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Jazz This Week: Sara Gazarek, Gino Robair, the St. Louis Stompers, and More

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With warmer weather in the offing for St. Louis this weekend, it should be a good time to get out and hear some live music. Here's what's going on in jazz and creative music over the next few days in St. Louis:

We've got two touring artists of note in town this week, one of whom is the delightful singer Sara Gazarek, who's back to perform at Jazz at the Bistro through Saturday. Gazarek is a standout in the crowded field of young female jazz singers, an exemplary vocal technician who swings effortlessly and brings a fresh, unaffected approach to the tunes she chooses and/or co-writes with her pianist, Josh Nelson. For more on Gazarek, check out StLJN's past coverage here and here.

The other headliner is improvising percussionist and composer Gino Robair, who's in St. Louis under the auspices of New Music Circle for a couple of events at St. Louis Community College - Forest Park's Mildred E. Bastian Performing Arts Center. Robair will do a free percussion workshop on Friday afternoon, and then a performance of his improv opera “I, Norton" on Saturday night.

In addition to these two well-known visitors, we've got some noteworthy shows featuring local musicians, too. This evening, guitarist William Lenihan, pianist Kim Portnoy and drummer Roger Guth team up for a free concert at Washington University as part of the Jazz at Holmes series, while the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center has a four-band bill of musicians working in various aspects of the free improv/electronics/ambient/noise genre with EXTRA LIFE, Ghost Ice, Exercise, and 7th epicycle.

On Friday, saxophonist Tim Cunningham brings his smooth jazz sound to Peppertini's in Chesterfield, and on Saturday, Jazz Renaissance does their monthly gig at Riddle's in University City.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club will presents the St. Louis Stompers in a concert of traditional jazz at the Moolah Shrine Center, and a whole bunch of local blues and jazz musicians will put on a benefit for bassist Gus Thornton at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

The Sessions Big Band is back at BB's on Monday for another of their recurring gigs there, and on Tuesday, the Jazz St. Louis CD Listening Club has its meeting at Borders in Brentwood, this month featuring the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's Shawn Weil and Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford discussing Charlie Parker With Strings. Afterwards, saxophonist Bennett Wood and his group will be playing at The Gramophone as part of the free Tuesday night jazz series the club co-sponsors with Jazz St. Louis.

For more jazz-related events this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

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