Jazz This Week: Michael Franks, Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, and More


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This week's calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis is considerably less crowded than last week's, but there are still several notable events happening around the metro area. Let's go to the highlights:

The best-known touring performer in town this week is singer/songwriter Michael Franks, who will play on Thursday at the Ameristar Casino St. Charles' Bottleneck Blues Bar. For more about Franks and some video clips of him performing, see this post.

Also on Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series of free concerts at Washington University continues with pianist Reggie Thomas doing a performance devoted to the music of Thelonious Monk.

On Saturday, the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with a lineup featuring homegrown talent, including a group drawn from the Webster University jazz faculty, who will perform a program of lesser-known Duke Ellington songs; the Webster Groves High School jazz band; and the Robert Edwards Ensemble, the resident band at Robbie's House of Jazz, which is located adjacent to the festival site. Keyboardist Curt Landes, guitarist Teddy Presberg, and the Funky Butt Brass Band round out the festival's jazz offerings.

Yr. humble editor remains somewhat less sanguine about the event's blues menu. But rather than rehash the whole mishegas here once more, let's just say that singer/guitarist Marquise Knox and the New Orleans R&B/funk/zydeco cover band Gumbohead are reliably entertaining performers, and the rest depends on your perspective. Given its resources and circumstances, the Old Webster fest probably shouldn't be held to the same standard as a big-budget, name-brand festival, but if you think of it as a free, neighborhood event with a hipper-than-usual musical lineup, it's a different story.

Speaking of Robbie's House of Jazz, the club has singer Jeanne Trevor set to appear on Friday night; a jazz brunch with Sound Unlimited at mid-day on Saturday; and keyboardist Tony Simmons performing on Saturday night.

(And in case you were wondering, Jazz at the Bistro is dark this weekend, as this was the week when the Jazz Crusaders had been scheduled to play at the Touhill Performing Arts Center under the auspices of Jazz St. Louis. That concert was postponed due to health problems affecting Jazz Crusaders saxophonist Wilton Felder, and no other act was booked at the TouPAC or the Bistro to fill the otherwise-open weekend. The Bistro's fall schedule resumes next Wednesday with a four-night stand from pianists Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller.)

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night saxophonist Paul DeMarinis leads his band in a concert at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium, and the Sessions Big Band performs downtown at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the “Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

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