July is usually a slow time for jazz in the St. Louis area, but this year there are a few more choices than usual. Jazz at the Bistro
has extended its season through June and into July, and Finale is presenting several worthwhile jazz events as well.
The Greg Osby Four come to the bistro on Friday and Saturday, July 6th and 7th. It's a homecoming for St. Louis native Osby, who will also feature young area native Tommy Crane in his quartet. The following week, another saxophonist from a different generation, Red Holloway performs sets on July 13th and 14th. Holloway, who is still going strong at the age of 80, has played with everyone from Dexter Gordon and Billie Holiday to B.B. King and Muddy Waters. But Holloway is probably best know for his work in the late 1970s and early '80s with sax great Sonny Stitt. Both of those shows are being presented in association with Washington University's NEH Summer Institute, "Teaching Jazz as American Culture. July 20th and 21st, guitarist Russell Malone, who has performed frequently at the Bistro as a leader as well as with the band of Diana Krall and as a duo with pianist Bennie Green, returns with his quartet. As usual at the Bistro, sets each evening at 8:30 and 10:15
The July schedule at Finale has some interesting musical offerings. Saxophonists Tim Cunningham and Rod Tate appear on Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 21. Vocalist/pianist Anita Rosamond leads an all-star band in a salute to Divas of the '60s and '70s on Saturday, July 14 that will feature her in a more pop and R&B setting than her previous shows at Finale, Jazz at the Bistro and the Saint Louis Jazz & Heritage festival. Vibes player Joe Bozzi plays the club on Friday, July 27.
There's only one jazz event at the Sheldon Concert Hall this month. It's billed as the Cunninghams Coming Home Concert and takes place on Thursday, July 12. The event marks the first time that Don Cunningham, a St. Louis native and a veteran performer at Gaslight Square clubs in the early 1960s before moving to Los Angeles in 1969. It was there that he teamed up with vocalist Alicia Rodriquez, eventually marrying her and forming the Cunninghams duo. Cunningham will reunite with former members of his St. Louis quartet such as Marion miller and Manny Quintero.
This year's Saint Louis Jazz & Heritage Festival was held on June 2nd this year, and if you go to the Festival's website, you can read my review of the event for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Weather was a real problem this year, with a major thunderstorm rolling through the Festival area at Shaw Park in Clayton in the early afternoon. But despite the two-hour delay caused by the wind and rain, all the major acts played as scheduled, with Poncho Sanchez and Ramsey Lewis turning in strong sets. It was the first time the festival has gone to a one day event. Past Fests have always opened on Friday evening and run through Saturday. Evidently, the Fest will stick with the one day format in 2008 as well, with the event scheduled for Saturday, June 1, 2008.
Check out many more listings for the fine local jazz musicians appearing in the St. Louis area in July at Dean Minderman's St. Louis Jazz Notes.