Jazz this week: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, tributes to Oliver Nelson and Ella Fitzgerald, a new weekly jam session, and more


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As Jazz Appreciation Month 2017 moves past the halfway point, the calendar of live jazz and creative music performances here in St. Louis takes a turn toward the historic, with events scheduled to pay tribute to St. Louis' own Oliver Nelson, as well as to Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Dizzy Gillespie, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, April 19

The Saxquest Jazz Orchestra will play the music of saxophonist, composer and St. Louis native Oliver Nelson for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

The nine-piece band (three reeds, three brass, three rhythm) will perform material from throughout Nelson's career, with an emphasis on works addressing topics of civil rights and social justice, including “I Hope In Time A Change Will Come," “Emancipation Blues" and “The Kennedy Dream Suite," as well as songs from Nelson's most famous album Blues and the Abstract Truth.

Also on Wednesday, the weekly jam session hosted by pianist Curt Landes, bassist Glen Smith, and drummer Chuck Kennedy continues at @Nesby's in South County.

Thursday, April 20

Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly open mic night, now re-named “Broadway Open Mic," at its new home, the Curtain Call Lounge; and trumpeter Jim Manley and keyboardist Chris Swan play at The Pat Connolly Tavern.

Friday, April 21

The first of two nights of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival's public performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center will feature a tribute to Louis Armstrong, starring trumpeter Terrell Stafford, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonist Chris Vadala, and the UMSL Big Band directed by Jim Widner.

For more about the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, plus some videos of Stafford, Gordon, Vadala, and Saturday night's headliner, trumpeter Jon Faddis, see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Friday, Jazz St. Louis will celebrate the centennial of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald at Jazz at the Bistro with the first of two evenings of music associated with Fitzgerald as sung by Anita Jackson, with help from drummer Montez Coleman, pianist Adaron “Pops” Jackson, bassist Bob DeBoo, and saxophonist Ben Reece.

Elsewhere around town, drummer Steve Davis, singer Feyza Eren, and band will perform at the Ozark Theatre; and Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, April 22

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival concludes with a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dizzy Gillespie, featuring Gillespie's protege Jon Faddis and Friends, at the Touhill.

Sunday, April 23 Singer Chuck Flowers will perform in a late-afternoon matinee at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Monday, April 24

Dizzy Atmosphere will play swing and Gypsy jazz for diners at The Shaved Duck, and the Webster University Jazz Singers will present their final performance of the semester at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

Tuesday, April 25

Troy's Jazz Gallery begins a new, weekly Tuesday night jam session hosted by drummer Montez Coleman.

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