Jazz This Week: Chucho Valdes, Robert Glasper, Ligertwood/Garfield/Stevens, Michael Zerang, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Bonerama, and More


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It's definitely a busy week for live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with so many touring musicians in town that we can barely fit them all into the headline of this post. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, singer Alex Ligertwood, who's worked with Santana and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, will team up with keyboardist and St. Louis native David Garfield, who's currently working with George Benson, and saxophonist Jim Stevens for a show at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. For more on how this collaboration came to be and what to expect from the gig, see this post.

Also tonight, pianist Ken Kehner will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and singer Erika Johnson and guitarist Eric Slaughter's trio will perform at Robbie's House of Jazz.

Tomorrow night, pianist Robert Glasper (pictured) make his long-awaited St. Louis debut as a leader with the first of two nights Jazz at the Bistro. Glasper has just released a new album, Black Radio, with his group the Experiment that includes guest appearances from R&B and hip-hop performers such as Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Ledisi, Mos Def and Meshell N'degeocello. Although he's bringing his trio, rather the larger and therefore more costly Experiment, to the Bistro, don't be surprised if a few numbers from the new album turn up reworked in Glasper's sets anyway.

For more about Glasper, you can see and hear an interview with him talking about Black Radio here; and two more short video interviews, titled “Jazz with Hiphop is Music of the NOW“ and “Make Jazz Cool Again," provide some additional insight into his approach to music.

Elsewhere on Friday evening, the Chicago-based free-improvising percussionist Michael Zerang, who played here last fall with multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, will return for a duo concert with bassist Darin Gray at Floating Laboratories, 4528 Ohio. Nathan Cook and Rick Weaver will open, with Jeremy Kannapell and Joshua Weinstein serving as hosts and pre-show DJs.

Also on Friday evening, the Glenn Miller Orchestra ghost band makes its annual appearance in the area with a concert in St. Charles at Lindenwood University's Scheidegger Center for the Arts; and there are two Mardi Gras-themed shows featuring local musicians, with the Funky Butt Brass Band and Dogtown Allstars sharing a bill at the Sheldon Concert Hall's upstairs ballroom, and pianist Curt Landes leading a group including Cornet Chop Suey's trumpeter and vocalist Brian Casserly at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Saturday, there's a chance to hear another outstanding pianist, as the Cuban-born virtuoso Chucho Valdés and his Afro-Cuban Messengers play at the Sheldon Concert Hall. For much more about Valdés, who first came to fame in this country as one of the co-founders of the group Irakere, see this post from last Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, Bach to the Future will play a matinee at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville; and that night, the New Orleans based group Bonerama brings their four-trombone front line back to St. Louis for a show at the Old Rock House. The local group Metrobones, which features 14 student trombonists from around the area under the direction of Dave Dickey, will open the show.

Looking beyond the week, on Monday there's a chance to catch two more big bands in action, as Webster University's student big band plays a concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus, while downtown, the Sessions Big Band holds forth at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the “Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

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