StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Artemis


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This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring members of Artemis, the all-star, all-woman band who are coming to St. Louis to perform starting next Wednesday, October 9 through Sunday, October 13 at Jazz St. Louis.

Named for the Greek goddess of wilderness and the hunt, Artemis was convened by pianist Renee Rosnes and features musicians originally from the US, Canada, Israel, Chile, and Japan, including trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Allison Miller. (Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, who's performing tonight at The Sheldon, also has been featured on some Artemis gigs, but she won't be with them in St. Louis.)

Although they first came together a couple of years ago, Artemis has yet to record, and has done only a limited number of performances, presumably because finding a time when all six members- all bandleaders in their own right- are available to gig presents a significant challenge. In those shows, they've offered up new arrangements of familiar songs from Thelonious Monk, the Beatles, the Great American Songbook, and more, as well as original music composed by various band members.

Unfortunately, since they haven't done a lot of touring, there's not much video online of them as a band, either. Specifically, there seems to be three shows that have been documented (using that term very loosely here) at least in part on video and posted online, and in two of those, they're not even using the name Artemis yet, but instead are billed as “Woman to Woman."

Nomenclature notwithstanding, those clips still provide something of an idea of what audiences might expect to hear next week, and so you can see the first one, which captures an entire set from July 2017 at the Festival de Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, up above.

There are two extended excerpts from a show a couple of weeks earlier at New Morning in Paris, featuring five members of what is now Artemis, plus Salvant on vocals and Sylvia Cuenca substituting for Allison Miller on drums.

Finally, the last video actually is a playlist, compiling 16 short excerpts ranging in length from under a minute to two minutes plus, from Artemis' show at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival, a performance which many observers considered to be one of the festival's highlights. The quality of these short clips ranges from “OK but short" to “bad," but as there seems to be no other video documentation of the show, they seemed to be worth including.

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