Yes, jazz is still happening in St. Louis, despite the fact I didn't write a column in August. Which brings up the question... if the local daily decides to write about Nelly buying a new ride to some hippity-hoppin exclusive party instead of the concert at the Fox Theater featuring a very nice double bill of Chris Botti opening for Diana Krall in late August... does that mean that music never really happened?
Somehow, I can still remember some very tasty solos by the likes of Botti and his band (University City's Peter Martin on piano and keyboards, Mark Whitfield on guitar, bassist James Genus and the always amazing Billy Kilson on drums)... plus Krall killin' it on piano joined by guitarist Anthony Wilson (son of the legendary composer/band leader Gerald Wilson), Robert Hurst on bass and the impeccable Jeff Hamilton on percussion. I'm bettin' it really did... because I saw about 4,000 other people diggin' it.
But hey, let's not dwell in the past. All the season concert series are cranking up again, and here's what's on the horizon...
Jazz at the Bistro is already up and running, featuring Mary Stallings last weekend. Now things really heat up when Lovejoy, Illinois native Hamiet Bluiett... the premiere baritone saxophonist on the planet... brings his own band into the Bistro this Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15. Bluiett will be backed by a fine band featuring Reggie Thomas on keyboards, Curtis lundy on bass and Lee Pearson on drums. The following week, legendary drummer Roy Haynes headlines at the Bistro from Thursday through Saturday, September 19-22. The following week, the Average White Band hits the bistro for a one-nighter on Thursday, September 27, and you can expect the funk to be flyin'! St. Louis music legend Peanuts Whalum rounds out the month with appearances at the club on Friday and Saturday, September 28 and 29.
This year's Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival returns this Saturday, September 15, and the free event has another strong lineup. For the seventh annual Fest, the name has changed to include blues in the title, something that's been reflected in the music lineup for many years anyway. Highlights this year include the Anita Rosamond Group, the Johnnie Johnson Band with guests Kim Massie and Brian Owens, Wild, Cool & Swingin', Gumbohead and bands from the faculty of the Webster University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville jazz studies departments.
And don't forget the KMOX Jazz and Wine Festival on September 29 at Faust Park in Chesterfield. Kim Massie and the Anita Rosamond Group are performing, as are the Bosman Twins and Denise Thimes.
RIFFS Several jazz performances are on tap at Finale in Clayton this month as well. The Dave Fatek Organ Quartet tenor battle featuring Tim Stamps is scheduled for September 20, Wild, Cool & Swingin' hit the club on September /21, and Randy holmes and Hard bop Heritage pay a musical Tribute to John Coltrane On September 22.
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.