpeter Miles Davis, who was born in Alton, grew up in East St. Louis, and played some of his first gigs here in St. Louis.

Recorded live in performances on October 20-23, 2016 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, the Collective's latest two-disc album features new arrangements of works composed by and associated with Davis, plus the new original compositions by members of the group.

To show how the project has evolved, today's collection of videos offers a look at SFJAZZ Collective both before and after the recording of their Miles Davis album, starting up top with a brief promotional clip featuring quotes about Davis from several of the musicians.

After the jump, you can see them performing "Milestones" as part of an event last May at the SFJAZZ Center revealing Davis as this season's featured composer.

Next, you can see and hear three selections, starting with "So What," from a show the Collective did on the corporate campus of YouTube just a week before making the album.

That's followed by a playlist assembling a full show recorded in Milan, Italy two weeks later, after the album was recorded.

For more about the SFJAZZ Collective's take on Miles Davis, you can read a review of the show at which album was recorded from AllAboutJazz.com's David Becker, and check out some of the advance press for the album and tour featuring quotes from Obed Calvaire, Matt Penman , and Miguel Zenon.

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* This Saturday, April 22 is the 10th annual celebration of Record Store Day, and as in recent years, yr. StLJN editor once again will be taking part by doing a "guest DJ" stint at Vintage Vinyl, spinning tunes inside the U City store for an hour starting at 4:00 p.m. (If you look closely at the event poster (pictured), you can even see my name in small type at the lower right.)

As usual, VV and their fellow music retailers in St. Louis have a full day of activities, live music, giveaways and more planned for RSD, and you can get an overview of who's doing what via Kevin Johnson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

* Are you, or do you know, an accountant with an appreciation for jazz? If so, your dream job could be waiting, as Jazz St. Louis is looking for a Chief Financial Officer. You can find out more about the job and how to apply here

* The second annual Make Music Day St. Louis festival, the relatively recent local addition to a long-running, worldwide event marking the summer solstice, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21. Musicians and venues interested in participating can find more information at www.makemusicstl.org.

* Trumpeter Sean Jones, a frequent visitor to St. Louis in recent years, is preparing to put out his first-ever  live album, which was recorded here at Jazz at the Bistro. Set to be released by Mack Avenue Records on Friday, May 26, the aptly titled Live from Jazz at the Bistro features Jones' working band of the past 12 years and is available for pre-order now.

* The group of musicians from the STL Free Jazz Collective, Vernacular String Trio, and others recording under the "Secret Sessions" banner have released another album as a pay-what-you-will download on Bandcamp.  

* Trumpeter Adam Hucke of the Funky Butt Brass Band (and various other local ensembles) is the subject of a feature story in this week's Riverfront Times. Hucke will celebrate the release of his first solo album Madam, I'm Adam with a show Sunday night at the Old Rock House.

* The date is set for the 2017 Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival, which will take place from noon to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 in the area around the intersection of Lockwood and Gore in Webster Groves' "Old Webster" business district. The festival's lineup of bands will be announced at a later date.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jazz this week: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, tributes to Oliver Nelson and Ella Fitzgerald, a new weekly jam session, and more

As Jazz Appreciation Month 2017 moves past the halfway point, the calendar of live jazz and creative music performances here in St. Louis takes a turn toward the historic, with events scheduled to pay tribute to St. Louis' own Oliver Nelson, as well as to Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Dizzy Gillespie, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, April 19
The Saxquest Jazz Orchestra will play the music of saxophonist, composer and St. Louis native Oliver Nelson for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

The nine-piece band (three reeds, three brass, three rhythm) will perform material from throughout Nelson's career, with an emphasis on works addressing topics of civil rights and social justice, including "I Hope In Time A Change Will Come," "Emancipation Blues" and "The Kennedy Dream Suite," as well as songs from Nelson's most famous album Blues and the Abstract Truth.

Also on Wednesday, the weekly jam session hosted by pianist Curt Landes, bassist Glen Smith, and drummer Chuck Kennedy continues at @Nesby's in South County.

Thursday, April 20
Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly open mic night, now re-named "Broadway Open Mic," at its new home, the Curtain Call Lounge; and trumpeter Jim Manley and keyboardist Chris Swan play at The Pat Connolly Tavern.

Friday, April 21
The first of two nights of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival's public performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center will feature a tribute to Louis Armstrong, starring trumpeter Terrell Stafford, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonist Chris Vadala, and the UMSL Big Band directed by Jim Widner.

For more about the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, plus some videos of Stafford, Gordon, Vadala, and Saturday night's headliner, trumpeter Jon Faddis, (pictured, top left) see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Friday, Jazz St. Louis will celebrate the centennial of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald at Jazz at the Bistro with the first of two evenings of music associated with Fitzgerald as sung by Anita Jackson (pictured, bottom left), with help from drummer Montez Coleman, pianist Adaron “Pops” Jackson, bassist Bob DeBoo, and saxophonist Ben Reece.

Elsewhere around town, drummer Steve Davis, singer Feyza Eren, and band will perform at the Ozark Theatre; and Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, April 22
The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival concludes with a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dizzy Gillespie, featuring Gillespie's protege Jon Faddis and Friends, at the Touhill.

Sunday, April 23
Singer Chuck Flowers will perform in a late-afternoon matinee at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Monday, April 24
Dizzy Atmosphere will play swing and Gypsy jazz for diners at The Shaved Duck, and the Webster University Jazz Singers will present their final performance of the semester at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus. 

Tuesday, April 25 
Troy's Jazz Gallery begins a new, weekly Tuesday night jam session hosted by drummer Montez Coleman.

