Jazz This Week: Denise Thimes, Mike Dillon, Bach to the Future, and More


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Although there seems to be only one touring musician of significance on the local jazz and creative music calendar for this final weekend of June, there also are at least a dozen noteworthy shows featuring St. Louis musicians happening over the next few days. Here's a quick look at what's coming up...

Tonight, percussionist Mike Dillon, of Garage a Trois and the Dead Kenny Gs, is scheduled to perform at 2720 Cherokee. Dillon, who lives in New Orleans, was just here last month with the DKGs, and there's been little advance word about exactly what he's got planned for this show, or who might be playing with him. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of his other projects, you'll probably want to check it out regardless.

Also tonight, singer Ralph Butler is at Robbie's House of Jazz; the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly “Avant-Garde Arts Night," featuring live improvised music; and it's the start of the final weekend for Stages St. Louis' production of the Fats Waller musical Ain't Misbehavin', which features an on-stage, seven-piece band of local jazz players led by pianist Adaron “Pops" Jackson. The run will wrap up with performances on Thursday and Friday and two shows, a matinee and an evening performance, on both Saturday and Sunday.

Tomorrow night, singer Denise Thimes (pictured) opens a weekend of performances at Jazz at the Bistro. With Jeanne Trevor seemingly eased into semi-retirement, Thimes probably now is the leading local practitioner of the classic style of jazz singing made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and no doubt will draw a good crowd at the Bistro.

Also on Friday, the Ambassadors of Swing will play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; saxophonist Jim Stevens is at Robbie's; and saxophonist Tim Cunningham returns to Jazz on Broadway. That same evening, guitarist Tom Byrne's trio plays at the Cigar Inn, and the Dogtown All-Stars will play a free outdoor show for the Old Orchard Gazebo Series in Webster Groves.

On Saturday, there's a triple bill of St. Louis-based jazz-fusion groups at Focal Point, featuring Bach to the Future, Derek Lauer and Blue Fusion, and Randy Hetlage and Morphelonious; and bassist Willem von Hombracht and singer Hannah McDonald will play at Robbie's.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday Tom Byrne's Pat Metheny-inspired group, the musically accomplished but quixotically punctuated Have You Heard?, will be at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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