May marks the end of the 2004-05 performance season at Jazz at the Bistro as well as the Sheldon Concert Hall. In addition, concert series at local universities are retooling for the fall semester as well. Here in St. Louis, that puts most of the focus for jazz events on the local club scene with the exception of the annual U.S. Bank Saint Louis Jazz Festival, set for June 24 & 25 at Shaw Park in Clayton.
The lineup for the Fest hasn't officially been announced, but if you pay attention to the Internet and dig through some local sources, you can discover the artists lined up for the event. Here's a quick overview... On Friday the 24th, look for an emphasis on funk, smooth jazz and R&B. The tentative lineup opens with Los Hombres Calientes, the New Orleans band led by Bill Summers on percussion and trumpet player Irvin Mayfield. Also on Friday's bill of fare "Summer Storm a lineup that includes smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown and saxophonist Everett Harp along with soulful vocalists Peabo Bryson and Brenda Russell. For those who prefer their jazz a bit more "al dente, Saturday's tentative lineup features trumpet greats Dave Douglas with his quintet and Roy Hargrove leading his genre-bending RH Factor band. Add talented singer Jane Monheit (probably on Saturday as well), and that day's lineup looks appealing. The official lineup should be announced within the week. Check out the Fest's website for more info.
Jazz at the Bistro wraps up its season with a strong lineup that features Erin Bode this Friday and Saturday, as she preps for some east coast gigs in Washington (Kennedy Center, 5/13), Philadelphia (New World Café (5/17) and New York (Joe's Pub 5/18 with Rebecca Martin) and recording sessions for her next MAXJAZZ recording in Brooklyn. Perennial Bistro fave Freddy Cole returns to the club May 11-14, and the Yellowjackets kick up the energy level May 25-28. Don't forget Regina Carter's rescheduled performances at the Bistro June 1-4. And if you want a preview of next season's 10th anniversary lineup, show up at the free open house on May 20 & 21, where you can hear Bistro operations manager Bob Bennett cut loose on sax. For more info, go to jatb.
On the club scene, Finale in Clayton features guitarist Stanley Jordan May 19-21. Pianist Gene Lynn teams up with vocalist Jeanne Trevor to recreate some of the magic of the Gaslight Square scene at the venue on May 26 and 27. For the full Finale schedule, check out Finale St. Louis.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.