Jazz this week: Billy Childs' tribute to Laura Nyro; Funky Butt Brass Band; and more

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This week in St. Louis jazz and creative music, the Sheldon Concert Hall resumes their jazz series with pianist Billy Childs' tribute to an under-appreciated singer-songwriter of the 1960s and 70s; two local favorites play two nights each at Jazz at the Bistro; and more. Let's go the highlights...

Wednesday, January 27

Pianist Ptah Williams leads a group in the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro; singer Erin Bode performs for the monthly concert series at the World Chess Hall of Fame; and Elsie Parker and the Poor People of Paris return to Nathalie's.

Thursday, January 28

Bassist Darrell Mixon and friends will be at The Dark Room, substituting for Ptah Williams as he plays the Bistro, while the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly “open mic" night with live improvised music. Also on Thursday, Miss Jubilee plays swing, jump blues and more at Thaxton Speakeasy and singer Joe Mancuso returns to Thurman Grill.

Friday, January 29

The Funky Butt Brass Band get warmed up for Mardi Gras season in the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro, and trumpeter Jim Manley plays at Thurman Grill.

Saturday, January 30

Pianist Billy Childs will present “Re-Imagining Laura Nyro," featuring live performances of the material from his best-selling, Grammy Award winning album Map to the Treasure, at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Childs (pictured, upper left) first came to wide attention with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's group in the late 1970s, and still takes the occasional road gig in support of Chris Botti, but these days most of time and artistic energy seems to be spent on arranging and composing, including writing a number of commissioned works for symphony orchestra.

His latest project features interpretations of music written by Nyro, a teenage songwriting prodigy whose tunes were huge hits for The Fifth Dimension, Blood Sweat and Tears, and others, but who then experienced various career and health setbacks before her untimely death from ovarian cancer in 1997, when she was only 49 years old. For more about the project, read the preview story about Childs' concert by Calvin Wilson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch/STLtoday.com.

(The Sheldon and Metrotix are offering a discount on tickets for Childs' concert to online buyers, reducing prices to $30 for orchestra seats, $25 for the balcony. To get the discount, go here and enter the promotional code TREASURE.)

Also on Saturday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes perform at Evangeline's; trumpeter and singer Dawn Weber is at Nathalie's; and the Liberation Organ Trio plays the house concert venue KindaBlue Club.

Sunday, January 31

The Dave Dickey Big Band will present their monthly show at Jazz at the Bistro, with the Francis Howell Central HS Jazz Band playing at intermission.

Monday, February 1

Singer Debby Lennon and members of the Webster University jazz faculty will perform at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

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