Jazz This Week: Jazz St. Louis All-Stars and Sean Jones, Dan Thomas and Voyage, Miles Davis Jazz Festival, and More


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While not every week here in St. Louis can be as packed with touring jazz and creative music talent as was the end of Jazz Appreciation Month last week, our local and regional musicians nevertheless are serving up plenty of noteworthy performances over the next few days. So, let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the funky organ trio Downstereo will be doing their regular weekly performance at Atomic Cowboy; Miss Jubilee will sing at Thaxton Speakeasy, and saxophonist Jim Stevens is playing a solo-with-tracks gig at Stanley's Cigar Lounge, 1000 Washington Ave. downtown.

On Friday, saxophonist Dan Thomas (pictured), who comes originally from Canada by way of Kansas City, brings his quartet Voyage to St. Louis for the first of two evenings at Robbie's House of Jazz. Thomas co-chairs the jazz program at UMKC alongside former Jazz Messenger Bobby Watson, and released his first CD with Voyage last fall. It's an enjoyable, crisply executed collection of modern jazz grooves that range from straight-ahead swing to Latin, and you can access audio samples from it and Thomas' other recordings via his website.

That same evening, Jazz St. Louis will present the first of two evenings at Jazz at the Bistro featuring student musicians from the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars and JazzU programs, with trumpeter Sean Jones sitting in as a special guest star. The weekend giving the top high-school-age players from Jazz St. Louis' education programs the chance to show off what they've learned has become a spring tradition at the Bistro, enlivened in recent years by the presence of guest musicians such as Jones.

Also on Friday, trumpeter Delano Redmond leads a quartet with drummer Marty Morrison, pianist Matt Villinger and bassist LaRon Stover at Cigar Inn; and guitarist-singer Tommy Halloran and violinist Alyssa Avery play for diners at Big Sky Cafe.

On Saturday, trumpeter and vibraphonist Joe Bozzi will do a lunchtime matinee at Frontenac Grill, and later that day, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform for a Kentucky Derby Day themed event at Thurman Grill and Provisions.

Also getting started in the late afternoon Saturday is the Alton Museum of History and Art's annual Miles Davis Jazz Festival, held this year at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton. The lineup of performers includes saxophonist Fred Walker, the Marty Morrison Quartet, and guitarist Henry Taylor's revue featuring vocalist Saman Swanson.

Also on Saturday evening, the University of Missouri's Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be in town to perform a free concert at the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End; and saxophonist Tim Cunningham and singer Angela Sutherlin will play for a spring fund-raiser at Harris Stowe State University. For more about that, see this story from KPLR's Christine Buck.

On Sunday, the spring edition of the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show will take place at the American Czech Center on S. Kingshighway, with a roomful of dealers selling music in a variety of physical formats, plus related ephemera and collectables.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday guitarist Tom Byrne's trio will play at BB's Jazz Blues & Soups. Then on Tuesday morning, Cornet Chop Suey will play traditional jazz and swing for the first of two Coffee Concerts at the Sheldon Concert Hall, with the same program repeating on Wednesday morning. On Tuesday night, guitarist Dave Black brings his group to BB's for an early evening set.

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