Terry Perkins | St. Louis Public Radio

Terry Perkins

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

The Kent Center
Provided by Stages

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As its 27th season nears its end, Stages founders Jack Lane and Michael Hamilton reflect on how the company evolved from a fledgling theater company that held rehearsals in small rooms at the top floor of the Reim to one that has a full-time staff of 30 (plus 40 part-time instructors) and now is housed in a state-of-the-art, 22,000-foot facility in Chesterfield.

Tom McDermott
Provided by Mr. McDermott

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If you’re a fan of the HBO television series, “Treme,” you know that over its first three seasons, the show’s episodes have been filled with an array of musical artists from the New Orleans music scene, including Doctor John, Allen Toussaint, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Irma Thomas and Kermit Ruffins to groups like the Rebirth Brass Band, Galactic and the Treme Brass Band.

Cosmic Cow (from Left) Ken Kase, Steve Mortellaro and Eric James
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cosmic Cow specialize in music recorded in the 1980s – by bands as diverse as the Clash, Talking Heads, Simple Minds, Elvis Costello, the Pretenders, Billy Idol and Devo. During a typical set, you’re likely to hear the trio of musicians play everything from “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Whip It” to blasts from the musical past by Timbuk3 (“The Future’s So Bright”), Soft Cell (“Tainted Love”) and Tommy Tutone’s “Jenny (867-5309).

Musician Brian Owens
Brian Owens | Jarred Gastreich

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Brian Owens is a talented, homegrown singer/songwriter with multiple performance dates scheduled this week in Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia and at the Sheldon in St Louis.

His Sheldon performance on Thursday, Aug. 8, marks the debut of Owens’ “Masters Series” – in which he will pay tribute to the music of legendary singer/songwriters such as Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Bill Withers and Johnny Cash. Thursday’s concert will focus on Gaye.

Gypsy Jones
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For someone who grew up with an intense case of stage fright, vocalist Brianna Sabatini has most definitely overcome her issues with singing in public. Sabatini now is the lead singer for Gypsy Jones, a powerhouse rock band that can shift gears smoothly from spot-on covers of musical legends like Janis Joplin, Etta James and the Rolling Stones to contemporary stars such as Adele, Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone.

Photo provided Sarah Ulrich at right
Photo provided Sarah Ulrich at right

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sarah Ulrich’s first working band came together back in the 1980s when she was a teenager and focused on what she now calls “very eclectic, new wave, dirge-y music.”

But these days, Ulrich has a much different musical direction as the lead singer for Sarah Jane & the Blue notes, a band that focuses on music from the 1920s to 1950s and the era of swing, jazz, big bands and the great American songbook.

“Mud Bug” Mike Szwedo, “Bayou” Mike Waters, “Big Chief” Paul Jarvis, "Hurricane" Jimmie, “Rascally” Randy Reece
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Paul Jarvis, playing music has always been part of his life. But it took a show on KDHX radio to turn his musical interests toward the brand of Louisiana music called Zydeco – and turn him into “Big Chief” Paul Jarvis, the leader of the popular area band, the Zydeco Crawdaddys.

Anita Jackson in performance
Provided to the St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Anita Jackson grew up hearing music at home and dreamed of becoming a performer. And the music that she listened to the most — the music her mother loved best — initially pointed her aspirations toward Broadway instead of the concert stage.

"My mother was a musical theater fan," Jackson said, in an interview. "She loved Barbra Streisand and played the music from ‘Funny Girl’ and her other musicals. And she also loved everything from ‘Chicago’ to ‘Dreamgirls.’So that was what I wanted to do!"

FatPocket
Provided by the band | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it comes to delivering irresistible, non-stop funk that gets audiences up out of their seats and shaking it on the dance floor, few bands are better than FatPocket. Founded in 2004 as a six-piece group with a mutual love of finding that magical groove where R&B, blues and jazz come together, FatPocket has grown into a nine-piece ensemble that has plenty of instrumental firepower – and soulful vocals to match.

L-R: Kevin Schofield, Mae Soule, John Short, Toby Mechem, John Covelli, Khamali Moore, Bob Buckman (background), Mark Casey.
Provided by the band | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mississippi River connects St. Louis with New Orleans geographically. But there’s also a strong musical connection between the two cities that goes back to the days when riverboats carried passengers – and musicians who transported jazz, blues and ragtime influences – up and down the Big Muddy.

Dean Christopher
Provided by Mr. Christopher

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dean Christopher grew up in the rock and roll era, but the music that captured his heart came from stars of a previous generation. More specifically, Christopher fell in love with the personalities and music of that flamboyant group of entertainers known as the Ratpack – especially Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson has several reasons to look forward to the League of American Orchestras Conference that will be hosted here June 16 – 20.

