Jazz This Week: Rick Haydon Quartet, Terence Blanchard, Ragtime at Scott Joplin's House, Oikos Ensemble, and More


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If you're looking to get out hear some live jazz in St. Louis, there's there's plenty of local music on tap over the weekend, with some new weekly gigs getting underway, plus some visiting players coming to town to play free concerts next week. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, singer Joe Mancuso and his band begin a new weekly Thursday gig at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, and Miss Jubilee performs downtown at Thaxton Speakeasy.

On Friday, guitarist Rick Haydon will take the stage for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro. Haydon, who plays a seven-string guitar not unlike those used by Bucky and John Pizzarelli, is a longtime member of the jazz faculty at SIUE, and just wrapped up his first year heading the jazz studies program there. He'll be backed at the Bistro by Kara Baldus Vandiver on keyboards, Roger Guth on drums and Jim Mayer on bass.

Also Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band is doing a free outdoor show for the annual Art & Air Festival, held on the grounds of Eden Seminary in Webster Groves; Lindy Hop St. Louis presents their monthly West End Stomp wing dance at the Mahler Ballroom, with music from The Sidemen; and the Ambassadors of Swing will play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom.

On Saturday, saxophonist Willie Akins and his quartet will bring Akins' long-running Saturday matinee to a new location, the Cigar Inn in Bellevile. As longtime local jazz fans know, Akins played Saturdays at the now-defunct Spruill's for many years before the venue closed last year. Since then, he's tried several different venues for the gig before landing now at Cigar Inn, which is going smoke-free for Akins' performances.

Then on Saturday night, guitarist Randy Bahr and pianist Carolbeth True will duet at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes are at Thurman Grill; and singer-guitarist Tommy Halloran plays at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Sunday, singer Danita Mumphard teams up with saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie and the Oikos Ensemble for another concert in the “Inner Jazz' series at Kirkwood United Church of Christ.

Also on Sunday, trumpeter Delano Redmond, who spends his work weeks directing the acclaimed jazz band program at East St. Louis High School, is stepping out front to lead a quartet in a new weekly gig at Troy's Jazz Gallery. UPDATE - 8:30 p.m., 6/6/13: A few minutes after this post went up, Redmond posted on Twitter that there's no show this week, and the new Sunday gig now will commence on June 16. More as we get it...

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band will return to BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

Then on Tuesday, the “Election Tour for A Stranger America," a politically themed music and performance piece by Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto, comes to the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. LNAC's March Sarich and the Dave Stone Trio also are on the bill; for more, see this post.

On Wednesday, the Friends of Scott Joplin and the Scott Joplin State Historic Site will present a free ragtime concert at the Joplin site, 2658 Delmar at Beaumont. The late-afternoon event will feature pianists Andrew Barrett, Max Keenlyside, John Reed-Torres, William McNally and more.

Then on Wednesday evening, trumpeter Terence Blanchard (pictured), who will be in town for the premiere next week of his opera Champion at Opera Theatre St. Louis, will play a free concert for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. He'll follow up that up on Thursday with another free show for the Whitaker Urban Evenings series at St. Louis Place Park.

Given that local audiences have repeatedly paid good money to hear the New Orleans native perform here at the Bistro, The Sheldon and elsewhere, these two shows definitely qualify as the best deals of the week. For more about Blanchard and some samples of his music, see this post from last Saturday.

And if that weren't enough, there's also a new weekly gig happening on Wednesdays, as bassist Willem von Hombracht and his New St. Louis Jazz X-Tet will be holding forth at midweek until further notice at the aforementioned Cafe Eau at the Chase Park Plaza.

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