Jazz This Week: DMS with George Duke, Marcus Miller and David Sanborn, the Cunninghams, Tony Suggs, and More


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This weekend's most noteworthy jazz and creative music performances in St. Louis are united by an element of homecoming, as three locals who have made good in the wider world will be back in town to play for the home folks. Here's what's happening:

On Friday, the vocal duo The Cunninghams return to St. Louis to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall, presenting a mix of straight-ahead swinging jazz, Latin percussion, and a bit of exotica. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Don Cunningham is a former St. Louisan who was part of the Gaslight Square scene here during the 1960s before moving to Los Angeles, where he met, teamed up with professionally, and then married his wife Alicia, a singer and pianist. For more about the Cunninghams, check out this story I wrote about them for the Riverfront Times back in 2007.

Also on Friday, pianist Tony Suggs, the East St. Louis native who's held down the piano chair with the Count Basie Orchestra since 1999, will be back home in the St. Louis area, doing a trio performance at Robbie's House of Jazz. Suggs, who's also played electric jazz with trumpeters Russell Gunn and Roy Hargrove and recorded a couple of solo albums, will be joined by bassist Nick Jost and drummer Montez Coleman.

In other club performances this weekend, the Cigar Inn in Belleville will present MMR Jazz Syndicate on Friday; and on Saturday, Robbie's House of Jazz has the BCD Trio with pianist Brad Ellebrecht, bassist Chris Watrous and drummer Dave Mayo. Also on Saturday, guitarist Dave Black will do a couple of solo performances, in the afternoon at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood and in the evening at Mojo Tapas and Wine Bar on South Grand.

On Sunday. the funk-jazz supergroup DMS with keyboardist George Duke, bassist Marcus Miller, and saxophonist and St. Louis native David Sanborn (pictured) will play a concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center under the auspices of Jazz St. Louis.

Sanborn talked with me about the DMS tour for an article on the Riverfront Times' music blog A to Z, which you can read here. There's also a “Critic's Pick" on the show in the print edition of the RFT, and you can read that online here. To see some videos of Sanborn and a recap of StLJN's coverage of him over the years, see this post, and for some clips of DMS performing during the first leg of their tour in May and June, see this post.

Also on Sunday, Bossanova Restaurant & Lounge in Alton will present their monthly jazz jam session, hosted by saxophonist Jason Swagler and guitarist Eric Slaughter's trio; and Good 4 The Soul will play an early evening show at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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