Jazz this week: Monty Alexander, Antonio Figura, the Miles Davis statue unveiled, Dave Dickey Big Band, and more


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While jazz fans from all over the world will be taking note of the long-awaited unveiling of the Miles Davis statue Saturday in Alton, IL, there also will be plenty of other interesting jazz and creative music events happening all around the St. Louis area. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, September 9

In his first St. Louis show in more than a decade, pianist Monty Alexander and his trio will perform for the first of two evenings at Jazz at the Bistro.

Alexander, who was born in Jamaica and came to the US as a child, began his jazz career in the mid-1960s, working as a sideman for musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Benny Golson, Jimmy Griffin and Frank Morgan. He began leading his own bands in the 1970s, and past editions of his trios have included highly-regarded players such as John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Ed Thigpen and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.

More recently, Alexander has become known for making music specifically connected to his Caribbean roots, recording several times with Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin and also issuing several albums of his own mixing jazz with reggae and other regional sounds.

Also on Wednesday, singer Eve Seltzer returns to Nathalie's.

Thursday, September 10

Italian pianist Antonio Figura returns to St. Louis to play a free concert kicking off this semester's Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Friday, September 11

There's no jazz at the Bistro until Sunday this weekend, as Friday is the folk/bluegrass installment of Grand Center's “Music at the Intersection" series, and a Saturday show that was set to feature bassist Jahmal Nichols got scrubbed a while back due to Nichols' tour schedule with singer Gregory Porter.

However, this year's St. Louis Art Fair, which runs through Sunday, will have a dedicated jazz stage, with   Friday's offerings including sets from singer/pianists Jesse Gannon and Anita Rosamond plus a set from the Bosman Twins. Also at the Art Fair, the Funky Butt Brass Band will take an early evening turn over on the main stage.

Elsewhere on Friday, guitarist Dave Black and band will play a free outdoor concert at Ferguson CityWalk; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to Nathalie's; and the Original Knights of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, September 12

After more than a year of anticipation, the Miles Davis Memorial Project will unveil the statue of the legendary trumpeter created by sculptor Preston Jackson, which finally will be installed in its permanent location on Third St. in downtown Alton.

The unveiling ceremony will be preceded and followed by live music from trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet on an outdoor stage near the statue, and several bars and restaurants nearby will feature live jazz on Saturday evening. Most notably, the veteran trumpeter Bobby Shew (pictured, center left) will be as a guest performer with drummer Montez Coleman's band at Elijah P's, with gigs featuring trumpeters Jim Manley and Dan Smith, guitarist Tom Byrne with singer Erika Johnson, and others happening at various other downtown spots.

Back on the west bank of the Mississippi, Miss Jubilee will be performing in a free outdoor concert at Lafayette Park, and the Art Fair's lineup for the day will include sets from the Jazz Edge Big Band, singer Denise Thimes, pianist Ptah Williams, Good 4 the Soul, and more.

Sunday, September 13

If you're looking for something to do during the day, the early fall edition of the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show will take place at the American Czech Hall, while the Art Fair will feature performances from singer Wendy Gordon, trumpeter Dawn Weber, and Animal Children on the jazz stage and singer Tony Viviano on the main stage.

That evening, the Dave Dickey Big Band (pictured, lower left) will resume their monthly residency at Jazz at the Bistro, with the University of Missouri's jazz band, directed by saxophonist Arthur White, as the intermission performers.

Monday, September 14

Guitarist Daryl Darden will be back home to headline a show at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, and Dizzy Atmosphere plays at The Shaved Duck.

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