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Jazz This Week: Christian McBride and Peter Martin, Hamiet Bluiett, the Cunninghams, Garage a Trois, Ben Sidran, and More


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The fall presenting season of jazz and creative music in St. Louis gets off to a fast start this week, with season openers from three different concert series; homecoming visits from some St. Louis natives; and two local musicians with international reputations playing on local stages. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, Cabaret St. Louis opens its season with actress and singer Linda Purl's show “Come Rain or Come Shine," which runs through Saturday at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Then on Thursday, the jazz vocal duo The Cunninghams, featuring St. Louis native, multi-instrumentalist and Gaslight Square veteran Don Cunningham, make their way from their current home in Las Vegas back to the Gateway City for a concert at the Sheldon Concert Hall. For more about them and Don Cunningham's history in St. Louis, see this post.

Also on Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University begins its fall schedule with a free outdoor concert on Brookings Quadrangle featuring the St. Louis Nu-Jazz Quintet.

On Friday, guitarist Eric Slaughter and his trio begin a two-night stand to open the fall season at Jazz at the Bistro; and the jazz-influenced experimental rock band Ahleuchatistas plays at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center.

Also on Friday, Robbie's House of Jazz will kick off their first-anniversary weekend with guitarist Daryl Darden, a St. Louis native who's back from California for a visit. Then on Saturday, the club presents baritone sax giant Hamiet Bluiett (pictured), who played for their opening weekend a year ago, with keyboardist Reggie Thomas. Bluiett is unquestionably one of the all-time great baritone saxophonists in jazz history, and any opportunity to hear him play, especially in an intimate venue like Robbie's, is worth seizing. It's a bit problematic this weekend, though, because Bluiett isn't the only internationally known St. Louis musician gigging locally on Saturday.

That same evening, pianist Peter Martin will continue his eponymous series at the Sheldon Concert Hall via a duo performance with bassist Christian McBride. McBride is one of the most in-demand bassists on the music scene, and you can read more about him (and see and hear samples of his playing) here and here. To make this performance extra-special, Martin says they're planning on doing it without microphones—something possible only in an acoustically superior venue like the Sheldon, which was designed before mics and PA systems were even invented.

Choosing between the two aforementioned shows is tough, but I suppose one could always catch Martin and McBride, then hustle out to Webster Groves for Bluiett's second set, and in any event, there are worse problems to have. And as if that weren't enough for one evening, Saturday is also the night singer Denise Thimes headlines a benefit for the United Way at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club holds its annual picnic at the Concord Farmer's Club, 10140 Concord School Rd, with traditional jazz, swing and ragtime music from the Big Little Big Band, the St. Louis Banjo Club, and Bud Schulz and the You Can't Beat Experience Jazz Band with Polly Waddell.

That evening, pianist and singer Ben Sidran comes to town to talk and play at Kol Am Temple, 1023 Chesterfield Parkway in Chesterfield, with a CD and book signing to follow and KWMU's Dennis Owsley as MC.

Then on Monday, guitarist Steve Schenkel and friends perform at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium, and on Tuesday, the jam/funk/fusion band Garage A Trois takes the stage at the Old Rock House. (You can see some videos of Garage A Trois here.)

For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the “Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(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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