Jazz this week: SFJAZZ Collective, Champian Fulton, Lonberg-Holm & Gjerstad, and more


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It's looking like it'll be a good weekend to get out and hear some live music, and fortunately, there's an ample selection of jazz and creative music happening in and around St. Louis over the next few days.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, March 30

The SFJAZZ Collective performs for the first of four nights, continuing with two sets per night through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

The Collective is an all-star ensemble assembled by the San Francisco not-for-profit presenter SFJAZZ that tours each year with original music plus new arrangements of works from a single featured composer. This year, they're taking on the song catalog of the late Michael Jackson, and if you're wondering how hit singles from the “King of Pop" can be translated into instrumental jazz, see this video post from a couple of Saturdays ago for some live performance samples.

Thursday, March 31

The Gaslight Cabaret Festival's spring series resumes with singer Lisa Rothauser and pianist/songwriter Tor Hyams performing their show “Life. Who Knew?" at the Gaslight Theater.

Also on Thursday, the latest installment of musician NNN Cook's “Bruxism" experimental music series will feature Jeff Kolar, the Vernacular String Trio, and Strong Force at the Schlafly Tap Room downtown; and Dave Black, Aaron Burlbaw, Farshid Soltanshahi, and Paul Quinn will team up for “A Night of Guitars" at Joe's Cafe.

Friday, April 1

The regional edition of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington festival, sponsored by the St. Louis Jazz Club, will take place in Dunham Hall on the SIU Edwardsville campus. The day-long event culminates in an evening concert that's open to the public, featuring performances from the participating bands representing area high schools, members of SIUE's jazz faculty, and visiting clinicians including pianist (and SIUE alumnus) Reggie Thomas, saxophonist Ron Carter, drummer Dennis Mackrel, bassist Jeff Campbell, and pianist Jim Gasior.

Elsewhere on Friday, singer Amy Friedl Stoner performs her cabaret show “Tapestry: The Music of Carole King" at the Gaslight Theater; Dreaming in Colour brings some jazz/fusion to West County at the Sky Music Lounge; and Jazz St. Louis will host their first-ever “Sophisticated Singles" mixer in the first floor lounge adjacent to the Ferring Jazz Bistro space.

Also of interest on Friday, thenew feature film Born to Be Blue, starring Ethan Hawke as the talented-but-troubled singer and trumpet player Chet Baker, opens its St. Louis run at the Tivoli Theatre. Mixing fact with some fictional elements, the movie “zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the 1960s, just as the musician attempts to stage a hard-fought comeback, spurred in part by a passionate romance with a new flame." You can watch the trailer for Born to Be Blue here.

Saturday, April 2

On Saturday afternoon, the Scott Air Force Base Jazz Combo will present a free performance and workshop at Saxquest.

Also on Saturday afternoon, there will be a public ceremony dedicating a new mural of the late trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry, which was painted by St. Louis artist Ray Harvey on commission from the Carondelet Community Betterment Association on a building at 7714 South Broadway.

In addition to plenty of laudatory words about Terry, the event also will feature a set of music by Champian Fulton and her quartet.

Fulton, born in Oklahoma and now based in NYC, is a swinging pianist and singer who will make her St. Louis debut with this performance. Now in her early 30s, she's known Terry since her childhood, having befriended him through her father, trumpeter Stephen Fulton. Fulton currently is touring in support of a new album, After Dark, and will be joined on this gig by her dad to perform songs written by and/or associated with Terry.

On Saturday evening, singer Joe Mancuso will incorporate some of his original songs into his first-ever cabaret show “That's (My) Life" at the Gaslight Theater; guitarist Tom Byrne leads a trio at The Dark Room; and the Jim Manley/Randy Bahr All-Star Band returns to Nathalie's.

Sunday, April 3

The Gaslight Cabaret Festival wraps up the weekend with a double-header, with singers Katie McGrath and Nicole Hudson performing a matinee of their show “Where the Heart Is," followed in the evening by a showcase for singers from the St. Louis Cabaret Conference's professional track, both at the Gaslight Theater.

Monday, April 4

Pianist Greg Mills returns to the Tavern of Fine Arts; the student jazz combos from Webster University will show off what they've learned this semester with a free performance at Webster's Community Music School; and saxophonist “Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play their monthly show at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Tuesday, April 5

Chicago-based cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, a mainstay of that city's improvised music scene, will join forces with Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad for a performance of spontaneous music at Jackson Pianos.

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