Notes from the Net: When Lester Met Fela; Eric Person in Iowa; Boney James Tops Billboard Chart; and More


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Here's our weekly compilation of news and links related to jazz, improvisation, and creative music in St. Louis, including news of musicians originally from the Gateway City, recent visitors, and coming attractions, plus assorted other items of interest:

* It's something of a tradition here to start this recurring feature with something Miles Davis-related, and this week there's just one such link, to a podcast tribute to Davis and Kind of Blue, hosted by Errington Thompson.

* However, one of StLJN's fave jazz/music sharing blogs, Destination: Out, currently has a post devoted to another St. Louis trumpeter, the great Lester Bowie (pictured), and his time working with famed African bandleader, saxophonist and vocalist Fela Kuti. As a bonus, one of the MP3s included in the post also features St. Louis' own Phillip Wilson on drums. If you're interested, we suggest you download immediately, as D:O's files only stay online for a short time. For more on Lester Bowie's stint with Fela Kuti, go here.

* Saxophonist and St. Louis native Eric Person was in the Quad Cities on the Iowa/Illinois border last week for a concert with his band Meta-Four and a workshop with local student musicians; read more about it here.

* Another former St. Louisan, saxophonist David Sanborn, will be one of the headliners at this year's Vancouver Jazz Festival, which takes place from June 26 to July 5. Also performing at the fest: the Monterey Quartet, featuring Dave Holland, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chris Potter and Eric Harland; guitarists Al DiMeola and Derek Trucks; and pianists Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner and Chucho Valds.

* The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article by Larry Blumenfeld about “Astronome: A Night at the Opera," the collaboration between avant garde theater director Richard Foreman and saxophonist/composer John Zorn, who once studied at our town's Webster University. “Astronome..." is running now through April 5 at Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theater in NYC.

* Saxophonist Boney James, who will be in St. Louis this Wednesday to kick off his spring tour at The Pageant, is topping the Billboard jazz charts with his new CD Send One Your Love.

* Last week's New York premiere of Martino Unstrung, the documentary about guitarist Pat Martino's comeback from a life-threatening brain injury, drew an overflow crowd. The movie played in St. Louis last November during the St. Louis International Film Festival, and Martino was here in February to perform at Jazz at the Bistro.

* Next up, a few items of general interest to jazz and creative music, starting with some bad news out of Detroit, as the famed Motor City jazz club Baker's Keyboard Lounge may have to close due to financial problems.

* Closer to home, and on a happier note, the School of Music at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale will host the third annual Outside The Box festival of new music from March 25 through April 11. The eclectic festival will include more than two dozen concerts and workshops, including performances of works by guest composers Bernard Rands and Olly Wilson, plus programs featuring theremin music, a sonic tribute to Buckminster Fuller, a concert by Carbondale's own New Arts Jazztet, and even “Mazurka Mania," a celebration of the Polish folk dance and the music that goes with it.

* Last but not least, the first annual Guthman Musical Instrument Competition held recently at Georgia Tech saw more than 60 musicians, inventors and hobbyists submit musical instruments of their own design to try to win a cash prize of $10,000. Wired magazine has the rundown on the competition and a photo gallery of some of the instruments here.

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