Jazz this week: Russell Gunn's "Blackhawk Revisited," Cécile McLorin Salvant, and more


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There's some interesting jazz and creative music on local stages this week in St. Louis, including only the second local performance ever by a highly acclaimed young singer, and a re-examination of music from an oft-overlooked period of Miles Davis' career, courtesy of a trumpeter raised in Davis' hometown.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, November 15

Trumpeter Russell Gunn, who grew up in East St. Louis and now lives in Atlanta, will be back home with his “Blackhawk Revisited" project for the first of four nights, continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

“Blackhawk Revisited" is dedicated to exploring the music of Miles Davis in the early 1960s, post-Kind of Blue and before the formation of his “Second Great Quintet." To lend authenticity and elder wisdom to the proceedings, Gunn has enlisted 88-year-old drummer Jimmy Cobb, who played with Davis during those years (and is the last participant from Kind of Blue still living) . You can find out more about the project, and see some videos of them in action, plus an interview with Cobb, in this post from last Saturday.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, this week's “Grand Center Jazz Crawl" features guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith at Squatters Cafe, the new name for the front half of The Stage at KDHX, plus the weekly jam session hosted by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor and band at The Dark Room.

Thursday, November 16

The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a free concert featuring the “Arc of Light Ensemble," which includes guitarist and series curator William Lenihan, saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, trumpeter Randy Holmes, trombonist Wayne Coniglio, pianist Ptah Williams, bassist Paul Steinbeck, and drummer Montez Coleman.

Also on Thursday, the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band, and choral group Vocal Point will give a free concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, trumpeter Jim Manley plays The Pat Connolly Tavern, and percussionist Joe Pastor returns to The Dark Room

Friday, November 17

Drummer Steve Davis' “Super Band" featuring singer Feyza Eren returns to the Webster Groves Concert Hall, while just down the street, The 442s will be back to perform at Cyrano's.

Elsewhere around town, the Sentimental Journey Big Band will play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom, and Miss Jubilee returns to the Moonshine Blues Bar in St. Charles.

Saturday, November 18

Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, one of the most talked-about jazz vocalists to emerge in the last decade, returns for a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

With one Grammy Award for “Best Jazz Vocal Album" already in her trophy case at age 28, Salvant has a distinctive sound that is both rooted in the tradition and quite contemporary. You can find out more about her and see some videos of recent performances in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Also on Saturday, saxophonist Jeanette Harris will play smooth jazz and R&B in two shows at .ZACK; Thaxton Speakeasy will celebrate ten years in business with an event aptly named “A Decade of Decadence," featuring music from Annie & the Fur Trappers; and saxophonist Dave Stone and his trio are performing at Thurman's in Shaw.

Sunday, November 19

It's a Sunday made for matinees, as the St. Louis Jazz Club presents the Funky Butt Brass Band at the DoubleTree Hotel in Westport, while the Midwest Jazz-tette will bring their West Coast sound to the Webster Groves Concert Hall.

If you're looking to make it a full day of music, you can catch either one of those gigs and probably still make it to the debut performance of the Arcadia Dance Orchestra, a new 11-piece vintage jazz group fronted by cornetist and singer TJ Muller, at The Stage at KDHX.

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