Jazz This Week: A Gaslight Square Tribute, Mel Bay Jazz Festival, Storm Large, Tatsuya Nakatani, and More


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This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in around St. Louis once again offers plenty of variety, from big bands to cabaret to free improv to a nostalgic look at an historic time for local music. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a tribute to Gaslight Square, beginning with a panel discussion featuring trumpeter Bob Ceccarini, saxophonist Freddie Washington and pianist Dave Venn, who all played various clubs in the famed entertainment district during the 1960s.

That's followed by a free concert featuring Ceccarini, clarinetist Scott Alberici, trombonist Wayne Coniglio, guitarist (and series curator) William Lenihan, bassist Eric Stiller and drummer Steve Davis.

Also tonight, the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly “Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music; and down in Jefferson County, the second annual Mel Bay Jazz Festival gets underway with a performance by guitarist Larry Bay's group Sugar Moon at Lorenzo’s Italian Kitchen in De Soto.

The Mel Bay fest continues on Friday with a performance featuring the event's two visiting headliners, guitarist Sheryl Bailey and singer Lena Seikaly, at Fojo Studio, also in DeSoto.

Also on Friday, Los Angeles-based guitarist Tim Fischer leads a quartet at Cigar Inn; singer Joe Mancuso brings his quartet to Nathalie's; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will present an all-stringed-instruments lineup at Thurman Grill; Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and guitarist Brian Vaccaro's trio will host a jam session at The Wolf.

The Mel Bay Jazz Festival then wraps up on Saturday, with a lunchtime performance by Sheryl Bailey at Fountain City Grille, and the grand finale showcase that evening featuring Bailey, Lena Seikaly, and Joe Mancuso at LaChance Vineyards.

Meanwhile, back in St. Louis on Saturday night, singer Storm Large will kick off this fall's edition of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival with a performance of her show “Le Bonheur (Good Times)" at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Also on Saturday; the Coleman Hughes Project with singer Adrienne Felton will play smooth jazz and R&B at Harry's Restaurant and Bar; The Sidemen perform at Evangeline's; pianist Carolbeth True is at The Wine Press; guitarist Tom Byrne leads a quartet at the Ozark Theatre; and the Funky Butt Brass Band plays at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

On Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band will play their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company, with an intermission set by the University of Missouri Concert Jazz Band, who will be in from Columbia for the evening.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday singer Dean Christopher will return with his “Rat Pack & More" show featuring trumpeter Jim Manley to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; and saxophonist “Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will be back at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Then on Tuesday, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani (pictured) returns to Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center to lead an improvisation workshop for local musicians, followed by a collective performance featuring Nakatani and the workshop participants. (The workshop, which has 10 openings, costs $15 to $20 on a sliding scale, with dinner provided. For more information, contact LNAC's Tom Hill at tomhill.tch at gmail.com.)

Also on Tuesday, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra will play in a “Notes From Home" concert at The Sheldon; and trumpeter Keith Moyer will return to BB's.

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