Jazz this week: A tribute to Ray Kennedy, "Music at the Intersection," Marquis Hill, Mike Dillon Band, and more


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If you're trying to shake the mid-summer doldrums after some punishing heat and humidity over the past few days in St. Louis, getting out to hear some live jazz and creative music could be just the thing.

This weekend's musical menu features a benefit for the family of a well-known local musician, a visit from a fast-rising trumpet talent, a free evening of music at multiple venues in Grand Center, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 15

Warming up for next week's St. Louis Cabaret Conference, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly “Open Mic Night" at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Thursday, July 16

Drummer Maurice Carnes leads a quintet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; guitarist Dave Black and friends, with singer Feyza Eren, perform at Nathalie’s, and singer Joe Mancuso and pianist Nick Schlueter will boldly go where no jazz musician has gone before with a happy-hour show at the dueling-piano bar Jive and Wail in Westport Plaza.

Friday, July 17

“A Celebration of the Life & Music of Ray Kennedy," featuring singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli's trio along with his dad, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, at the Sheldon Concert Hall will pay tribute to the late St. Louis pianist and raise money for his widow and two young daughters.

Also on Friday, Grand Center presents the first evening of its new “Music at The Intersection" series, this month featuring free sets by local jazz and blues acts at eight different venues throughout the district. 

That same evening, the St. Louis Big Band plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and the trio of pianist Jim Hegarty, bassist Paul Steinbeck, and drummer Gary Sykes will play the music of Miles Davis, Oliver Nelson, and more at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton.

Saturday, July 18

St. Louis Community College-Meramec and Saxquest present a day-long “Saxfest" on the Meramec campus with workshops and performances from saxophonists Paul DeMarinis, Christopher Braig, Jason Swagler, Arthur White, Jeffrey Collins, and more. Following the events at Meramac, Braig also will lead a quartet for an evening after-party at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Also on Saturday evening, singer Anita Jackson will perform at Jazz at the Bistro; Gypsy jazz quartet Franglais plays at Evangeline's; pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True return to the Ozark Theatre; and pianist Matt Villinger, who's moving to Kansas City shortly, will present a “going-away" show at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Sunday, July 19

Chicago-based trumpeter Marquis Hill (pictured, lower left), winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, will be in town to raise funds for Community Women Against Hardship with a performance at the Ferring Jazz Bistro.

Billed as “A Tribute to Freddie Hubbard," the benefit will feature Hill fronting a group of St. Louisans including Villinger, Jerome “Scrooge" Harris (drums), Jeff Anderson (bass), and Chad Evans (alto sax).

Also on Sunday, percussionist Mike Dillon and band will headline an all-ages matinee also featuring The Feed and Richie Kihlken Band at 2720 Cherokee.

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