Friday, February 23, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* Multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris' theatrical production "Superheroes of Blackness" is the subject of preview stories by the Riverfront Times' Christian Schaeffer and the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson. The show plays tonight and tomorrow night at .ZACK in Grand Center.

* Singer Denise Thimes' upcoming gig at Dizzy's Club in New York City's Jazz at Lincoln Center is previewed in a story by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn. Thimes (pictured) will perform at Dizzy's on Tuesday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 7.

* Fans of Dave Weckl, take note - Modern Drummer magazine now is offering a digital "artist pack" of content about the famed percussionist and St. Charles native, which "includes more than 120 pages on Dave Weckl, including cover-story interviews, transcriptions, classic advertisements, and more exclusive content from the Modern Drummer archives."

* Keyboardist and Metro East native David Garfield is ready to release “Outside the Box,” described as a "multi-part, genre-crossing project spanning various types of jazz, R&B, pop, country and rock."

The series will begin with the release on Friday, March 23 of Jazz Outside the Box, a straight-ahead jazz album featuring performances by Randy Brecker, Michael McDonald, The Doors’ drummer John Densmore, Tom Scott, bassist Jason Scheff of the band Chicago, Will Lee, Eric Marienthal, Steve Ferrone, Vinnie Colaiuta, John Clayton, Brian Auger, and more, along with full horn and string sections.

A second album in the series, a "smooth/contemporary" set called Jamming Outside the Box, is scheduled to come out this summer, with additional releases to follow.

* Saxophonist, clarinetist and St. Louis native Dan Block, now based in NYC, has released a new album, Block Party: A St. Louis Connection, featuring a couple of other former St. Louisans - his brother, guitarist and keyboardist Rob Block, and bassist Neal Caine - in the band. The album, which came out last month on Miles High Records, is Dan Block's third release for the label, and is the first recording that he and his brother have ever done together.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jazz this week: Benny Green Trio, "Superheroes of Blackness," Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes a visit from a stellar straight-ahead jazz pianist, some adventurous electronic sounds, shows mixing music with poetry and video animations, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 21
Pianist Benny Green (pictured, top left) returns with his trio for the first of four nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Notably influenced by Bud Powell and especially Oscar Peterson, Green (like Cyrus Chestnut, who played the Bistro earlier this year) is something of a traditionalist in terms of his stylistic antecedents.

Like Peterson, he can muster showy technique when the mood strikes, but Green also swings hard - a tendency that no doubt was encouraged during his time playing in the trio of one of Peterson's favorite bassists, the legendary Ray Brown. 

Elsewhere around town, the Ambassadors of Swing perform for the monthly "Shake and Shout Wednesday" event at Tin Roof St. Louis.

Thursday, February 22
The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a free concert featuring poet Eileen G'Sell giving a spoken word performance with improvisational music from keyboardist Jay Oliver, guitarist/bassist William Lenihan, and drummer Steve Davis.

Also on Thursday, the monthly Bruxism expermental music series will present Chris Smentowski,  Vernacular Pulse Quintet, and Nebulosa at the Schlafly Tap Room; drummer Stephen Haake's trio plays at The Pat Connolly Tavern; and saxophonist Ben Reece’s Unity Quartet returns to The Dark Room

Friday, February 23
Multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris presents "Superheroes of Blackness" for the first of two nights at .ZACK in Grand Center. The multi-media production is described as "a live computer-animated journey of epic proportions," with visuals by illustrator David Gordon and an eight-piece live band led by Harris.

Also on Friday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to Evangeline's; Second Generation Swing plays for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom; and The People’s Key perform at The Dark Room.

Saturday, 
February 24
Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe will perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle at Urb Arts in the Old North neighborhood. 

Lowe (pictured, bottom left) combines his voice with modular synthesizers and, in many performances including this one, video or film projections to create soundscapes that can range from ethereal to industrial. For more about him, plus some video samples of previous live performances, check out this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Gaslight Squares perform in concert at Focal Point; pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True with saxophonist Larry Johnson play at the KindaBlue Club; and the Funky Butt Brass Band are back at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

Sunday, February 25
Drummer Montez Coleman and friends will play for brunch at The Dark Room, while Miss Jubilee returns to Evangeline's.

Also on Sunday afternoon, the touring show "In the Mood," a nostalgic look at the big band era featuring a 13-piece band and six singer/dancers, returns to the Touhill Performing Arts Center; and the Folk School at KDHX hosts their monthly "Traditional Jazz Jam".

