Jazz This Week: Byron Stripling's Tribute to Louis Armstrong; Kirk Whalum Plays Keilwerth; Free Outdoor Jazz Concerts; and More


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Though the official start of summer still is a couple of weeks off, the summer season of free outdoor concerts around St. Louis already is well underway. This time of year also usually brings some visitors to StLJN who find the site by searching for “free jazz concerts in the park" or something similar, as well as a few emails from people asking where those free outdoor jazz concerts can be found.

Well, the short answer to that question is, all over the place. While there's no free outdoor summer concert series in the St. Louis area devoted specifically to jazz, local jazz musicians definitely will be turning up in various locations around town as part of different concert series over the next three months. All of those listings that I've been able to locate have been added to the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, and during the summer months, I'll also make an effort to spotlight at least of few of those free concerts every week in this space.

For example, tonight saxophonist Tim Cunningham is playing a free outdoor concert at Bluebird Park in Ellisville. Also on Thursday evening, pianist and electronic musician Jim Hegarty and bassist Willem von Hombracht will be improvising freely at the Tavern of Fine Arts; Good 4 The Soul will do an early evening set at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; and Robbie's House of Jazz will present the Sidemen, featuring clarinetist and saxophonist Eric Sager, guitarist Jon Ferber, pianist Carl Pandolfi, bassist Richard Tralles and drummer John Marshall.

On Friday, singer Erin Bode and her group will return to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of two nights. Given Bode's popularity, there's usually a good turnout for her shows at the Bistro, so advance reservations are recommended.

Also on Friday, Cornet Chop Suey will play a free outdoor concert at Schroeder Park, 359 Old Meramec Station Rd. in Manchester; and singer Joe Mancuso and his quartet, with guest saxophonist Jerry Greene, are performing at the Italia-America Bocce Club, 2210 Marconi Ave. on the Hill.

On Saturday, singer Feyza Eren's trio will perform at mid-day at Rue Lafayette, 2026 Lafayette Ave., which now is featuring live music, mostly jazz, regularly during brunch/lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

On Saturday evening, trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling (pictured) will be back in town to team up with with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall for “Sounds of New Orleans: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong." For more about Stripling, who also played here earlier this year at Jazz at the Bistro after doing a week-long educational residency for Jazz St. Louis, see this post from back in February. And for some video samples of the tribute's subject, Louis Armstrong, in action, check out this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday night, the Gateway City Big Bend will play at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 808 N. Mason Rd in Creve Coeur; and percussionist Henry Claude and cellist Tracy Andreotti, using the nom de guerre “The Steve and Jennifer Project," will perform “spontaneous acoustic and electro-acoustic music" at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

On Sunday afternoon, saxophonist Kirk Whalum will be at Saxquest for a free performance and promotional event called “A Taste of Keilwerth," demonstrating the manufacturer's latest models of saxophones.

Also on Sunday, the St. Charles Community Big Band plays a free outdoor concert at Frontier Park on the riverfront; guitarist Tom Byrne plays at the Schlafly St. Louis Brewery & Tap Room; and funky organ trio Downstereo will hold forth at the Delmar Lounge.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the University City High School Jazz Band will play a free outdoor concert at Heman Park in U. City, and the Sessions Big Band returns to BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups for their monthly gig.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Big Band with vocalist Dave Gill will present a show called “The Soul of Sinatra" at the Sheldon Concert Hall; and Swing Deville will play a free outdoor concert at Fanetti Park, which is located at the intersection of Michigan and Schirmer on the south side.

Las tbut not least, on Wednesday, the Meramec Jazz Band will be back for an encore performance at the Black Cat Theatre in Maplewood.

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