Mid-summer heat has arrived in St. Louis several weeks ahead of schedule, but if you can brave the unseasonable temperatures, there are a number of jazz and creative music events worth checking out over the next few days.
Also on Friday, singer Coco Soul opens a two-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. Soul (nee Rochelle Walker) is known mostly as an R&B singer, former host of the open mic event Cafe Soul, and occasional performer in musical theater at venues including the Black Rep, Stages and Westport Playhouse. The promo blurb for her Bistro debut suggests that her jazz influences, coupled with a strong R&B and soul background will surely delight listeners," but to these ears, the songs on her MySpace page sound more like straight R&B, albeit with the occasional brass background and/or trumpet obbligato.
The most significant jazz show of the week, however, happens on Saturday, when the Jazz Crusaders (pictured) play at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. With original members Joe Sample, Wilton Felder and Wayne Henderson reuniting for the first time since Henderson left the band in the mid-1970s, this tour definitely counts as a special occasion. And with Jazz St. Louis offering tickets at half price, the least expensive seat is only $17.50, which is quite affordable. For more about the Jazz Crusaders, including videos of performances of six of their best-known songs, see this post from last Saturday.