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Jazz This Week: Reggie and Mardra Thomas, Jeff Coffin and Mu'tet, Funky Butt Brass Band, St. Louis Ragtimers, Cornet Chop Suey, and More


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It may be summer vacation time, but St. Louis' jazz players aren't taking the week off. In fact, there's quite a variety of jazz styles to be found on local stages over the next few days, from traditional to modern to fusion and beyond. Here are some of the most noteworthy shows:

Tonight, drummer Maurice Carnes and the St. Louis Jazz Ensemble will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. Carnes plays in a variety of styles, from straight ahead swing to knottier post-bop, though from what I've heard, he usually stays more inside than out. No word on who's playing with him, but I'd expect to see some good musicians. UPDATE׭/14/11, 2:30 p.m. : Just got word that Carnes and group will be performing the music of Wayne Shorter at tonight's show.

Also this evening, saxophonist Jim Stevens and his group will perform at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; and bassist David Certain and CertainBeat WorldBop will be playing at The Vine Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant at 3171 S. Grand, as part of a new weekly gig there every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (weather permitting, as it's an outdoor performance).

On Friday, keyboard player Reggie Thomas and singer Mardra Thomas (pictured) begin their farewell weekend of St. Louis area shows at Jazz at the Bistro. The Thomases, who are moving to Michigan, will be performing music by Stevie Wonder that evening and again on Saturday night at the Bistro. Then on Sunday afternoon, they'll play across the river at the Wildey Theater in Edwardsville. For more about Reggie and Mardra Thomas, see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band will celebrate the release of their second CD, You Can Trust The Funky Butt Brass Band, with a gig at the Broadway Oyster Bar. You can read more about the CD and hear the first track, “Do That Thang," via this post over at the Riverfront Times' A to Z blog.

That same evening, pianist Nick Schlueter will lead a trio with drummer Josh Costello and bassist Jessica Sacks at the Cigar Inn in Belleville; and the Original Knights of Swing will play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom

On Saturday, singer A.J. Dickerson Sr, known for his close association with the late singer Mae Wheeler, continues Wheeler's tradition of variety shows, albeit on a slightly smaller scale, with what's billed as a “Jazz, R&B & Gospel Concert/Dance" at Legacy Books and Cafe, 5249 Delmar Blvd. The bill includes house band Black Diamond and featured artists Aajaanne, Zella Jackson-Price, The Caesars, and AJSR with Dee Dee Beavers and Angie McCree.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club will present their monthly concert, this time featuring the St. Louis Ragtimers at the Doubletree Hotel at Westport.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday saxophonist Jeff Coffin and members of his band Mu'tet will present a free performance and workshop at Saxquest, and on Tuesday evening, Cornet Chop Suey will perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall, also recording the show for their next CD. For more about that, see this post.

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