Monday, February 26
Dizzy Atmosphere plays swing and Gypsy jazz at The Shaved Duck, and guitarist Dave Black will lead a quartet in a concert featuring his original music at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster University campus.

Tuesday, February 27
Trumpeter Jim Manley returns to Evangeline's.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(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.)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Session: February 18, 2018

Snarky Puppy
Here's the roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's various inboxes or feeds over the past week:

* Olympic Figure Skaters Perform to Ed Sheeran, 'Wonderwall' & More Pop Songs After Rule Change (Billboard)
* Q&A with Adam Nussbaum: The Drum Thing (DownBeat)
* Portraits In Black: Jazz Tributes To African-American Heroes (WFIU)
* Laurie Anderson Details How Hurricane Sandy & Loss Influenced Her New Album & Book (Billboard)
* Why is the price of vinyl albums at a record high? (Toronto Star)
* Systemic Discrimination: the Burden of Sameness in American Orchestras (ICareIfYouListen.com)
* Honor Society: The Importance of Tributes in Jazz (Jazz Times)
* Gibson ‘running out of time — rapidly’ (Nashville Post)
* The Life and Times of the Late, Great CD (DigitalTrends.com)
* When Quincy Jones Covered The Beatles (And Other Insights From a Shrewd Jazz Career) (WBGO)
* Second Line Blues: A Brief History of New Orleans Brass Bands (Reverb.com)
* Exalting Blackness Amid White Noise: Afro-Latino Artists Speak on Navigating the World & Music Industry (Billboard)
* Why Madison Square Garden Thinks It Has Designed the Venue Of the Future (Billboard)
* Scott LaFaro, how one man redefined the piano trio (Jazz in Europe)
* Iyer Excels in Disparate Settings at Four-Day SFJAZZ Run (DownBeat)
* Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Why Rock Stars Are Suddenly Retiring (Rolling Stone)
* This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia (Vice.com)
* The 50 Greatest Rock and Roll Movies of All Time (ConsequenceOfSound.net)
* Music Snobs Could Save the Music Industry, But They Won't (TrackRecord.net)
* A Primer on Weird Vinyl Design (Magenta.as)
* 99% of All Music Streaming Comes from Just 10% of Available Songs (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* Stream the “Complete” John Coltrane Playlist: A 94-Hour Journey Through 700+ Transformative Tracks (OpenCulture.com)
* Snarky Puppy’s GroundUP Fest Grows in its Second Year (DownBeat)
* Music streaming is booming… So what happens next? (MusicAlly.com)
* Meet the Eccentric Master of Jazz Melody (Ozy.com)
* Who Was Andrea Davis? Revealing Minnie Riperton’s Secret History (UDiscoverMusic.com)
* Gilles Peterson: 'The boundary between club culture and jazz is finally breaking' (The Guardian)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe's modular sounds



This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, who will be in St. Louis next week to perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle on Saturday, February 24 at Urb Arts.

Born in 1975, Lowe grew up in Kansas City and began playing bass and singing in post-punk and rock bands as a teenager. After joining the "math rock" band 90 Day Men and moving to Chicago to be closer to their base of operations, in the mid-2000s Lowe began giving solo performances of just his voice and modular synthesizer, sometimes using the pseudonym Lichens.

Now based in Brooklyn, Lowe subsequently has worked with a wide range of artists and musicians, including Ben Russell, Ben Rivers, Rose Lazar, Hisham Akira Bharoocha, Tarek Atoui, Ben Vida, Mark Borthwick, Lucky Dragons, Alan Licht, Michael Zerang, Doug Aitken, Patrick Smith, Monica Baptista, Lee Ranaldo, White/Light, Kevin Martin, Chris Johanson, Tyondai Braxton, David Scott Stone, Genesis P-Orridge, Rose Kallal, and more.

In addition to his solo performances, he still plays with the experimental metal band Om, and in recent years also has begun collaborating with filmmakers and videographers, adding a visual element to his live performances.

Here in St. Louis, he'll be playing unaccompanied, and you can see and hear an example of one of Lowe's solo sets in the first video up above, which was recorded in July 2017 at the Berkeley Arts Museum in Berkeley, CA.

After the jump, you can see another full performance by Lowe, recorded November 4, 2016 at the Renaissance Society in Chicago in conjunction with an exhibition of work by artist Ben Rivers.

Next is a piece called "We Echo Now His Love," recorded in April 2016 at the Sonambient Barn, an eighteenth-century stone barn in Barto, Pennsylvania that house metal sculptures/instruments devised by artist Harry Bertoia.

