July Jazz Calendar Sizzles


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Now that the annual U.S. Bank Saint Louis Jazz & Heritage Festival has concluded, you might expect happenings on the St. Louis jazz scene to slow down during July. That's what usually seems to happen every summer... but not this time. This July, the jazz events just keep on coming, thanks to three appearances by female vocalists at Jazz at the Bistro, a pair of smooth jazz concerts at The Pageant, and quite a few jazz bookings at Finale. Add a rare jazz concert at Principia College in nearby Elsah, Illinois featuring Ramsey Lewis, and you've got a full July jazz calendar.

Jazz at the Bistro usually is dark during the summer, but several jazz events were booked there last summer, and the trend continues this July. For three consecutive Friday and Saturdays this month, the Bistro will highlight female vocalists. Pyeng Threadgill, daughter of jazz great Henry Threadgill, plays on July 7th and 8th. Local favorite Erin Bode is featured July 14th and 15th, and Italian singer/songwriter/pianist Chiara Civello wraps up the series July 21st and 22nd.

Plenty more to choose from on July 14th as well. That's also the date for the first of two smooth jazz events at the Pageant that are being billed as Rick Sanborn's Smooth Summer Party. The concert on the 14th is being called Guitars and Saxophones, and features the combination of Gerald Albright, Richard Eliott, Jeff Golub and Peter White as headliners. The following Friday, July 21, it's the Rendezvous All Stars, featuring Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Wayman Tisdale and Brian Simpson. In addition, St. Louis jazz legend Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum (Kirk's uncle) will be featured as well.

Finale seems especially busy with jazz bookings this month as well. The talented, always entertaining Roseanna Vitro plays at Finale Friday, July 7th, followed by up-and- coming young vocalist Harmony Fernandez, who will be backed by outstanding bassist Tom Kennedy on Thursday the 13th. Pianist Beegie Adair from Nashville headlines both Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th at the club... and outstanding local guitarist Dave Black debuts his new CD, Destinations, at Finale.

Finally, on Saturday, July 29th, the great Ramsey Lewis and his trio will be performing at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. The concert will be held at Cox Auditorium on campus, the show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available through MetroTix outlets .

As usual, for much more July jazz listing in the area check out St. Louis Jazz Notes, a blog created by local musician and writer, Dean Minderman. By the way, you'll also find a nice overview of all the performances at the Saint Louis Jazz Festival there as well.

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