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Jazz this week: Ptah Williams, Erika Johnson, a salute to the Nat "King" Cole Trio, and more


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Summer definitely is sizzling in St. Louis this week, but if you're brave enough to venture out in the steamy weather, there are a number of noteworthy jazz and creative music shows happening this weekend, including several free concerts.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 12

Pianist Ptah Williams will perform in a free outdoor concert for the Missouri Botanical Garden's Whitaker Music Festival.

Also on Wednesday, the weekly “Grand Center Jazz Crawl" proceeds as usual, featuring live jazz with no cover or admission charge at The Stage at KDHX's Magnolia Cafe, Kranzberg Arts Center, Curtain Call Lounge and The Dark Room.

Thursday, July 13

Pianist Kara Baldus will lead her trio in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes “Jazz in July" series at Washington University; saxophonist Harvey Lockhart and The Collective will take the stage at The Dark Room; and vibraphonist Tom Rickard and guitarist Dave Black will perform at The Pat Connolly Tavern.

Friday, July 14

Singer Erika Johnson will return to Jazz at the Bistro for the first two nights.

Well-grounded in the tradition thanks to jazz studies at East St. Louis HS (with noted educator Ronald Carter) and at SIU Edwardsville, and an early apprenticeship with the late Willie Akins, Johnson has a repertoire that ranges from Bird to the Beatles, and is one of the better scat singers among St. Louis female vocalists.

She often works in a duo format, but she'll have a full band at the Bistro, making these dates especially attractive for fans both old and new.

Also on Friday, there will be free concerts featuring singer Erin Bode at Ferguson CityWalk; singer Joe Mancuso's organ trio at Lakeside 370 Park in St. Peters; and drummer Steve Davis' “Super Band," featuring singer Feyza Eren at the Webster Groves Concert Hall

Elsewhere around town, the Funky Butt Brass Band will be back for their monthly appearance at the Broadway Oyster Bar, and Miss Jubilee will perform for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, July 15

The Jazz Troubadours will perform for brunch at Evangeline's, serving as the first half of a jazz double-bill there that also will feature an evening performance from the Joe Bozzi Band.

Also on Saturday night, singer Chuck Flowers will salute the music of the Nat 'King' Cole Trio at The Monocle; and trumpeter Jim Manley returns to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar.

Sunday, July 16

Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran plays for brunch at The Dark Room.

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