Perhaps the most highly anticipated performances are those of pianist Brad Mehldau, who brings his trio with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard to Jazz at the Bistro tonight and Thursday as part of a short spring tour. Mehldau currently is riding a wave of critical acclaim for his two most recent recordings; you can read more about it and see some video of the trio in action in this post from last Saturday. Also, you can read my Critic's Pick on Mehldau for the Riverfront Times here.
Also on Thursday, the young Kansas City band Diverse, featuring trumpet player Hermon Mehari, returns to St. Louis to perform at Robbie's House of Jazz; and pianist Kara Baldus Vandiver plays the music of Bill Evans in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.
On Friday, another fine pianist, Cyrus Chestnut (pictured), checks into the Bistro for a two-night engagement with his trio and their special guest, trumpeter Jon Faddis. Chestnut's vivid, gospel-influenced style has made him a local favorite, and he, Faddis and the band are in town all week doing an educational residency for Jazz St. Louis. They're performing at area schools and working with the student musicians in JSL's various educational programs, and Faddis also is doing a free master class this afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, trumpeter and St. Louis native Marlin Bonds, who's also enjoyed success as a producer for various hip-hop performers, comes home to play the music of Herbie Hancock in a concert for the Nu-Art Series at the Metropolitan Gallery. See this post for more on Bonds and the Nu-Art Series' spring schedule.
Then on Saturday evening, singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli, another frequent visitor to St. Louis, returns with his band the Swing Seven to play the music of Duke Ellington for the Sheldon Concert Hall's annual benefit gala. Some single tickets may remain for the show; check Metrotix for the latest.
On Sunday, the Webster University jazz faculty will do a matinee performance for the St. Louis Jazz Club at the Doubletree Hotel at Westport Plaza; and New Tricks, a quartet co-led by saxophonist Mike Lee and trumpeter Ted Chubb, will play an early evening show at the Bistro at Grand Center, with the Webster Groves High School jazz combos as opening acts.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday pianist Dave Becherer's trio plays at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. On Tuesday morning, Swing Deville will play the first of two Coffee Concerts this week at the Sheldon. (The performance will be repeated at the same time on Wednesday.) On Tuesday evening, bassist Bob Deboo and his quartet will play Brandt's, and Robbie's will host their weekly jazz jam session.