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Jazz This Week: Reggie Thomas, Lamar Harris, Denise Thimes, Classical Jazz Quartet, and More


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If you can evade the ghosts, ghouls, zombies, vampires, werewolves and assorted other creatures of the night that no doubt will be stalking the streets of St. Louis this Halloween weekend, there's plenty of jazz and creative music to be heard around town over the next few days. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, singer Denise Thimes performs at the Sheldon Concert Hall in her annual benefit for the Mildred Thimes Foundation, named after her late mother. Thimes' special guest this year is singer/songwriter Billy Valentine. For more about the concert, the foundation, Valentine, and Thimes, see this article by Terry Perkins published earlier this week by the St. Louis Beacon.

Also tonight, guitarist Steve Schenkel and friends perform a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and jazz DJ and historian Dennis Owsley begins his three-week class on “The Great Jazz Singers" at the Ethical Society.

On Friday, trombonist/composer/arranger Lamar Harris opens a two-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro with the latest iteration of his ever-evolving jazz/funk/R&B/hip-hop sound.

That same evening, the Classical Jazz Quartet—a.k.a. the Downtown Trio plus violinist Andrew Driscoll, and not the similarly named group featuring Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash and Stefon Harris—will serve up some classical-influenced jazz-fusion at the Focal Point in Maplewood. For more about them, check out the interview Don Wolff did CJQ keyboard player Michael Silverman, posted on Wolff's site here. (Click on the word “Enclosure" to download the .MP3 file.)

Also on Friday, keyboardist Reggie Thomas will lead his ensemble Four in a performance at Robbie's House of Jazz. The group features Thomas on organ and frequent collaborator Rick Haydon on guitar, teamed with visiting players Clay Jenkins on trumpet and Gary Hobbs on drums. On Saturday afternoon, Thomas will present a recital at 2:00 p.m. at Newsong Fellowship Church, 201 St. Louis St. in Edwardsville. The free concert sounds like quite an extravaganza—it's an all-original program, including Thomas' “Suite Sankofa," performed by an extensive cast that includes Hobbs, Jenkins and Haydon, plus dancer/choreographer Betty Jenkins, saxophonist Jason Swagler, drummer Marty Morrison, bassist Nick Jost, the SIUE Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and the SIUE-ESL Center for Performing Arts Dancers under the direction of Theodore Jamison and Andrea Smythe.

On Sunday, singer and philanthropist Mae “Lady Jazz" Wheeler has rounded up an extensive roster of local talent for her “Unforgettable Legends" concert at the Sheldon. With planned tributes to everyone from Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson to Etta James and Mongo Santamaria, the show being billed as Wheeler's final concert as a producer should, in typical fashion, offer a little something for everyone.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Webster University student Jazz Combos 1 will perform a free concert at the university's Community Music School, 535 Garden Avenue, and drummer Joe Pastor's trio will be at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the “Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

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