StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Seven more views of "St. Louis Blues"


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This week, it's part two of our look at “St. Louis Blues," featuring some contemporary versions of W.C. Handy's most famous composition.

The first video actually combines aspects of both vintage and contemporary, since it features New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing a traditional arrangement of “St. Louis Blues," but was recorded in July 1996 at a festival gig in Mountain View, CA.

Veteran pianist Eddie Higgins, who was a mainstay of the Chicago scene and recorded with a number of jazz stars in the 1950s and 60s before setting up shop in Florida in the 1970s. He's seen here with his trio, performing his signature arrangement of Handy's composition in an undated clip that's probably from the early 2000s.

Next up is trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, accompanied by pianist Marcus Roberts, offering a brief interpretation of “St. Louis Blues" on a 1995 episode of the BET kids series Story Porch.

That's followed by guitarist Bill Frisell doing a solo version recorded in 2013 for the magazine Fretboard Journal, and then a big band arrangement from the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, recorded in 2008 at the Hague Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. (The VJO performance is in two parts, the second of which should play automatically after the first ends.)

The final two clips both have a direct connection to St. Louis as well as a thematic one. The penultimate video features guitarist Charlie Hunter, recorded solo in 2011 at the old studios of St. Louis community radio station KDHX.

Last but not least, it's pianist and St. Louis native Stephanie Trick and her husband and fellow pianist Paolo Alderighi performing a four-handed, one-piano version of “St. Louis Blues" in January 2016 at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

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