Jazz This Week: Ray Brown Tribute, Galactic, Jimmy Webb, Latin and East Indian Rhythms Meet Jazz, and More


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The jazz and creative music calendar this week in St. Louis offers a variety of stylistic approaches, from a tribute to a beloved mainstream bassist to shows mixing jazz with funk, Latin and East Indian sounds, electronica, and more.

Fans of bop and swing naturally will gravitate toward the Ray Brown Tribute that begins tonight and continues through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Headed by Brown's protege, bassist Christian McBride, and featuring pianist Benny Green and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, the trio pays tribute to Brown as composer as well as to his bass playing with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson that helped set the standard on his instrument for the post-WWII era and beyond. For more about Brown and some video samples of the tribute trio in action, see this post from last Saturday.

Also tonight, saxophonist Dave Cheli, multi-intrumentalist John Covelli and drummer Martino Covelli (John's son) debut a new project called The Name Of This Band Is at The Gramophone. They'll be doing a live recording session at the club for the next three Wednesdays, laying down original tunes that—Talking Heads reference in their name notwithstanding—Covelli describes as being in a funk/fusion style.

Tomorrow night, the New Orleans funk/jazz band Galactic (pictured) returns to The Pageant, this time bringing along special guests Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers and Corey Henry of the Rebirth Brass Band. Mike Gordon will open, and given that this is being billed as a “special show" by both acts, the Phish bassist seems likely to join Galactic and friends to jam a bit as well.

Also on Thursday, famed songwriter Jimmy Webb begins a three-night run of his cabaret show for the Presenters Dolan at the Kranzberg Arts Center. The performance features Webb singing, playing piano and telling stories about his many hit songs, which range from the wistful country hit “Wichita Lineman" to the melodramatic pop bombast “MacArthur Park" and beyond. Given the limited seating capacity of the room, advance reservations would seem to be a must. For more about what Webb has been up to recently, see this interview with him published last fall by the Onion's AV Club.

On Friday, the eclectic Chicago-based guitarist Fareed Haque brings his new electronica-influenced band MathGames to 2720 Cherokee, headlining a bill that also include saxophonist Dave Stone's trio, and Hot House Sessions with special guest guitarist Dave Black.

Also on Friday, Latin-jazz band Musica Slesa will perform on a triple bill with the Aakash Mittal Quartet and Les Filles du Jazz in the Sheldon Concert Hall ballroom. Mittal is an alto saxophonist from Boulder, CO who combines jazz with East Indian musical meters, rhythmic cycles, and raga-informed melodies; Les Filles du Jazz is the Francophone name for a collaboration between singer Carmen Emborski and pianist Heather Bosshardt.

On Saturday, saxophonist Stan Coleman will bring his University Big Band back to Robbie's House of Jazz, and on Sunday, the Funky Butt Brass Band is doing a free concert at Second Baptist Church in Richmond Heights for the St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers Series.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday BB's Jazz Blues and Soups has pianist Dave Becherer's trio and on Tuesday, Robbie's presents their weekly open jam session.

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