Jazz This Week: Freddy Cole and Harry Allen, Soul Rebels, Bluesweek, Dave Dickey Big Band, and More


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There's a wide variety of jazz and creative music performances coming up this Memorial Day weekend in St. Louis, from straight-ahead jazz to New Orleans brass to big band to fusion and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, singer-pianist Freddy Cole and tenor saxophonist Harry Allen team up for the first of four evenings continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Cole, the brother of famed singer and pianist Nat “King" Cole, has played the Bistro to appreciative crowds several times in recent years, but this is the first time he'll be teamed with Allen, who draws inspiration from swing era tenor players like Lester Young, Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins. For some videos of Allen performing, and a link to an earlier video post about Cole, see this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Also tonight, Sound Unlimited plays at Frontenac Grill; Dizzy Atmosphere will be at the Shaved Duck; and trumpeter Jim Manley will perform at Sasha's Wine Bar.

Tomorrow night, New Orleans' Soul Rebels will be in town to perform at the Old Rock House. The group offers their own hip-hop influenced twist on the traditional brass band sound, mixing in plenty of solo and group vocals and raps along with trumpets, trombone, sax, tuba and drums. You can see some video samples of the Soul Rebels in action in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Thursday, drummer Montez Coleman leads a tribute to Art Blakey at Robbie's House of Jazz  (which will be closed for the rest of the Memorial Day weekend); Miss Jubilee plays at the Thaxton Speakeasy; pianist and singer Jesse Gannon leads a trio at Oceano Bistro; and the “Kids Rock Cancer" benefit at the Sheldon Concert Hall will include performances by Erin Bode and Peter Martin.

Friday is the start of the annual Bluesweek festival, which will be held again at the Soldiers Memorial downtown, but with just one stage this year. The free event features plenty of blues, obviously, but also some acts that may be of interest to jazz listeners, including the New Orleans funk of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue (pictured) on Friday night; a jazz guitar set with Tom Byrne, Dave Black and Eric Slaughter on Saturday afternoon: and a Fontella Bass tribute featuring singer Marsha Evans and the Coalition on Sunday. A complete schedule of Bluesweek events is here

Also on Friday, trombonist John Covelli's Jazz Co-Laboratory plays the music of Wayne Shorter at Cigar Inn, saxophonist Kristian Baarsvik leads a trio at Tavern of Fine Arts; and singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at Chaser's Lounge in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

On Saturday, Tom Byrne, leading his own band this time, will play at Thurman Grill, and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will bring their jump blues and swing sound to the Wine Press.

Then on Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band plays their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. Their special guest performers at intermission this month will be the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars, the student ensemble featuring some of the top high-school players from Jazz St. Louis' education programs.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Tuesday the jazz/rock/fusion band Steizuello returns to the Sheldon Concert Hall for a “Notes From Home" concert.

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