As Jazz Appreciation Month 2014 continues past the halfway point, the live performance calendar this week in St. Louis includes several touring performers visiting our town, the return of a veteran of Gaslight Square, and the usual variety of activity from local musicians. Let's go to the highlights...
Tonight, percussionist Poncho Sanchez and his band (pictured) open a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. One of the standard-bearers for mainstream Latin jazz, Sanchez' group over the years has consistently offered satisfying grooves topped with engaging solos, and the current edition is no exception. You can check out some relatively recent Sanchez performances on video in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.
On Saturday evening, singer and multi-instrumentalist Don Cunningham and his wife, singer-pianist Alicia Cunningham - better known as The Cunninghams - will be visiting from their home in Las Vegas to perform at 560 Music Center, accompanied by a local rhythm section including pianist Carolbeth True, Jeff Anderson on bass, and Gary Sykes on drums. You can read more about Don Cunningham's days performing in Gaslight Square, his first meeting with Alicia, the couple's subsequent popularity as a touring act in Asia, and more in this short feature about them that I wrote a few years back for the Riverfront Times.
If the Cunninghams' close harmony and occasional forays into exotica aren't your bag, you might want to check out singer Catherine Russell, who will be making her St. Louis debut as a headliner on Saturday at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Russell is sometimes referred to as the daughter of jazz royalty," and you can find out more about that and see some video samples of her performing in this post from last Saturday. And if that piques your interest, you also should know that The Sheldon and Metrotix now are offering a discount on tickets to the concert.