Jazz This Week: A Benefit for Willie Akins, a Grand Opening for a New Venue, and More


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As seems to be the case every year, the Labor Day weekend means that the jazz and creative music calendar in St. Louis is a bit sparse for the next few days. However, there still are a few noteworthy events happening, so let's go the highlights:

Tonight, guitarist and St. Louis native Daryl Darden is back home from the West Coast for a visit, and is playing at Robbie's House of Jazz with a group that will include pianist Nick Schlueter, drummer Leon King and bassist Willem von Hombracht.

Also tonight, drummer Bensid Thigpen opens the fall 2011 Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, leading his trio and special guest vocalist Marsha Evans in a free outdoor concert on the Quadrangle at Wash U's main campus. For more on the fall 2011 Jazz at Holmes series schedule, see this post.

On Friday and Saturday, singer Danita Mumphard (pictured) will perform for the grand opening of the Halls Ferry Inn Jazz Cafe. For more about this new jazz venue in Florissant, see this post.

Also on Friday, guitarist Eric Slaughter's trio is back at the Cigar Inn in Belleville, and pianist Roley Overmeyer will play at Jazz on Broadway in Alton.

On Sunday, there's a benefit and jam session for the veteran saxophonist Willie Akins at the Ambassador Events Center's Klub Klymaxx. Akins has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and although his prognosis is said to be good, the medical bills are piling up. No word on who the players at this benefit will be, but given Akins' reputation and long career in St. Louis, one would imagine there'll be a good turnout.

Also on Sunday, there's the monthly jam session at Bossanova Restaurant and Lounge in Alton, led by saxophonist Jason Swagler and Eric Slaughter's trio; and Good 4 The Soul plays an early evening show at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night guitarist Tom Byrne's Pat Metheny-inspired project Have You Heard? will perform at BB's.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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