Jazz This Week: "Jazz Cavalcade" with Kirk Whalum, Chicago Afrobeat Project, Javier Mendoza, Cornet Chop Suey, and More


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From African and Latin rhythms to traditional jazz and swing to a free concert featuring a well-known smooth jazz saxophonist, here's a look at what's going on over the next few days with jazz and creative music in St. Louis.

The polyrhythmic portion of the weekend gets underway on Friday night, when the Chicago Afrobeat Project performs at The Gramophone. The CAB can include from seven to 14 musicians, and draws on influences such as juju, highlife, American funk, and afro-Cuban music as well as the experimental jazz and rock of the Chicago music scene.

Also on Friday, Latin/pop/rock singer-songwriter Javier Mendoza will start a two-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro, trying his hand at some Latin jazz with an assist from special guest guitarist Dave Black (pictured). Since this is something of a first-time experiment, I don't think anyone quite knows what to expect, but given Mendoza's apparently substantial fan base, it could be a good draw for the Bistro - and if not, well, at least they're trying something a little different, something yr. humble editor generally encourages.

Also on Saturday, there's a benefit at the White Flag Projects art gallery for electronic musician Joe Raglani, who recently had a van-full of equipment stolen while on tour. See this post for details.

On Sunday, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents a concert of traditional jazz and swing from Cornet Chop Suey at Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville. And elsewhere around town, Brandt's has singer Kim Massie on Friday, and the St. Louis Jazz Cafe will feature the Neal Connors Quartet on Thursday, singer Diane Vaughn on Friday, and saxophonist Rod Tate and guitarist Gregg Haynes, aka 2Smooth, on Saturday.

Looking beyond the weekend, the next event in the Twilight Tuesdays series of free concerts at the Missouri History Museum will be “Jazz Cavalcade" featuring saxophonist Kirk Whalum. The Twilight Tuesdays shows generally feature local acts, so the presence of an internationally known, Grammy nominated headliner like Whalum is especially noteworthy.

Of course, the fact that the Memphis native is the nephew of our town's Hugh “Peanuts" Whalum likely played a role in getting him here, and the show will still have a strong local flavor, as he'll be accompanied by what should be a first-rate band of St. Louis musicians, including his uncle “Peanuts" plus Jeff Anderson, Reggie Thomas, Marty Morrison, Eric Slaughter and Danny Campbell. The Twilight Tuesdays shows usually draw a crowd, and as long as the weather is agreeable, look for a big turnout for the Whalums and company.

Also on Tuesday, after things wind down at the History Museum, you've still got time to get over to The Gramophone to hear the band Utter Chaos in another of the club's no-cover-charge shows co-sponsored with Jazz St. Louis.

For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit 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 © 2020. All rights reserved.


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