Jazz This Week: Jazz Edge Big Band with Russell Gunn and Keyon Harrold, Byron Stripling, Chicago Afrobeat Project, Alarm Will Sound, and More


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Yes, St. Louis jazz fans, Jazz at the Bistro is closed for the next four months, but don't despair; while we wait with bated breath for the newly expanded and swankified Bistro to reopen in the fall, there's still a good deal of jazz and creative music to be heard around town, and StLJN will help you find it. Let's go to this week's highlights...

On Thursday night, the 13th annual John L Baker Memorial Concert, featuring a big band made up of Parkway West HS faculty, friends and alumni, will take place at Sky Music Lounge. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund named after Baker, who was band director at Parkway West from 1978 to 1994.

Also on Thursday, the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly “Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music; and guitarist Tom Byrne brings his Pat Metheny-inspired project Have U Heard to the house concert venue Joe's Cafe.

Friday offers several intriguing possibilities in widely disparate styles, starting with the Jazz Edge Big Band's “Tribute to St. Louis Trumpeters" at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, for which they've assembled a constellation of guest performers including trumpeters Russell Gunn and Keyon Harrold (pictured), pianist Danny Mixon and singer Denise Thimes

Also on Friday, trumpeter Byron Stripling is back in town, this time to perform his show “The Gospel According to Swing" with the St. Louis Symphony at Powell Hall; the Chicago Afrobeat Project returns to 2720 Cherokee; and the Original Knights of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

And if all that weren't enough, Friday also is when the new music chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound* closes out their second St. Louis season at the Sheldon Concert Hall  with a performance including some of their students from Webster University's Community Music School. You can read more about that in two preview stories, one by Terry Perkins for St. Louis Public Radio, and one by Stef Russell for St. Louis magazine

On Saturday afternoon, woodwind mouthpiece guru Mike Lomax will give a free workshop and clinic at Saxquest. (The event originally was scheduled last month, but was canceled at the last minute due to illness.)

Also starting on Saturday afternoon and continuing through the evening, Thurman Grill will present their annual “Loopfest" event, with music from The Freedom, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes, trumpeter Keith Moyer's quartet, and more

Elsewhere on Saturday evening, saxophonist Jason Swagler leads a quartet at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and Miss Jubilee will perform at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

On Sunday, the Friends of Scott Joplin will present their monthly “Ragtime Rendezvous" at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site; and Sound Unlimited will welcome a variety of guest players for a mini “jazz fest" at Vito's in the Valley.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Tuesday singers Joe Mancuso and Charles Glenn will host up-and-coming vocalists Michelle Knollhoff, Andrew Patrick, Jeanitta Perkins and Paige Alyssa in a show they're calling “The Voices of St. Louis" at the Sheldon.

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