Jazz this week: Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge, Jay Oliver, Jazz St. Louis gala, and more

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With a forecast for spring-like weather in the offing, it should be a good weekend to get out and hear some live music in St. Louis.

However, if you're headed down to the annual Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, don't expect to find much jazz or blues among the musical options.

With the notable exception of the Funky Butt Brass Band, who will make appearances at the Mayor's Ball on Friday night, at the parade tent in Soulard on Saturday afternoon, and at the Old Rock House on Saturday, the corporate-dominated event unfortunately continues to rely mostly on DJs and rock cover bands, ignoring the genres most associated with Mardi Gras in the popular imagination.

That said, if you want to find some live jazz around St. Louis this week, you're in the right place. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 22

Guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge will play a duo show at Off Broadway (relocated from the originally announced venue, the Old Rock House).

Known individually for their work in jazz (Lage) and bluegrass (Eldridge), the two joined forces a few years back for an album, and have continued the project with intermittent touring between their commitments to other bands.

Now, with a new record, Mount Royal, set for release on Friday, they're doing a series of live dates in support of the release. For more about that, and some video samples of them in action, see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Wednesday, trumpeter Rob Endicott leads a quintet in the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Thursday, February 23

The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a performance by keyboardist and St. Louis native Jay Oliver (pictured, center left), accompanied by bassist/guitarist William Lenihan and drummer Steve Davis.

A childhood friend of Dave Weckl, Oliver was a member of Weckl's band in the 1990s, recording four albums with the drummer, but he's had his greatest commercial successes as a producer, programmer and songwriter for rock acts including Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles.

More recently, Oliver's “world music" project Aomusic has released four albums of original compositions and also created theme music for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Given all the time he spends in the recording studio, this show should give Oliver a good opportunity to cut loose in a live situation, and given his hometown connection, there should be a good turnout. (Note that while most Jazz at Holmes shows are free, this show will have a $10 admission charge at the door.)

Also on Thursday, the Funky Butt Brass Band kicks off Mardi Gras weekend with an early evening show at Blues City Deli; saxophonist Jason Swagler will be giving his faculty recital at Dunham Hall on the SIUE campus in Edwardsville, and saxophonist Dave Stone's trio will play at Thurman's in Shaw.

Friday, February 24

Jazz St. Louis holds their annual fundraising gala at the Sheldon Concert Hall, featuring a cocktail hour, dinner and auction; a concert from teenage piano phenom Joey Alexander's trio; and an after-party with music from singer Denise Thimes. Some tickets for Alexander's concert may still be available via Metrotix; for ticket availability for the gala, check with the Jazz St. Louis box office.

Also on Friday, percussionist Henry Claude will perform at the 560 Music Center, joined by the Vernacular String Trio, Perihelion Quartet, and trumpeter George Sams; singer Feyza Eren's quartet will play a free show at the St. Louis Art Museum; and vibraphonist Tom Rickard's trio returns to the Cigar Inn.

Saturday, February 25

Two veteran local musicians whose careers stretch back to the Gaslight Square era, pianist Dave Venn and singer Jeanne Trevor, will take the stage for one night only at Jazz at the Bistro; pianist Greg Mills will present new compositions for solo piano at Jackson Pianos; and Miss Jubilee will perform at Jacoby Arts Center in Alton.

Sunday, February 26

The Folk School of KDHX presents a traditional jazz jam session; and the Ambassadors of Swing return for an early evening performance at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

Monday, February 27

Dizzy Atmosphere plays swing and Gypsy jazz at The Shaved Duck.

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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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