Fall on the St. Louis Jazz Scene
September's Labor Day holiday marks the final end of the summer season, but that date is definitely good news for area jazz fans. September also means that Jazz at the Bistro, the Sheldon Concert Hall, Washington University's Edison Theater series and free Holmes Lounge jazz series, Webster University's jazz series and the University Of Missouri St. Louis' Touhill Performing Arts Center are all back presenting concerts after the summer break.
Jazz at the Bistro kicked into its regular schedule on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15 and 16, with performances by St. Louis vocalist Denise Thimes. The first in a series of "Spotlight" concerts designed to showcase top local talent on weekends in between national act appearance. Jane Monheit is the first of the national performers in the schedule, set for Wednesday through Saturday sets Sept. 20 through the 23. And pianist Geri Allen opens the Bistro's "Discovery" series Sept. 29 & 30, performances designed to highlight artists deserving wider recognition. As usual, sets at 8:30 and 10:15 each evening for all Jazz at the Bistro performances.
The Sheldon Concert Hall's regular jazz series doesn't officially begin until October with a performance by vocalist Tierney Sutton on Oct. 7, but there's plenty of jazz both on stage and in the Sheldon Art Galleries beginning on Sept. 29. In conjunction with the release of Dennis Owsley's book on the history of St. Louis jazz, City of Gabriels: A History of Jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973, a special exhibition of area jazz memorabilia and artifacts will be on display in the Art Gallery from Sept. 29 through August 25, 2007. In addition, an opening night concert that evening will feature Willie Akins, Randy Holmes, Carolbeth True and other St. Louis musicians. And that will be a prelude to a special series of jazz concerts in the Sheldon's "Notes From Home" series that kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 3 with vocalist Anita Rosamond.
At Washington University, the Edison Theater will host singer Dianne Reeves on Sept. 30, backed by St. Louisan Peter martin at the piano. The free Holmes Lounge jazz series at the university begins on Thursday Sept. 21 with an 8 p.m. performance by pianist Ptah Williams. Webster University's Jazz Series actually kicked off in August, and this month you can hear saxophonist and Webster U, Jazz Studies faculty member Paul DeMarinis leading a band at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25 at Moore Auditorium.
The Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri St. Louis will present a special tribute concert to the late trumpet legend, Maynard Ferguson on Wednesday, Sept. 20. The concert will feature musicians from Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau band as well as singer Diane Schuur.
Other jazz events this month include a performance by Jamie Cullum at the Pageant on Tuesday Sept. 26, and a concert by John Handy at the Best Western Airport Plaza Hotel on Friday, Sept. 29.
And don't forget the Old Webster Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Webster Groves. This free festival presents two stages full of fine music starting at noon that day and running through 10 p.m. The entertainment lineup on the main Gore Avenue Stage features Anita Rosamond at noon, followed by Erin Bode at 2, Swing Cat Swing at 4, the Webster University Jazz Band at 6 and guitarist Billy Peek at 8 p.m.
Trumpeter Jeremy Davenport will be winding up his lengthy stay at Busch's Grove this month to head back to New Orleans, where he was a mainstay on the local scene for years before Hurricane Katrina. You can catch Davenport at the Grove on Thursdays from 7 to 11p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 to 12:30 a.m. over the next two weeks before he heads back to New Orleans.
As usual, for many more September jazz listings for the fine local jazz musicians in the St. louis area, check out St. Louis Jazz Notes, a blog created by local musician and writer, Dean Minderman.