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Jazz this week: Poncho Sanchez; Cooper-Moore, Abrams & Drake; Glendale Jazz Festival; Willie Akins Jazz Festival; and more

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The busy Memorial Day weekend schedule of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes the return of a leading light of Latin jazz; an all-star assembly of creative improvisors; a benefit raising funds for scholarships in the name of the late St. Louis saxophonist Willie Akins, and more.

Let's go the highlights....

Wednesday, May 23

Percussionist Poncho Sanchez and his band, who are pretty much the gold standard these days for small combo Latin jazz, perform for the first of four nights at Jazz St. Louis.

For some samples of what you might expect to hear, check out Sanchez and company in action via video in this post from 2014.

Also on Wednesday, this week's “Grand Center Jazz Crawl" features the St. Louis Steady Grinders at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session led by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Elsewhere around town, the Ambassadors of Swing return for another “Shake and Shout Wednesday" at Tin Roof St. Louis; and The 442s and Erin Bode will perform for the monthly concert series at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Thursday, May 24

Percussionist Joe Pastor's trio returns to The Dark Room; pianist Adam Maness' trio is back at Thurman's in Shaw; and bassist Willem von Hombracht duets with violinist Abbie Steiling at The Pat Connolly Tavern.

Friday, May 25

The Glendale Jazzfest, now in its 19th year, has moved from City Hall to Glendale Lutheran Church, but still is free and open to the public. This year's fest will feature trumpeter Randy Holmes and his Hard Bop 7 playing music by Horace Silver, plus Chicago saxophonist Shawn Maxwell and singers Anita Rosamond and Coco Soul.

Elsewhere around town, the Funky Butt Brass Band performs for the the St. Louis Zoo's free “Jungle Boogie" event; and Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, May 26

New Music Circle closes out their 2017-18 presenting season with a show featuring a collaboration among multi-instrumentalists Cooper-Moore, Joshua Abrams, and Hamid Drake (pictured, bottom left) at Off Broadway.

All three are veterans of the international creative music scene, performing together for the first time here in St. Louis. You can find out more about them and see videos of all three in action (albeit individually) in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, singers Jeanne Trevor and Joe Mancuso will be backed by guitarist Dave Black and bassist Willem von Hombracht for a show at Focal Point; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to the Venice Cafe; and singer Tony Viviano performs at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar.

Sunday, May 27 The second annual Willie Akins Jazz Festival will take place at the Grandel Theatre, with a post-concert jam session at The Dark Room.

The event, which is raising money for scholarships in Akins' name at Webster University, will feature music from Ben Reece's Unity Quartet; trumpeter Danny Campbell's quartet; a specially assembled band fronted by saxophonists Freddie Washington, Paul DeMarinis, and Kendrick Smith; singers Erika Johnson and Joe Mancuso; and more.

Monday, May 28

Dizzy Atmosphere plays Swing and Gypsy jazz at The Shaved Duck, and singer and guitarist Tommy Halloran is back at Yaquis on Cherokee.

Tuesday, May 29

“Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, and pianist Pat Joyce will play at Evangeline's.

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