Jazz This Week: Spokfrevo Orquestra, Jesse Gannon and Truth, Dave Dickey Big Band, a New Film About Clark Terry, and More


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The schedule of jazz and creative music for this Halloween weekend in St. Louis features everything from intimate cabaret shows to roaring big bands, plus the local debut of a new documentary film featuring a St. Louis-born jazz legend. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the Gaslight Cabaret Festival resumes with Ken Haller presenting the first of two performances of his show “Mama's Boy" at the Gaslight Theater; and saxophonist Adam Schefkind will become the first Washington University student to headline a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series.

Also tonight, Sandy Weltman will lead a harmonica workshop at Mozingo Music's O'Fallon location; and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly “Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.

Tomorrow, pianist and singer Jesse Gannon and his band Truth will perform for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro, becoming the first St. Louis act to make their Bistro debut in the new, renovated version of the room.

Also tomorrow, singer Dean Christopher no doubt will be breaking out the celebrity impressions during the performance of his “Rat Pack and More" show at the Ozark Theatre; singer Erika Johnson and guitarist Tom Byrne will duet at Robust Wine Bar's downtown location; Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and bassist Darrell Mixon leads a trio at Cigar Inn.

And let's not forget that Friday also is the first evening that Keep On Keepin' On, the new documentary about trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry, will be showing at the Tivoli Theater. The bad news is that the film is only playing here locally for a week; the good news is that the producers are offering free tickets to selected showings this weekend. For more about all of that, see this post.

On Saturday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play swing, hot jazz and jump blues at Evangeline's; singer Ron Wilkinson will perform at the Ozark Theatre; and the Gaslight Cabaret Festival will present a “Webster Senior Showcase" featuring Webster University students Michael Williams, Eden Rain Eernissee, and Michael Dewar at the Gaslight Theater

Then on Sunday, the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show will present their November event at the  American Czech Hall, 4690 Lansdowne at Kingshighway on the south side.

That evening, listeners can choose between two big band concerts, both happening in the Grand Center district. At Jazz at the Bistro, the Dave Dickey Big Band will be making their debut at the venue, having moved their monthly shows from their former location at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

Meanwhile, just a couple of short blocks away, the Brazilian big band SpokFrevo Orquestra (pictured), which mixes jazz with styles associated with the Brazilan carnival, will be wrapping up their eight-city tour of the USA with a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

As shown in the video of a full concert included in part three of StLJN's fall 2014 jazz preview, this a musically accomplished and sonically explosive group, and it's too bad that their appearance here seems to be flying under the radar of much of the local media.

Fortunately for big band enthusiasts, the shows start two hours apart, meaning that it should theoretically be possible to catch the first set of the Dickey band at the Bistro, then hustle on over to Sheldon to hear SpokFrevo Orquestra. (The only downside to this plan is that it likely means missing the intermission set at the Bistro by the Lindbergh High School Jazz Ensemble.)

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the free jazz and improvising ensemble Numbers returns to Tavern of Fine Arts; and Webster University's student jazz combos will be performing at the University's Community Music School.

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