Jazz this week: SFJAZZ Collective, Bill Frisell, Tomas Fujiwara's The Hook Up, and more


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This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features three noteworthy touring acts with widely disparate styles, plus a couple of Sunday big band performances, some free jazz, some vintage swing, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, April 26

The SFJAZZ Collective opens a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

The all-star ensemble's featured composer this year is Miles Davis, and they'll be performing a repertoire drawn from their latest album, which features eight new arrangements of music associated with the iconic trumpeter, plus new original music by each of the group's eight members.

You can see and hear the SFJAZZ Collective perform some of that material on video, and find out more about their Miles Davis project in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Wednesday night, singer Erin Bode will perform for the Chapel Concerts series at St. Vincent Home for Children in north county; the Grand Center Jazz Crawl offers live music at four different venues in the district, and the weekly jazz jam session at Nesby's in South County welcomes both players and listeners.

Thursday, April 27

Singer Brian Owens headlines “Evening of Hope," an event at the Sheldon Concert Hall benefiting the Hope Center at Washington University; and around the corner, pianist Ptah Williams, guitarist Eric Slaughter and company will be performing at The Dark Room.

Friday, April 28

Guitarist Bill Frisell will lead a trio with his frequent collaborators, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen, in a performance at The Ready Room.

Recently the subject of a feature-length documentary about his life and music, the prolific Frisell last year released When You Wish Upon a Star, featuring interpretations of songs from Hollywood films and TV, and also did an album and a series of live dates with with saxophonist Charles Lloyd's latest group, The Marvels.

Frisell's next project, a series of duets with bassist Thomas Morgan called Small Town, is due out in May, but given his long history with Scherr and Wollesen, he could be pulling material from deep in his catalog for Friday's show, his first St. Louis performance since 2013.

Also on Friday, the STL Free Jazz Collective will present a free concert at the 14th Street Artist Community in the Old North neighborhood.

Saturday, April 29

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara’s The Hook Up will perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle at The Stage at KDHX.

Fujiwara and guitarist Mary Halvorson played a concert for NMC in 2014 as part of the trio Thumbscrew, and in some ways, The Hook Up seems a bit like a superset of that band, with Adam Hopkins in for Formanek on bass and the addition of saxophonist Brian Settles and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson.

Starting in 2010, The Hook Up has released three recordings so far, the most recent being 2015's After All Is Said, which AllAboutJazz.com called “one of the most accessible, challenging and inventive recordings of recent vintage.”

Also on Saturday, trumpeter Randy Holmes' quintet will celebrate the birth of Duke Ellington with a free concert of his music at the Ozark Theatre; and Evangeline's has a day-night double-header of live jazz, with The Sidemen performing at lunch and Wack-A-Doo during the evening,

Sunday, April 30

The St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show will present their spring event at the American Czech Educational Center, and Folk School of KDHX will host their monthly traditional jazz jam session.

A little later in the day, the student performers of the North County Big Band will team up with the pros in the Gateway City Big Band for a joint concert at the The Sheldon. Meanwhile, out in St. Charles County, the Dave Dickey Big Band will play an early evening show at Brewskeez in O'Fallon, with the Pattonville High School Jazz Ensemble performing at intermission.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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