A couple of snow storms over the holiday season served as reminders of why the number of national acts rolling through St. Louis in January tends to drop. In winter, the St. Louis area usually doesn’t get much snow, so a big storm tends to be major news – and also seems to turn the local populace into couch potatoes instead of concertgoers at any sign of ice, sleet or snow. As a result, area concert promoters and club owners just aren’t as liable to book touring musicians at a time of year when freezing weather can put a major dent in attendance. Thankfully, concert series like those at Jazz at the Bistro and the Sheldon Concert Hall keep rolling along in January – and promise some hot evenings of jazz.
At the Bistro, saxophonist Chris Potter headlines Jan. 8-11... and the Jazz Composer’s Collective hits the stage from Jan. 22-25. Potter, who has released a dozen or so recordings over the past decade and won a fistful of awards in the process. Potter will be working at the Bistro with the all-star band that backed him on his latest release, Traveling Mercies on Verve. In addition to being great musicians in their own right, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Bill Stewart have all recorded as leaders as well.
The Jazz Composer’s Collective has been in existence since 1992, and the New York City-based group (which has included over 140 musicians over the last decade) focuses on bringing musicians from diverse styles and backgrounds together for recordings and concerts. Bassist and JCC founder Ben Allison will be featured at the Bistro in the company of pianist Frank Kimbrough, saxophonist Michael Blake, percussionist Michael Sarin and kora player Mamadou Diabate. This is the core group of musicians that played on Allison’s excellent 2002 Palmetto recording, Peace Pipe.
18-year-old pianist/vocalist Peter Cincotti makes his St. Louis debut the Sheldon on Jan. 25. A Manhattan native and sophomore at Columbia University, Cincotti is also set to release his debut recording on Concord Jazz in March. Harry Connick, Jr. – impressed by then seven-year-old Cincotti’s precocious talent as a singer and pianist – invited him onstage at an Atlantic City concert. Cincotti has also performed at the 2000 Montreux Jazz festival and played the Algonquin Room last year – the youngest performer to ever headline there. Presumably, he’ll be playing at the Sheldon in the company of saxophonist Scott Kreitzer, bassist David Finck and drummer Kenny Washington – the backing band on his upcoming CD.