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Jazz this week: Mike Stern & Kimberly Thompson, George Sams, Ralph Towner, Ikue Mori & Nate Wooley, Russell Gunn, and more


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As you might be able to deduce from looking at the headline for this post, it's very busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis.

Over the next few days, there will be a plethora of visiting performers on local stages, plus the opening of a play about one of the most famous jazz singers ever, free master classes from two guitar greats, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 15

Guitarist Mike Stern performs for the first of four nights continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro, joined by drummer Kimberly Thompson, saxophonist Bob Franceschini, and bassist Teymur Phell.

It's been nearly seven years since Stern (pictured, top left) last headlined a show at the Bistro, and with St. Louis native Thompson on the gig, demand for tickets should be brisk, so advance reservations are strongly recommended.

Also on Wednesday, Cabaret St. Louis presents their monthly “Open Mic Night" at The Emerald Room at The Monocle.

Thursday, February 16

On Thursday afternoon, Mike Stern will present a free jazz guitar clinic sponsored by Mozingo Music at Lindenwood University's J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts.

Thursday evening, trumpeter George Sams will perform for the “Not So Quiet" concert series at the St. Louis Public Library's main location downtown with a group including poet Shirley LeFlore, percussionist Henry Claude, cellist Tracy Andreotti, and violinist Alyssa Avery.

Also on Thursday, singer Erin Bode returns to Cyrano's; and the first preview performance of Max and Louie Productions' staging of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the Tony Award-winning play-with-music about Billie Holiday, will be presented at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

The show, which features Chicago-based actress and singer Alexis J. Roston reprising her award-winning performance as Holiday, opens officially on Friday night and continues through Saturday, March 4.

Friday, February 17

Friday afternoon, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a “Symposium on the Music of Ralph Towner" with Towner, William Lenihan and Steve Schenkel at the Goldberg Formal Lounge in the Danforth University Center on the Wash U campus.

That evening, funk legends Tower of Power will perform at River City Casino. Although drummer David Garibaldi and substitute bassist Marc Van Wageningen are still recovering from serious injuries suffered in an accident before a gig last month in Oakland, TOP's current tour is continuing, with original bassist Francis “Rocco" Prestia back on the bandstand and former drummer Herman Matthews, who played with the group for several years in the 1990s, filling in for Garibaldi.

Also on Friday, trumpeter Byron Stripling will be guest soloist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as they present their Black History Month program “Lift Every Voice and Sing," at Powell Symphony Hall.

Elsewhere around town, trumpeter Jim Manley returns to Evangeline's; trumpeter Kasimu Taylor and pianist Ptah Williams perform duets at Thurman's in Shaw; and Second Generation Swing plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, February 18

New Music Circle presents electronic musician Ikue Mori and trumpeter Nate Wooley at The Luminary.

For more about that, and some videos of Mori and Wooley in performance, see this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Jazz at Holmes series presents a solo concert by Ralph Towner at 560 Music Center. Towner has just released a new album of solo guitar performances, and you can read more about that and see and hear some videos of him in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, February 19

Trumpeter and East St. Louis native Russell Gunn, now living in Atlanta, will be back home to headline Community Women Against Hardship's “Black History Benefit" at Jazz at the Bistro, accompanied by pianist Adam Maness, singer Anita Jackson, bassist Jeff Anderson and drummer Montez Coleman.

Also on Sunday afternoon, St. Louis Jazz Club presents pianist Bob Row and friends at the Elks Lodge #9 in Creve Coeur.

Monday, February 20

Webster University Jazz Collective will perform at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

Continue Reading...

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