* With Miles Davis' 84th birthday coming up tomorrow (Wednesday, May 26), there's plenty of news this week about the legendary trumpeter, including word of the release of yet another box set, The Genius of Miles Davis, which incorporates eight previously issued box sets in a special package that resembles a trumpet case.
Then in August, Columbia/Legacy will release two new editions of Bitches Brew, which was first released 40 years ago. The Legacy Edition is a three-disc set, with two CDs containing the original 94 minutes of music in their original studio mixes, plus bonus cuts and a DVD of a previously unissued concert performance by Davis' Quintet filmed in November 1969 in Copenhagen.
The 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition features the same three discs as the Legacy Edition, plus a third CD of a previously unissued performance from August 1970 by the new septet lineup at Tanglewood in the Berkshires, a 54-page color booklet, and a 180-gram vinyl double-LP gatefold replication of the original album.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the price spectrum, online retailer Amie Street is offering downloads of ten albums from Davis' catalog for $5 each.
Also, the revamped JazzOnline website has begun a series of Miles Davis podcasts, which so far has featured interviews about the trumpeter with Sonny Rollins, former Davis producer and sideman Marcus Miller, contemporary trumpeters Christian Scott and Chris Botti, and Miles' ex-wife Frances Davis.
* Turning to news of recent visitors, guitarist Pat Metheny's Orchestrion tour has continued on since his St. Louis gig earlier this month at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, in the process both puzzling and impressing the critics. Here are a review of Metheny's Denver show, written for AllAboutJazz.com by Geoff Anderson; a review of his NYC performance by the New York Times' Ben Ratliff; a piece on his Boston show by jazz journalist & blogger Ken Franckling; a review of Metheny's Philadelphia concert by the Inquirer's Karl Stark; and an analysis and interview with the guitarist, done for AAJ by Tom Greenland.
* Joey DeFrancesco recently took part in a jazz organ summit with fellow keyboardists Trudy Pitts, John Medeski and Dr. Lonnie Smith at the Kimmel Center in Philadephia, and the show was reviewed for AllAboutJazz.com by Victor L. Schirmer. DeFrancesco was here in April to headline a week at Jazz at the Bistro, and will return to St. Louis in August to back saxophonist David Sanborn for two nights at the club.
* Delving further into the coming attractions" file, some observers suspected singer Michael Buble of using Auto-Tune during a recent live performance in London, sparking some controversy as described here by the blog LondonJazz. Buble will be in St. Louis on June 25 to perform at the Scottrade Center.
* Saxophonist Boney James, who's scheduled to be in the St. Louis area in July to perform at the Ameristar Casino's Bottleneck Blues Bar, recently was hit by a drunk driver while driving home from a performance in Newport Beach, CA. James was stopped in traffic on the freeway when a drunk driver rear-ended him at 70 miles per hour, causing a gash in his chin that resulted in 14 stitches, a fractured jaw and two broken teeth." No word yet on any possible long-term effects on James' embouchure.
* Violinist Regina Carter and her new band Reverse Thread were featured recently on NPR's All Things Considered. Carter and Reverse Thread will perform in St. Louis in November at Jazz at the Bistro.
* Pianist Kenny Barron was one of several jazz musicians recently honored by the Berkelee College of Music in Boston, receiving a honorary doctorate from the prestigious music school. Barron returns to St. Louis in September for a week of duets with fellow pianist Mulgrew Miller at the Bistro.
* The Jazz Crusaders kicked off their reunion tour last week in Oakland, with original members Joe Sample (piano), Wilton Felder (tenor sax) and Wayne Henderson (trombone) performing together for the first time since 1974. Bassist Nicklas Sample (Joe's son) and drummer Terrail Moody round out the current incarnation of the Crusaders, who will come to St. Louis in September to play at the Touhill under the auspices of Jazz St. Louis.
* Last but not least, here's a review from the LondonJazz blog of a recent London performance by guitarist John McLaughlin and 4th Dimension. McLaughlin and 4D will be in St. Louis in November to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall.