Jazz this week: Moon Hooch, Avishai Cohen's Triveni, Mardra & Reggie Thomas, and more


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Memorial Day weekend may be arriving a bit earlier than usual this year, but along with it, St. Louis fans of jazz and creative music can enjoy a couple of touring headliners, the return of some longtime local favorites, a day of performances paying tribute to an influential figure on the local scene, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, May 20

Moon Hooch returns to St. Louis for another gig at 2720 Cherokee. The difficult-to-categorize trio got their start busking in the subways and streets of NYC, and over the past couple of years have brought their funky, stripped-down sound to clubs, concerts and festivals.

Also tonight, Sarah Jane & The Blue Notes perform at the Feasting Fox, and guitarist Dave Black plays at Thurman Grill.

Thursday, May 21

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen brings his trio Triveni to Jazz at the Bistro for one night only.

Also featuring drummer Nasheet Waits, who's appeared on all three of the group's recordings, and bassist Linda Oh, subbing for Omer Avital, Triveni is featured on three of Cohen's recordings as a leader, the most recent of which is Dark Nights, released last October. 

You can read more about Cohen and Triveni and see some samples of them in performance in this video post from last Saturday, and you can read a review of their show this week in Kansas City here.

Elsewhere around town, pianist Ptah Williams and guitarist Eric Slaughter are continuing with themed shows in their weekly residency at The Dark Room, this week performing music from the songbook of Earth, Wind and Fire.

Friday, May 22

Former St. Louisans Mardra and Reggie Thomas, whose vocals and keyboards were staples of the local music scene for more than a decade, will be back in town to headline two nights of performances at Jazz at the Bistro.

After moving to Michigan several years ago, the Thomasas (pictured, bottom left) now are based in Macomb, IL, where last fall Reggie Thomas succeeded Ronald Carter as head of the jazz studies program at Northern Illinois University.

This weekend, they'll be showcasing some of the music from their most recent album, Matters of the Heart, accompanied by a band including three St. Louis musicians - saxophonist Jason Swagler, bassist Zeb Briskovich, and drummer Montez Coleman - plus backing vocalists Nicole Jonas, Olivia Neal, and Zelina Star, and Detroit native Perry Hughes on guitar.

Elsewhere on Friday, the annual Glendale Jazz Festival will feature free, outdoor performances from the St. Louis Big Band, blues guitarist Pennsylvania Slim, and Miss Jubilee at Glendale City Hall, 424 N Sappington Rd.; singers and brothers Tony Viviano and Frank Viviano will join forces at Talayna's Italian Restaurant in Chesterfiled; and singer Joe Mancuso brings a quartet to Nathalie's.

Saturday, May 23 Saxophonist Tim Cunningham will be back at Troy's Jazz Gallery, while guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith will team up for some duets at Thurman Grill.

Sunday, May 24

Jazz St. Louis will present the second Richard McDonnell Memorial Concert at Jazz at the Bistro. The concert honoring the memory of the late founder of MAXJAZZ records and former Jazz St. Louis board member will begin mid-afternoon and continue through the evening will music from Peter Martin, the Funky Butt Brass Band, Adam Maness, Bob DeBoo, Eric Slaughter, Montez Coleman, Jesse Gannon, and more. 

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