Jazz This Week: Bag II's Farewell, Good 4 the Soul, Bhob Rainey, Randy Holmes, and More


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Looking to hear some jazz or creative music amid the holiday hustle and bustle? Here's what's going on in St. Louis over the next few days:

Tonight, free-improvising saxophonist Bhob Rainey (pictured) will perform a solo concert at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. You can see a couple of short video samples of Rainey's playing here. (The Tuesday night jazz series at The Gramophone is on pause this week as the club hosts a private party.)

On Friday and Saturday, the band Good 4 The Soul brings their fusion of jazz, r&b, funk, soul and gospel influences to Jazz at the Bistro. Also on Friday, singer Kim Massie will be at Brandt's, and saxophonist Dave Stone and his trio play at Mangia Italiano.

On Saturday, trumpeter Randy Holmes and his trio offer a tribute to trumpeter and singer Chet Baker to wrap up the free “Birth of the Cool" concert series at the Kemper Museum on the Washington University campus, and saxophonist Willie Akins will, as far as we know, be doing his usual Saturday thing at Spruill's.

Sunday brings another free concert, as BAG II gives its farewell presentation at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site featuring music from Zimbabwe Nkenya; poetry from Shirley LeFlore, Michael Castro and others; and more. It's a shame the new incarnation of BAG is coming to an end; here's hoping that Nkenya and the others who have been involved in the organization will stay active on the local scene.

Looking beyond the weekend, singer Erin Bode and her band will appear at the restaurant Revival, 3800 Chouteau, on Tuesday night. That same evening, The Gramophone is hosting what's being billed as the “Jazz St. Louis open jam"; for the latest info, go directly to their Web site.

As for New Year's Eve activities, an initial survey of the available options here in the Gateway City suggests a meager number of choices that are of specific interest to jazz fans. As has been the case for the last several years, Jazz at the Bistro will be dark on NYE as the First Night event takes over the Grand Center neighborhood.

This year's F irst Night lineup (.pdf file) does have some performers of interest, including Kim Massie, the Nuclear Percussion Ensemble, Farshid Etniko, Jeanne Trevor, El Caribe Tropical, and the Urban Groove Project. However, as anyone who's been knows, the First Night experience is qualitatively quite different from going to a club, concert or hotel, and thus may not be your particular cup o' tea.

Local concert stages are, for the most part, dark as well on New Year's Eve, though The Sheldon once again will be a venue for First Night. Looking at some of the clubs around town that regularly feature jazz, it seems that Brandt's, which last NYE featured a triple bill of Trevor, “Peanuts" Whalum and Mae Wheeler, is going with rock/Latin/pop singer Javier Mendoza this year, while The Gramophone will feature funk band Hazard To Your Booty. There's still some research to do with regard to jazz-related NYE options at local hotels and restaurants, though, and so look for updated info on that in a future post.

In the meantime, you can find more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond by visiting the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

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