Jazz This Week: Hugh Masekela, a New Look For Jazz at the Bistro, a Tribute to Floyd Leflore, Moon Hooch, and More


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It's another busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with the big news story being the re-opening of the renovated and expanded Jazz at the Bistro with two sold-out performances - one tonight for subscribers and VIPs, the other tomorrow for the general ticket-buying public - by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Though both nights have been sold out for weeks, if you don't have tickets already, you still can watch the performances streamed live over the Internet; see this post for details.

Elsewhere around town tonight, guitarist Brian Vaccaro's trio is playing a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; guitarist Dave Black and friends are at Nathalie's; and over on the east side of the Mississippi, saxophonist Jason Swagler will perform his faculty recital at Dunham Hall on the SIU Edwardsville campus.

On Friday, Lindy Hop St. Louis will present their monthly “West End Stomp" at the Mahler Ballroom, this month featuring music for dancing by Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes. For more danceable music that evening, you can check out the Original Knights of Swing at the Casa Loma Ballroom, or Miss Jubilee at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Those in more of a listening mood on Friday night can catch pianist Brad Ellebrecht's quartet with singer Diane Vaughn at the Ozark Theatre, or guitarist Tom Byrne and singer Erika Johnson dueting at the downtown location of Robust Wine Bar.

On Saturday, famed trumpeter/flugelhornist Hugh Masekela (pictured) and fellow South African, singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela, will perform in celebration of “20 Years of Freedom" at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Although the program's historical theme no doubt will guide most of the evening's musical selections, it's hard to imagine that Masekela won't be able work “Grazing In The Grass" in there somewhere.

Also on Saturday night, Big Sam's Funky Nation will be in town from New Orleans for a return visit to the Broadway Oyster Bar, and the Twin Cities- based jump blues and swing band Davina and the Vagabonds, who performed last month at the Monterey Jazz Festival, will take the stage at BB's.

Coming from a bit closer to home, trumpeter/vibraphonist Joe Bozzi and his band will be at Evangeline's, and saxophonist Sam Hargadine's quartet with singer Feyza Eren will play at Bar Italia.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club will present pianist Dave Venn and singer Sherry Drake at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis - Westport.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the improvising ensemble Numbers will present a tribute to the late trumpeter and Black Artists Group co-founder Floyd LeFlore at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Also on Monday, the trio Moon Hooch, whose groove-based music played by two saxophonists and a drummer has gotten a lot of media attention of late, will be in town for a performance at 2720 Cherokee. You can get a pretty good idea of what they're about by checking out the Tiny Desk Concert they recorded earlier this year for NPR.

(My take is that while Moon Hooch's ensemble cohesion and energy level certainly are impressive, every time I've heard a recording of their music, I get about five minutes in and start wishing fervently that they had a bassist. Your mileage may vary, of course, and based on their background as buskers, they seem to be pretty good at engaging a crowd, so their live show may be a qualitatively different experience.)

Then on Tuesday, Samba Bom will play Brazilian jazz, samba, and more at a “Notes From Home" show at the Sheldon.

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