Okay, I know. April is almost halfway over and I'm just getting around to telling you what's up with jazz in St. Louis this month. My excuse? Taxes. I'm the ultimate procrastinator when it comes to doing 'emmaybe because the tax laws were definitely not designed to be user-friendly for self-employed writers.
But I'm taking a break to get this update out because there's some pretty tasty stuff happening the rest of April on the Gateway City jazz scene. The major event of the month is the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festivalheld at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on April 21 and 22. This annual event seems to get a little bigger and better every year. As usual, the GSTLJF places plenty of emphasis on education, with at least 14 area high school and community college bands and combos participating in performance sessions during the Festival. The performance sessions will take place Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for combos, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday for orchestras at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL's campus. Admission is free for both days.
Evening performances Friday at Jazz at the Bistro and Saturday at Touhill will feature a lineup of top notch jazz musicians. Friday at the Bistro, you can catch drummer Jeff Hamilton, saxophonist Tim Ries, Scott Whitfield and Tom Matta on trombone, Clay Jenkins and Jay Saunders on trumpet, bass player and UMSL Jazz Studies faculty members Jim Widner on bass and Ken Kehner on piano at Jazz at the Bistro in performances at 8:30 and 10:45 p.m. Opening each set for this all-star band will be some outstanding high school musicians the THF Realty Student Ensemble, chosen in a competition conducted by Jazz at the Bistro every year. Tickets are $25, and only $10 for students with valid I.D.
The major attraction Saturday is jazz legend and St. Louis homey Clark Terry. He'll be playing at Touhill with the UMSL Jazz Ensemble directed by Widner. Terry will also be joined during the performance by Jenkins, Ries, Saunders, Matta, Whitfield and Kehner. Tickets for that concert are $20, $15 and $10.
Jazz at the Bistro also has some other excellent jazz events in April, with appearances by Don Byron April 12-16... and Kenny Barron April 26-29. Both Byron and Barron will be working in trio settingsByron with pianist Geroge Colligan and drummer Ben Perowsky, and Barron with longtime compatriots Ray Drummond on bass and Ben Eiley on drums. By the way Barron will also be performing at Murry's in Columbia, MO Sunday as part of the We Always Swing Jazz Series.
The Sheldon Concert Hall season winds down with a tribute to St. Louis legend Josephine Bakerperformed by modern day great Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Check out Much more April jazz on St. Louis Jazz Notes, a blog created by local musician and writer, Dean Minderman. Now it's back to those tax returns...