Jazz This Week: Billy Childs Quartet, Tatsuya Nakatani, Mephista, Arturo Sandoval, and More


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It's another busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a couple of notable concerts of adventurous improvised music, plus an all-star quartet of modern mainstream players, a top Latin-jazz trumpeter, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, pianist Billy Childs' quartet begins a four-night engagement, continuing through Saturday, at Jazz at the Bistro. Though Childs may be the nominal leader, it's something of an all-star band, with drummer Brian Blade, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson and bassist Scott Colley bringing together a rather eclectic menu of influences, ranging from straight-ahead jazz to rock and pop to experimental. For more about Childs, including a video interview and some performance footage, check out this post from last Saturday.

Also tonight, singer Joe Mancuso leads a quartet with Carolbeth True (piano), Willem von Hombracht (bass) and Kevin Gianino (drums) at Frontenac Grill

Tomorrow night, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani returns to St. Louis, this time teaming with bassist Darin Gray and dancer/choreographer Vanessa Skantze for a concert at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center exploring the intersection of improvised music and the Japanese performance form called Butoh.

Also on Thursday, poet Eileen G'sell and guitarist William Lenihan's trio will join forces for “Stories: The New Beat Generation," a free concert of poetry and improvised music for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

On Friday, Lindy Hop St. Louis will present another in their series of monthly swing dances at the Mahler Ballroom, with music from Miss Jubilee and the Bella Rue Jazz Band. Also on Friday, the Willie Akins/Montez Coleman quartet is at Robbie's House of Jazz; trumpeter Jim Manley plays at One 19 North Tapas Bar & Restaurant; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes are at Highway 61 Roadhouse; and drummer Paul Shaw leads a trio with bassist Bob DeBoo and vibraphonist Tom Rickard at Cigar Inn

Saturday,  the trio Mephista, featuring pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, electronic musician Ikue Mori, and percussionist Susie Ibarra, will perform at 560 Music Center in a concert presented by New Music Circle. Given the three musicians' diverse range of experiences, from classical to punk rock to avant-jazz, this is a tough concert to pigeonhole, stylistically speaking, but definitely recommended for fans of creative improvised music.

Also on Saturday, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval (pictured) returns to St. Louis to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The Cuban native, who last performed here in 2006 at jazz at the Bistro, first became known in this country as a member of the Latin jazz/fusion group Irakere, and also benefited early in his career from the friendship and mentoring of trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie. On his own, he's become both an in-demand leader of his own combo and a frequent guest soloist with big bands and classical orchestras.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday saxophonist Paul Demarinis will bring his group to Webster University's Moore Auditorium, and drummer Joe Pastor's trio plays at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. Then on Tuesday, guitarist Dave Black and his band will be at BB's. 

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