Jazz This Week: St. Louis Cabaret Festival, Bull of Heaven, "All That Tap Xxiii," and More


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Though the dog days of August are looming nigh, it's a busy week for live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with local festivals representing two different branches of jazz-related performance, a rare live gig from a much-talked-about experimental music duo, and a whole lot more. Let's go the highlights...

Tonight, Broadway star Faith Prince kicks off the St. Louis Cabaret Festival with a performance of her show “Have A Little Faith" at the Sheldon ballroom. Produced by Cabaret Project of St. Louis, the festival takes place in conjunction with their annual St. Louis Cabaret Conference. You can read more about it and see some video of Prince and the festival's other headliners in this post from last Saturday.

Tomorrow, the Cabaret Festival continues with longtime St. Louis favorite Ann Hampton Callaway (pictured) presenting “The Streisand Songbook" at the Sheldon.

Also on Thursday, pianist Kara Baldus, bassist Eric Stiller and drummer Kyle Honeycutt will play a free concert to wrap up Washington University's summer Jazz at Holmes series, which is being staged at Tisch Commons in the Danforth University Center; and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly “Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.

On Friday, the Cabaret Festival presents a double bill at the Sheldon, with pianist and singer Billy Stritch opening with his own show entitled “I've Got Your Number: The Jazz of Cy Coleman" and then accompanying singer Marilyn Maye for her headlining set. Given Maye's status as one of the reigning grande dames of cabaret, this seems a likely sellout, so if you're interested in going, advance reservations would be a must.

Fortunately, if you can't get tickets in time, there will be plenty of St. Louis jazz vocal talent on display around town on Friday, too, as Miss Jubilee plays a free show at the St. Louis Art Museum; Wendy Gordon and pianist Arthur Toney return to DeLeo's Cafe & Deli; the Ann Dueren Trio performs at Il Bel Lago; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will be swinging at Evangeline's. And should you be out west in Union, MO, you can catch singer Joe Mancuso's quartet at Domenic's Ristorante and Social Club (membership in la familia not required.).

On Saturday, the Cabaret Festival wraps up with the St. Louis Cabaret Conference Showcase at the Kranzberg Arts Center, featuring performances from a roster of up-and-coming singers in town to take part in the conference.

That same evening, the spotlight shines on yet another part of the jazz diaspora as the annual St. Louis Tap Festival comes to a conclusion with “All That Tap XXIII", presented this year at the Edison Theatre.

Pianist Carolbeth True's trio will provide the music for a lineup of dancers including the festival's founder, Robert L. Reed; Emmy Award-winning choreographer Jason Samuels Smith; dancer and author Karen Callaway Williams; the Israeli dance team of Avi Miller and Ofer Ben; Reed’s protégé Logan Miller; multi-media choreographer Bob Audy; Evan Ruggiero; Maud and Chloe Arnold, who were featured on this past season of the Fox network's So You Think You Can Dance; Martin 'Tre' Dumas III; and Megan Maltos.

Elsewhere around town on Saturday, the experimental duo Bull of Heaven will be in town for a rare live performance at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. As much a conceptual art project as a performing unit, Bull of Heaven reportedly have released hundreds of thousands of hours of audio since being formed in 2006, including individual “songs" that are hundreds of hours long, as well as “music puzzles" using some of the peculiarities and specifics of digital technology to deliver unexpected results. For a bit more about them, and links to interviews with the group's members, see this post.

And if all that's not enough for one Saturday night, the Funky Butt Brass Band will be making a comparatively rare non-holiday appearance at Off Broadway; and singer Tony Viviano will present his “Tony Bennett 88th Birthday Tribute" at Four Seasons Winery in Chesterfield.

On Sunday, the Friends of Scott Joplin will host their monthly “Ragtime Rendezvous" at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site; singers Mary Dyson and Dianne Vaughn will be this week's guest stars with saxophonist Willie Akins' quartet at Troy's Jazz Gallery; and guitarist Dave Black will play at Pomme Cafe & Wine Bar.

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