That's followed by another full set, from 2014 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and then by an interview video from the 2017 Brighton Modular Meet in England, in which Lowe discusses his creative process and use of modular synths.

The next-to-last video is sort of a lecture and demonstration of his gear by Lowe, recorded in 2016 at Superbooth, a modular synth exposition held in Berlin, Germany. The final clip is a recording of a discussion on "universal musics" led by Lowe at "Machines in Music," an event held in October 2015 in NYC.

For more about Robery Aiki Aubrey Lowe, read his 2014 interview with The Quietus and this interview published in December 2017 on the website of the Museum of Art and Design.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, February 16, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* Multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris (pictured) and pianist Kim Portnoy are among this year's group of 10 winners of $20,000 artist fellowships from the Regional Arts Commission.

* Metro Theater Company's production of Bud, Not Buddy, which features a score by trumpeter Terence Blanchard performed live on stage by a 13-piece band, was reviewed by BroadwayWorld.com's Steve Callahan.

In addition, local NBC affiliate KSDK's Show Me St. Louis last week ran a feature about the show, and Jazz St. Louis also has released a short promotional video about the production. "Bud, Not Buddy" continues through Sunday, February 25 at the Grandel Theater.

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold's return home last week to play at Jazz at the Bistro was the subject of a column from the St. Louis American's Delores Shante.

* In an interview with the campus newspaper, flute player Oliver Nelson Jr. talked about the concert tonight at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ paying tribute to his father, St. Louis native, saxophonist and composer Oliver Nelson. The university will close its annual jazz festival with a performance of Nelson's works, including his suite "The Kennedy Dream."

* Former St. Louisan Katie McGrath has won the 2018 Bistro Award for "Best New York Debut" for her cabaret show, "Significant Others." The awards were established in 1985 to recognize excellence among cabaret, jazz and comedy artists in NYC. 

* Saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake is part of an all-star lineup of performers taking part in "Timeless Portraits and Dreams: A Festival/Symposium in Honor of Geri Allen" this weekend at Harvard University. The event will include two concerts and two days of panel discussions featuring musicians and artists who worked with Allen, including Lake, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Craig Taborn, Don Byron, Carmen Lundy, Kenny Davis, Tia Fuller, and Yosvany Terry.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jazz this week: Alicia Olatuja, jazz for Valentine's Day, and more

For the second consecutive week, the calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features performances by a local expat making a triumphant return home after earning national acclaim.

For more about that and the other jazz shows happening around town, let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 14
Singer Alicia Olatuja (pictured) performs for the first of four nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Known by her maiden name Alicia Miles while growing up in St. Louis, Olatuja has seen her career take off since she gained national attention in 2013 as a featured soloist at President Barack Obama's second inauguration.  With one solo album under her belt and another set for release later this year, she's not a household name yet, but her star definitely seems on the rise.

Olatuja was a featured guest last year during harmonica player Gregoire Maret's week at the Bistro, and she'll be back in a few weeks with drummer Ulysses Owens Jr's "Songs of Freedom" project, but this will be her debut performance as a headliner at the venue, so expect a good turnout from the hometown crowd. For more about Alicia Olatuja, plus some video samples of past live performances, see this post from last Saturday.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, singer Erin Bode will be doing two shows at Cyrano's; the Joe Bozzi Band plays at Evangeline's; and there are a number of other gigs happening specifically for Valentine's Day - see the St. Louis Jazz Notes calendar for the complete listings.

Thursday, February 15
Singer Tony Viviano will perform in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Broadway Open Mic" at the Curtain Call Lounge; and bassist/singer Tonina Saputo's quartet is back at The Dark Room.

Friday, February 16
Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom, saxophonist Tim Cunningham is doing a special Valentine's-themed dinner-and-show at Troy's Jazz Gallery (advance reservations suggested), and saxophonist Kendrick Smith returns to Thurman's in Shaw.

Saturday, February 17
The Gaslight Squares will play an early afternoon show at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site's Rosebud Cafe as part of a new Saturday matinee concert series presented by the Friends of Scott Joplin.

At the dinner hour, check out pianist Ptah Williams playing at The Dark Room, and later in the evening, saxophonist Dave Stone trio's continues their weekly residency at Thurman's in Shaw.

Sunday, February 18
Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran will play for brunch at The Dark Room, while Miss Jubilee serenades the brunch crowd as Evangeline's.