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.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lee Morgan documentary opening
Friday, April 28 at the Tivoli Theatre

I Called Him Morgan, the well-reviewed new documentary about the life and death of trumpeter Lee Morgan, is getting a St. Louis engagement, opening on Friday, April 28 at the Tivoli Theatre.

Morgan, a major trumpet star of the 1960s, first gained fame as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and later had a big pop hit with "The Sidewinder." He was shot dead when he was just 34 years old by his common-law wife, Helen, in February 1972 during a gig at Slugs', a club in New York City.

Described as "part true-crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat," I Called Him Morgan recounts the story of their volatile relationship and the killing, using an audio interview conducted with Helen more than 20 years later as the basis for the tale. 

The film, which was directed by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin and shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, who worked on the recent hits  Arrival and Selma, also includes archival photographs and footage, interviews with Morgan's friends and fellow musicians, and recordings of his music.

You can watch the trailer for I Called Him Morgan in the embedded window below, and see a Q&A with the director, recorded at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Session: April 16, 2017

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

* The Bad Plus Has Big News: Some Subtraction, Some Addition, For a Whole New Sum (WBGO)
* 14 Artists Proving Black Americana Is Real (Paste)
* A History of Puerto Rican Salsa (Afropop.org)
* The Paradigm Shifts of Album Artwork (NYUNews.com)
* A Gathering of Orchestras in D.C. (The New Yorker)
* Why Music Services Are Wasting Time Recommending New Music (Forbes)
* Brent Assink Maneuvered the S.F Symphony Through the Early 21st Century. Here is What He Learned (San Francisco Classical Voice)
* Chuck Berry Laid to Rest at All-Star St. Louis Memorial (Rolling Stone)
* Marshall Chess on Chuck Berry's Funeral: The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton Should Have Been There (Billboard)
* How Bang On A Can Rejuvenated New York’s Improvisational Spirit (Bandcamp.com)
* John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music (OpenCulture.com)
* Three Jazz Artists Harmoniously and Creatively Blending Arabic and Western Music (Soundfly.com)
* Guitarist J. Geils found dead in Groton home (Boston Globe)
* Skilled But Shy Musician Jay Geils Remembered As Setting The Bar For Rock 'N' Roll (WBUR)
* Sax linked to Martin Luther King Jr.'s last words hidden in Memphis closet (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
* Five Things You Probably Didn't Know About Les Paul (MusicAficionado.com)
* Frank Kimbrough: A Dark, Rainy Sunday in May (Jazz Times)
* Reassessing Ella: 'The First Lady of Song' at 100 (Chicago Tribune)
* America’s “Secret Sonic Weapon” Against Communism (MessyNessyChic.com)
* I couldn’t tell that this was a robot singing Duke Ellington’s signature song (QZ.com)
* The Big Man with the Big Sound–Remembering Arthur Blythe (1940-2017) (New Music Box)
* Barry ‘Frosty’ Smith, renowned Austin drummer, dies after long illness (Austin360.com)
* Hear Jazz Supergroup Hudson Cover Bob Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' (Rolling Stone)
* Q&A: Shabaka Hutchings - The rising sax star on Pharoah Sanders, jazz’s African roots, the London scene and more (Jazz Times)
* Art Talk with Guitarist Mary Halvorson (arts.gov)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
2017 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival



This week, let's take a look at some videos of the headlining musicians for the 2017 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, which will take place next Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The event actually begins on Thursday with a day devoted to adjudicated performances by jazz bands from area high schools, along with clinics for student musicians, followed by the public concerts on Friday and Saturday at the Touhill.

This year, Friday's concert is billed as a tribute to Louis Armstrong, and will feature trumpeter Terell Stafford, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and saxophonist/flutist Chris Vadala, along with the University of Missouri-St. Louis Big Band directed by bassist Jim Widner, who heads both the festival and UMSL's jazz program.

On Saturday, the concert will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dizzy Gillespie by featuring one of his more notable proteges, trumpeter Jon Faddis "and Friends," which for this occasion will include Stafford, Vadala, trombonist Andre Hayward, drummer Ignacio Berroa, and trumpeter Nick Marchione, plus the UMSL Big Band.

You can see Stafford in the first video up above, a full set of music paying tribute to trumpeter Lee Morgan that was recorded in October 2016 at Dizzy's Club in NYC's Jazz at Lincoln Center. Stafford is accompanied by his close friend and fellow Philadelphia native Tim Warfield on tenor sax, Bruce Barth on piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Billy Williams on drums.

After the jump, you can see a full set of music featuring Gordon, also recorded at Dizzy's Club in November of last year. Joining Gordon are Adrian Cunningham (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Ehud Asherie (piano), Corcoran Holt (bass), and Alvin Atkinson Jr. (drums), plus guest trombonist Corey Wilcox.

Finding recent, high-quality clips of Vadala was something of a challenge. Since he's a very active clinician with high school and college jazz programs - he was last here in St. Louis in 2012 working with students from Webster Groves High School and Western Illinois University - there are dozens of amateur shaky-cam videos of him on YouTube performing as guest soloist with various student groups all around the country, but most of them devote as much time to the ensembles as to Vadala, or have audio/video quality below even StLJN's rather forgiving standards.

In the end, the best available, recently shot, close-up showcase for Vadala seemed to be the next two clips, which feature him playing with a band called the Eastern Standard Time Jazz Quartet at the 2016 Takoma Park JazzFest in Maryland.

Finally, you can check out a couple of clips of Faddis, first doing a dueling-trumpets thing with Wynton Marsalis on an arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's "Things To Come," and then playing Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" with the Barcelona Jazz Orquestra.

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