Jazz This Week: Harry Connick Jr, Nnenna Freelon, Steve Schenkel and Ashley Mason, Kim Portnoy Trio, St. Louis Rivermen and More


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It's a potentially busy week for fans of jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with two major touring headliners in town, a lot of activity from local musicians, and holiday-themed concerts a-plenty, too.

Let's go to the highlights, starting with singer Nnenna Freelon, (pictured) who's in town to perform at Jazz at the Bistro tonight through Saturday. For more about Freelon and some video clips of her in action, see this post from last Saturday.

The other major name in town this week is ever-popular singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr., who will brings his big band's holiday show to the Fox Theatre on Sunday. Connick Jr. has a new Christmas CD out this year, so look for Sunday's concert to draw heavily on that material as well as from his previous holiday albums.

On the local front, guitarist Steve Schenkel and singer Ashley Mason will perform material from their new Christmas CD A Midnight Clear in a free concert Thursday night for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. Also on Thursday, singer Jeanne Trevor and pianist Dave Venn headline a holiday-themed show at the Black Cat Theatre in Maplewood.

On Friday night, keyboardist Mo Egeston and trombonist Lamar Harris bring their new collaborative band The Urban Groov Project to Brandt's. And on Saturday, trumpeter Randy Holmes and his Quintet featuring singer and flute player Margaret Blanchetta will perform a tribute to the music of Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson at Cookie's Jazz and More.

On Sunday, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents the traditional jazz sounds of the St. Louis Rivermen in a matinee concert at the Moolah Shrine Center, 12545 Fee Fee Rd. That evening, the Kim Portnoy Trio, featuring the leader on piano, Ric Vice on bass and Kevin Gianino on drums with Steve Schenkel as special guest guitarist, will perform a program of original compositions at Eliot Chapel, 216 E. Argonne in Kirkwood. (A portion of proceeds from the show will go to benefit the Eliot Music Fund.)

Monday finds the Sessions Big Band back at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups, and there are three noteworthy events on Tuesday, starting in the morning when Swing Set plays a 10:00 a.m. “Coffee Concert" at the Sheldon Concert Hall. (The same program will be repeated at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday.)

Tuesday evening, the Jazz St. Louis CD Listening Club has its monthly meeting, this time to discuss the Louis Armstrong CD from the series of albums issued in conjunction with Ken Burns' PBS series “Jazz." Radio and television personality/jazz advocate Don Wolff and jazz journalist Terry Perkins will host and moderate the event, which takes place at the Brentwood location of Borders, 1519 S. Brentwood Blvd. That same night, the Gerry Mulligan/Bob Brookmeyer-inspired band Utter Chaos returns to The Gramophone.

On Wednesday, Squid Choir Orkestra brings their mix of free jazz and “power electronics" back to the Way Out Club, 2525 S. Jefferson, as the middle act on a bill that includes electronic improv group Worm Hands and avant-rockers Skarekrau Radio.

You can find more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond by visiting the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.

(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 © 2019. All rights reserved.


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