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Jazz this week: Tortoise, Jazz at Lincoln Center Group, Anat Cohen, and more


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Unpredictable weather is just one reason that a lot of touring acts like to stay home in early January.

But whether St. Louis this weekend ends up with the spring-like temperatures we're enjoying at midweek, or with the ice storm being promised (threatened?) by Friday, the calendar of upcoming live jazz and creative music performances in St. Louis features several shows that definitely are worth leaving the house to hear.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, January 11

Five young local musicians associated with Jazz St. Louis' educational programs will reunite as the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars Alumni Quintet for the first of two nights of performances at Jazz at the Bistro.

The group features saxophonist Carlos Brown, Jr., trumpeter Brady Lewis, drummer Everette Benton, pianist Eliot Courtois, and bassist Nathan Pence, all of whom currently are studying music at various universities around the country.

Also on Wednesday, guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith will be playing duets at Evangeline's.

Thursday, January 12

The eclectic instrumental quintet Tortoise, who have been enjoying a period of renewed activity since the 2016 release The Catastrophist, their first album since 2009, returns to perform at the Old Rock House.

Elsewhere around town, the Peoria, IL-based band The Perrilles Project will be playing music associated with iconic drummer Max Roach at Evangeline's; and singer and impressionist Dean Christopher brings his “Rat Pack and More" show to Joe's Cafe & Gallery.

Friday, January 13

Four musicians in town this week to do educational residencies for Jazz St. Louis- trumpeter Terell Stafford, trombonist Andre Hayward, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Steve Fidyk- will join forces to perform as the “Jazz at Lincoln Center Group" for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Stafford and Whitaker already are familiar to local jazz fans thanks to multiple previous appearances here- in fact, the trumpeter played the Bistro just last month as part of saxophonist Tim Warfield's holiday show- while Fidyk, though not a marquee name, is a well-regarded drummer and teacher known for his work with big bands.

But the sleeper attraction on this gig may very well be Hayward (pictured, center left) a veteran of the SFJAZZ Ensemble who last played here in 2013 at the Bistro as part of a similar setup with Whitaker, Warfield, and pianist and former St. Louisan Reggie Thomas. He's one of the top trombonists working today, with a quick imagination as an improviser, fine technique, and a well-rounded tone.

Also on Friday, vocal group Java Jived will bring their Manhattan Transfer-esque harmonies to the Emerald Room at The Monocle; and Miss Jubilee will play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, January 14

Clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen returns to play at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

While one of Cohen's major projects of the past year was working with arranger Oded Lev-Ari and a new ten-piece band, for this show she'll be fronting her quartet, a versatile and free-wheeling band that can handle music ranging from classic swing numbers associated with Fats Waller and Benny Goodman to Brazilian choro music.

Also on Saturday, singer Erika Johnson and guitarist Tom Byrne will perform at Montrey's Cigar Lounge.

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