After some computer problems on this end and server problems elsewhere over the last couple of months, Gateway Grooves returns to our task of showcasing the most interesting jazz events scheduled to hit the St. Louis area in the next few weeks. There’s definitely some strong music on the agenda – but those upcoming concerts definitely have some strong competition from October events like the Pat Metheny Trio’s visit to the Sheldon Concert Hall and Kenny Garrett’s performances at Jazz at the Bistro.
Metheny – in the company of bass ace Christian McBride and drummer extraordinaire Antonio Sanchez burned on a high flame for more than two hours at the Sheldon. And that doesn’t include an excellent half hour- plus solo set by Metheny that opened the show. If this trio is playing anywhere within several hours driving time, do whatever you can to get a ticket. One can only hope that a live recording comes out of this tour – it demands to be documented.
Garrett turned in his usual excellent performance on alto and soprano sax during his Bistro sets, but special mention has to go to young drummer Ronald Bruner. Only 20 or so, Bruner has incredible technique, a fine grasp of jazz tradition – and a hip-hop sensibility and style that adds something special to the music. Keep an eye out for Bruner – he’s going to be a major name in jazz for years to come.
Moving on to this month’s highlights, don’t miss Pat Martino in a return visit to JATB Nov. 5-8. He showcased his unique guitar style at the Bistro last year in a duo setting with pianist Jim Ridl, but this time he’s bringing a full quintet that should blow the doors off the club. Playing tenor sax will be Michael Pedicin, who appeared in the excellent documentary film, Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
The November JATB lineup also features the interesting pairing of Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner Nov. 19-22 and the return visit of University City home boy trumpeter Jeremy Davenport from New Orleans on Nov. 28-30. By the way, Thielemans and Werner will also be appearing at Murry’s in Columbia, MO on Sunday, Nov. 23 as part of the We Always Swing Jazz Series.
The duo concept will be on display at the Sheldon on Saturday, Nov. 8 with a rare appearance by Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Backed by guitarist Romero Lubambo, Souza will be recreating the ambiance of her Grammy-nominated recording, Brazilian Duos. The following Saturday at the Sheldon, Nov. 15, vibes player Stefon Harris and his quartet will perform. Shedon jazz events for the month conclude on nov. 30 with brothers Ray and Tom Kennedy reuniting to perform. Ray, of course, has been the pianist in the John Pizzarelli Trio for more than a decade, and Tom’s wolrd class bass playing has been on display in a variety of settings over the years.
Finally, big band fans will want to check out the Webster University Big Band at the Moore Auditorium on campus on Monday, Nov. 17. The concert will pay tribute to the music of Don Ellis, and is a benefit concert for the Donald O. Davis Memorial Scholarship. Admission is $10, but all high school and college students with a valid ID will get in free.
One of St. Louis’ musical legends, Oliver Sain, died last week after a lengthy battle with cancer. Sain never let the disease slow him down, however. Five days before his death, he was still playing his regular Thursday gig at B.B.’s Jazz, Blues & Soups. Sain’s musical niche was primarily in R&B and blues, but there were plenty of jazz influences in his sax playing. One of my favorite musical memories was sharing a table with Sain at Off Broadway one evening a few years ago when we both served as judges in a blues band contest. Sain was a fine musician – and a wonderful human being. A tribute concert is reportedly in the works.
For more info on these shows: Jazz at the Bistro: www.jatb.org Sheldon Concert Hall: www.sheldonconcerthall.org