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After a hectic last few months crammed with jazz events, things begin to slow down a little before the 4th annual U.S. Bank Saint Louis Jazz festival rolls around once again on June 25-26th. The slowdown is primarily due to the end of season series at Jazz at the Bistro and the Sheldon Concert Hall as well as at Webster University and other local universities. But there’s plenty worth hearing before those series end.
At Jazz at the Bistro, pianist John Hicks is featured May 12-15 in the company of Curtis Lundy on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. The Bistro season winds up May 26-29 with the interesting combination of the Clayton Brothers and vocalist Nnenna Freelon. In between those national acts, don’t forget about Jazz at the bistro’s open house event on May 21 & 22. In addition to announcing the lineup for the 2004-2005 season (the 10th at the Bistro location), you’ll also have the chance to hear Bob Bennett of the Bistro staff play sax as he leads a band that’s sure to be entertaining. By the way, the open house is free.
At the Sheldon on Friday, May 7, Dianne Reeves and her trio (Peter Martin on piano, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Greg Hutchinson) perform in a benefit concert for the Friends of the Sheldon. And on May 14, local jazz stalwarts Willie Akins on sax and vocalist Jeanne Trevor play a benefit at the Sheldon for the St. Louis Society for the Physically Disabled. That special New Orleans jazz vibe can be heard Sunday, May 16 here in St. Louis when the Dirty Dozen Brass Band return to town to play at the Broadway Oyster Bar. The band is touring behind its strong new release, Funeral for a Friend. The music begins at 8 that night.
Riffs: The slowdown in visiting national acts provides an incentive to check out some of the best local jazz talent around town. For example, singer Erika Johnson plays at the Bistro this weekend – May 7 & 8 with Willie Akins among her backing band. You can catch Akins’ regular Saturday afternoon gig at Spruill’s, or check out vibes player Jeff Lash and his trio at Riddle’s in the Delmar Loop May 11 and 18. And don’t forget the potent lineup of talent every weekend at the Delmar Restaurant & Lounge in the Loop – featuring bands led by Jon Thomas on Fridays, Gary Sykes on Saturdays and Chris Hansen on Sunday evenings.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.