Monday, February 19
Faculty members comprising the Webster University Jazz Collective will play a concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(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.)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Session: February 11, 2018

Cécile McLorin Salvant
Here's the roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's various inboxes or feeds over the past week:

* Cécile McLorin Salvant: The Ghost Writer (Jazz Times)
* In Memoriam: Hugh Masekela (DownBeat)
* Sirius XM Radio Has 32.7 Million Subscribers — Less Than Half That of Spotify (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* Here’s the Entire Facebook Contract for Music Publishers & Songwriters (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* LISTEN: Dennis Edwards recalls the angry studio session behind 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone' (Detroit Free Press)
* California brewery must face lawsuit by son of jazz great Thelonious Monk (Reuters.com)
* Monk’s son wins right to sue over ‘Brother Thelonious’ ale (San Francisco Chronicle)
* Ndugu Chancler, Drummer On Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," Dead At 65 (OkayPlayer.com)
* La Monte Young - The Well-Tuned Piano 81 X 25 6:17:50 - 11:18:59 PM NYC (Pitchfork.com)
* India sings the blues (The Hindu)
* How the Super Bowl halftime show gets set up in just six minutes (TheVerge.com)
* Photos: “A Musical Tribute to Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams” (Jazz Times)
* Frank Zappa Hologram to Play With Former Mothers on 'Bizarre World' Tour (Rolling Stone)
* Meditating On The Healing Power Of Alice Coltrane's 'Journey In Satchidananda' (NPR)
* Snarky Puppy Evokes 1960s at Carnegie Hall Concert (DownBeat)
* Geri Allen’s Spirit Fills Winter Jazzfest During All-Star Tribute (DownBeat)
* In Conversation: Quincy Jones (Vulture.com)
* Blue Note at Sea a Showcase for Abundant Talent (DownBeat)
* David Crosby: Crosby, Coltrane & Miles (Jazz Times)
* 'Body and Soul' doc explores links between jazz and Jews (Chicago Tribune)
* A Look Back at Hipgnosis, Pioneers of the Avant-Garde Record Cover (Vice.com)
* A Conversation With Ken Vandermark (WFIU)
* Johnny O’Neal: Pianist, Singer, Storyteller (Jazz Times)
* Q&A with Alfredo Rodríguez: Global References (DownBeat)
* Electronic pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto: 'My great regret is not reconnecting with Bowie' (The Guardian)
* How Black Panther Composer Ludwig Göransson Found the Sound of Wakanda (Pitchfork.com)
* The Night Latin Jazz Was Born (OZY.com)
* Terry Gibbs: Tales of a True Bebopper (Jazz Times)
* Wesla Whitfield’s Long Musical Adventure Comes to an End (KQED)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Alicia Olatuja



Today, let's check out some videos featuring singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja, who will be coming back home to perform starting next Wednesday, February 14 through Saturday, February 17 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Olatuja was known by her maiden name Alicia Miles while growing up here and then while attending the University of Missouri. After graduating from Mizzou's School of Music in 2005, she moved to New York City to earn her master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music, eventually meeting and marrying British/Nigerian bassist Michael Olatuja.

The two began working together as The Olatuja Project, releasing an album in 2011. Two years later, Alicia gained international attention for her performance as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

That led to interest in her as a solo artist, and in 2014 she released her first album, Timeless. Olatuja gained additional exposure that year on tour with pianist Billy Childs as part of his show “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro,” and subsequently has performed with other well-known musicians including organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, bassist Christian McBride, and harmonica player Gregoire Maret, with whom she made her Bistro debut last year as a guest vocalist.

Now touring as a headliner with her own band, anchored by her husband as bassist and musical director, and having recently completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund a second album, Intuition-Songs from the Minds of Women, which is expected to be released in June, Olatuja seems well-positioned for even bigger things soon.

You can see her perform a full set of music in the first video up above, which was recorded in October 2014 in NYC, shortly after the release of Timeless.

After the jump, you can see three performances recorded in August 2015 at Dizzy's Club at Lincoln Center in NYC, starting with a cover of "Love Me Still," originally made famous by Chaka Khan, followed by two of Olatuja's own songs, "In The Dark" and "Truth In Blue."

Next up is a performance of "Serrado," written by the Brazilian singer/songwriter Djavan and recorded in 2014 as a duet with guitarist David Rosenthal.

The final video is an extended interview with Olatuja, just recorded on February 1 of this year before her performance for the Modlin Arts series in Richmond, VA.

For more about Alicia Olatuja, read the profile of her in last month's issue of Jazz Times, and this Q&A, also published in January.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...