Jazz this week: Oliver Lake, Hamid Drake, Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, David Liebman, and more

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It's a fine week to be a fan of jazz and creative music in St. Louis, as the calendar offers a jam-packed schedule of upcoming performances in a variety of styles and genres from big band and straight-ahead swing to free improv and experimental music.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, April 20

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman finish their two-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. While some tickets may remain for the 9:30 performance, call ahead to check for availability.

Also tonight, Erin Bode performs at Cyrano's, Sarah Jane & The Blue Notes return (in trio form) to The Feasting Fox, and Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly “Open Mic Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Thursday, April 21

Saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake returns to headline “BAG- A Celebration of the Black Artists Group" at Jazz At The Bistro.

Lake, poet Shirley LeFlore and drummer Charles “Bobo” Shaw will take part in a panel discussion about BAG, and then will perform, abetted by bassist Darryl Mixon and trumpeter George Sams. The latest from Jazz St. Louis is that this free event is at capacity, so if you don't already have a ticket, you can still show up and watch from the Bistro's adjacent first floor lounge or hope for returns and/or no-shows.

Also on Thursday, drummer Hamid Drake (pictured, top left) will be visiting from Chicago to perform with bassist Joshua Abrams and saxophonist Ernest Dawkins at Joe's Cafe Gallery.

Abrams and Dawkins are last-minute replacements for percussionist Adam Rudolph, who was scheduled for a duo performance with Drake but unfortunately, has fallen ill and can't travel this week.While their presence will make the program undoubtedly different than a Drake/Rudolph duet, it nevertheless should prove to be a satisfying experience for fans of creative improvised music.

Elsewhere on Thursday, trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, and the high school students of the North County Big Band will show off what they've learned this semester in a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Friday, April 22

The public portion of the 2016 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival gets underway with a concert by guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli at the Touhill Performing Arts Center., with the UMSL Jazz Ensemble as opening act.

A longtime favorite of St. Louis audiences, Pizzarelli was here most recently last year to perform at a benefit gala for The Sheldon. You can read StLJN's review of a Pizzarelli performance in 2014 at Jazz at the Bistro here.

Also on Friday, singer Erika Johnson and guitarist Tom Byrne perform at Evangeline's; guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith will play at Thurman Grill; singer Joe Mancuso leads a quartet at Nathalie's; and Miss Jubilee will play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, April 23

Saxophonist David Liebman makes a rare visit to St. Louis with his group Expansions, presenting a free workshop and concert during the afternoon at Saxquest and then performing two sets on Saturday evening at Jazz at the Bistro.

For more about Liebman and a video of a workshop and performance featuring him and the members of Expansions, see this post from Monday.

Also on Saturday, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival wraps up with a “Tribute to Maynard Ferguson," featuring a group of former Ferguson sidemen billed as the M.F. All-Star Band, at the Touhill. You can see videos of some of the musicians performing in the concert in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Elsewhere around town, saxophonist Chad Evans will perform at Mozingo Music; guitarist Matthew Von Doran leads a trio at The Dark Room; and multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman and guitarist Dave Black will play at the house concert venue Kinda Blue Club.

Sunday, April 24

The Dave Dickey Big Band will present their monthly performance at Jazz at the Bistro, with the UMSL Jazz Ensemble playing at intermission, while the Gateway City Big Band takes the stage at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

Monday, April 25

Webster University's student jazz singers will perform at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

Tuesday, April 26

New Music Circle ends their 2015-16 season with a free event presenting a program of experimental films from Poland plus live musical accompaniment from 18&Counting, Vernacular String Trio and Chris Smentkowski at the St. Louis Public Library downtown.

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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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