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Jazz This Week: The Wee Trio, Take 6, J.D. Parran and George Sams, Scott Kirby, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola, and More


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With spring appearing finally to have sprung here in St. Louis, it should be a fine weekend to get out and hear some live jazz and creative music, and fortunately, our local stages will be filled with intriguing possibilities. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, Good 4 The Soul plays their monthly gig at  BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups; Washington University's jazz studies students will perform a free concert to wrap up this semester's Jazz at Holmes series; the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center has a four-band bill topped by the Brazilian “punk rock with a bit of jazzy influence" band Lisabi; and the Gaslight Cabaret Festival continues with actress/singer Taylor Pietz performing her show “If I Only Had a Brain" at the Gaslight Theater.

Tomorrow night, The Wee Trio, featuring St. Louis native Dan Loomis on bass, returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of two nights officially celebrating the live album the group recorded there last year. For more about that, check this interview with Loomis from earlier this year on AllAboutJazz.com, and for some video samples of the Wee Trio in action, see this post from before their visit here last January.

Elsewhere around town, if you were hoping to see singer Storm Large's performance this weekend for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival but don't yet have tickets, you're out of luck, as both nights are sold out. Meanwhile, some spots may remain for the performance by vocal group Take 6 at Washington University Black Alumni Council's 30th anniversary dinner and concert in the Khorassan Ballroom of the Chase Park Plaza Hotel; click the “30th anniversary" link above for details.

There also should be some tickets remaining for MADCO's presentation of “Liquid Roads" at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The modern dance company's latest and largest-ever production will be accompanied by a four-piece live band led by trumpeter Brian Casserly of Cornet Chop Suey, performing original songs and a variety of jazz, blues and gospel favorites. You can see a brief video about the show here, and read a preview story written by Terry Perkins for St. Louis Public Radio here.

And if all that's not enough for one night, there's also singer Joe Mancuso leading a trio at EdgeWild Restaurant & Winery; the St. Louis Big Band at the Casa Loma Ballroom; pianist Carolbeth True and  Two Times True at Robbie's House of Jazz; and the Charlie B Jazz'd Trio at Thurman Grill.

On Saturday, the sounds at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site will range from free improv to ragtime, as the venue hosts two concerts in one day. First up, multi-instrumentalist J.D. Parran returns home to team up with trumpeter George Sams for a matinee that serves as the spring finale for the Nu-Art Series, and then pianist Scott Kirby will take over for an early evening concert presented by the Friends of Scott Joplin.

Also on Saturday, Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center continues their “Quiet Concert Series" with more new compositions from Mark Sarich and Greg Farough, as Farough continues his focus on “pure waveforms which interact with the natural resonance of rooms to form and slowly transform complex sonic relationships," while Sarich will present a new work utilizing the Schumann Resonance and text of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Elsewhere on Saturday, pianist Pauline Stark, saxophonist Willie Akins and singer Cici Ranek will perform in the old “Just Jazz" space at the Omni Majestic Hotel; guitarist Dave Black and singer Feyza Eren will play at Pomme Café & Wine Bar; the Jim Widner Trio with Jim Manley and Randy Bahr holds forth at the Fox & Hounds Tavern at the Cheshire Inn; and singer Sarah Jane of the Blue Notes, pianist Tim Garcia and saxophonist Jerry Greene are at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Sunday, Miss Jubilee begins what's projected to be a weekly jazz brunch at Evangeline's; and the “Inner Jazz" series at Kirkwood United Church of Christ continues with a free concert from guitarist Rick Haydon's quartet. StLJN also recently has learned that Freddie Washington is now leading a quartet in a weekly Sunday late afternoon session at Toast Time, 12781 New Halls Ferry Rd in Florissant, and no doubt the veteran saxophonist's many fans will welcome the opportunity to hear him regularly for as long as the gig continue. 

But the biggest names on Sunday arrive that evening, as guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola will be in town to perform a duo show at the Old Rock House. The two last fall released their second album together, Pucker, which focuses mostly on Amendola's compositions. But given Hunter's near-one-man-band capabilities and the inherent flexibility of the duo format, they certainly won't be limited to material from the recording. You can read a review of Pucker and hear a sample track here, and read an interview with Amendola from Modern Drummer magazine, in which he discusses his partnership with Hunter, here.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band returns to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups. Then on Tuesday, Lindy Hop St. Louis's weekly swing dance at the Grandel Theatre will feature live music from Philadelphia's' Perseverance Jazz Band; and Common Time and Jesse Gannon & Truth will perform on a double-bill at Plush.

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