David Cazares | St. Louis Public Radio

David Cazares

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Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock
Douglas Kirkland

If you’re a celebrated jazz artist who has played with some of the genre’s lions, you could continually reinterpret the past and satisfy fans nostalgic for your heydays.

Pianist Herbie Hancock, who performs Thursday at Powell Hall in St. Louis, has no interest in being a museum of sound — or giving a music lesson. Instead, he wants to audiences to experience jazz as a living art.

FBI and ATF agents enter the the home of James T. Hodgkinson, the man identified as shooting a Republican member of congress, in Belleville, Illinois on June 14, 2017.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The Belleville man who authorities say opened fire Wednesday as Republicans practiced for the annual Congressional Baseball Game was distressed about the changing political climate of the country under GOP leadership.

James T. Hodgkinson, whom the FBI identified as the gunman, had been living in Alexandria, Virginia, for the past two months, his wife, Suzanne Hodgkinson told ABC News. He left behind his life in Illinois, where he had occasional run-ins with law enforcement and frequently criticized Republican fiscal policies in letters to the editor. 

He also belonged to anti-Republican groups, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party,” the Belleville News Democrat reported.

Hodgkinson, who volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, once wrote in a letter to the newspaper, “‘I have never said life sucks, only the policies of the Republicans."

James Hodgkinson of Belleville protests outside of the United States Post Office in downtown Belleville in this file photo from 2012.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News Democrat

 

Updated June 14 at 1:10 p.m. with comment from lifelong acquaintance -  Metro East residents are coming to terms with the notion that one of their neighbors has been identified as the shooter at a Congressional Republican baseball practice Wednesday morning in suburban Washington, D.C.  

Many national media outlets are quoting unnamed federal law enforcement officials as saying the gunman was James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville.

Firefighters work outside of the Loy-Lange Box Company building on South 3rd Street. (April 3, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

 

April's deadly boiler explosion at the Loy-Lange Box Company in the Soulard neighborhood occurred because steel at the bottom of the tank had deteriorated, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said in a report released Thursday.

The board noted that investigators found the metal in the area of the tank that ruptured was less than one-third of its original thickness.

Members of the SFJAZZ Collective
Photo by Jay Blakesberg

When jazz trumpeter Sean Jones took on the job of interpreting tunes by Miles Davis, he didn’t try to recreate the famed musician’s notes.

Instead, Jones set about pushing the music forward.

He’s part of the SFJAZZ Collective, a San Francisco-based group of musicians that is booked through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis. The group, which each year honors a big name in jazz, is now focusing on Davis, a trumpeter who helped give birth to the cool but stylistically never stayed in one place.

Jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez
Photo by Betsy Newman. Courtesy of the artist.

Anyone who visits Cuba would be struck by two important musical currents: the streetwise character of modern dance music — and the elegance of classically trained performers adept at various genres.

 

St. Louisans this week have a chance to see both when pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, who hails from the Cuban Institute of Music, joins conga player Pedrito Martinez, who had no formal training. Since crossing paths in the United States in recent years, they’ve played together on stage and on recordings.

Their latest collaboration will be at Jazz at the Bistro, where they will perform fuse jazz and Afro-Cuban music, including timba, the fiery dance music that took the island by storm a couple of decades ago.

The Vijay Iyer Trio
Barbara Rigon

Vijay Iyer knows that people come to his concerts with their own ideas about what the music is all about.

 

Some might expect to hear Iyer evoke the great jazz pianists who came before him. Others might expect intricate interpretations of modern pop tunes, or perhaps wonder if he will draw on his Indian American roots.

The jazz-electronica group Koplant No emerged several years ago at the University of Iowa.
Provided by Koplant No

When an emerging jazz band seeks to make a fresh statement, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that its musicians would embrace the modern sounds they grew up with.

That explains the path of Koplant No, a quartet that fuses intricate jazz composition with improvisation, electronica and elements of hip-hop to capture a listener’s imagination. The Midwestern group, which this weekend returns to Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis, has a light and airy sound that can sound a bit like a futuristic movie soundtrack.

For a while, even its members didn’t know how to precisely describe what they play, saxophone player Joel Vanderheyden said. But they've agreed on a description, perhaps after learning that some listeners feel that hearing the music is like taking a journey.

“Only in probably the last couple of years we sort of stumbled upon the label of cinematic electro jazz,” he said.

Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Driven by proven talents and entertainers, LouFest aims to capture college students and older folks, too. It succeeds with a schedule that rolls out like tickertape, allowing attendees to easily flow from one concert to the next with no downtime in between. Hang around long enough and you’re bound to find music you like — and have a good time.