“This is actually the first one I’ve ever attended,” Robertson says during a phone interview last week. “My work schedule is usually done many years in advance, and it’s just never worked out that I’ve had the time to attend the conference. So I’m definitely looking forward to this one!”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Interesting visitors came to St. Louis in 1966. Then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall dedicated the Gateway Arch. Major League Baseball hosted its All-Star game at the newly opened Busch Memorial Stadium. (The temperature on that July day hit 105. And when a Globe-Democrat reporter asked legendary National League manager Casey Stengel what he thought of the new stadium, Stengel said, “Well, I'll tell ya, young fella, it sure seems to hold the heat real good.")

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The third annual Missouri Chamber Music Festival returns June 13-17, with A Celebration of Schubert and Stravinsky” in three concerts in Webster Groves. More musicians are involved and David Robertson is featured, but not as a conductor.

Pokey LaFarge showed up at the Mud House in March for a pop-up concert.
Jarred Gastreich | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In January 2011, The Beacon asked me to pick three St. Louis area musicians to watch in the coming year. One was Pokey LaFarge.

Mavis Staples sings I'll Take You There on Jools Holland's TV show.
Provided by Bluesweek | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - It’s Memorial Day weekend, and time for a new musical tradition here in St. Louis: the Bluesweek Festival.

Now in its 4th year, the Bluesweek Fest began in late August 2010 with performances in front of Peabody Opera House and a musical lineup that focused solely on St. Louis-based bands.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - The St. Louis area has produced dozens of musicians who have grown up here and served their musical apprenticeships, then moved on to work in other cities where they gained international fame.

Jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Lester Bowie, Oliver Lake, David Sanborn and others all paid their dues here, then left. The same happened with rock and pop stars such as Michael McDonald and Jeff Tweedy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The latest Sound Waves collaboration between the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and KDHX Radio, 88.1 FM, takes place Thursday in the Pulitzer galleries and is billed as “An Evening of Opera and Jazz.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: New Music Circle concludes its 2012-13 season with a concert Friday, May 10, that celebrates the 99th birthday of Sun Ra. The legendary jazz musician and composer was famed for his cosmic philosophy and avant-garde compositions such as “Space is the Place.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bobby McFerrin’s wildly eclectic musical career has taken him from early gigs singing with the Ice Follies and working with the New Orleans jazz-fusion band Astral Project in the 1970s to collaborations with classical artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, jazz legends such as Chick Corea. He has also served as creative chair for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and has conducted the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Alarm Will Sound, a large ensemble that focuses on performances of new music by emerging composers, had its genesis at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.,  in the early 2000s. Since officially taking on the name of Alarm Will Sound in 2001 (Managing Director Gavin Chuck happened to see those words on an emergency exit while working out at his gym), the group has played concerts around the world, released six recordings – and garnered considerable critical praise in the process.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ten years ago, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival made its debut on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Over the past decade, the festival has grown in length, evening concert performances, and the number of name jazz artists featured in those concerts.

But for Jim Widner, director of jazz studies at UMSL and founder of the festival, the most important aspect of the growth of the event is the increase in students who attend the several days of jazz combo and big band clinics that happen before those evening concerts.

Lew Prince
David Baugher | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This year’s Record Store Day will be April 20. This annual event began in 2008 as about 300 U.S. stores celebrated independent record stores here in the US and around the world and grew to a worldwide celebration that is held at thousands of retail locations.

The largest Record Store Day events in St. Louis will take place at Euclid Records in Webster Groves, Vintage Vinyl in University City’s Delmar Loop and at APOP Records on Cherokee Street.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “The St. Louis Connection” showcases the depth of musical talent in this area. Led by tenor saxophonist Willie Akins, the new CD features bassist Bob DeBoo, drummer Montez Coleman, guitarist Eric Slaughter, vibraphonist Peter Schlamb and pianist Tony Suggs.

The CD captures the musicians live in the studio, recording each track without any subsequent edits.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Carnegie Hall’s Weiss Institute announced the inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America earlier this month, a local musician was one of those selected. Viola player Sean Byrne, a senior at Parkway Central High School, is one of 120 musicians chosen from around the country.

He is only one of two from Missouri chosen for this prestigious honor – one that will take him and his fellow National Youth Orchestra musicians on an international concert tour from Washington, D.C., to Europe later this summer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Troy Williams was growing up in St. Louis, jazz certainly wasn’t his favorite music. In fact, after Williams moved to Alabama to attend Talladega College and eventually relocated to Atlanta, he became involved in that city’s hip-hop scene – promoting music showcases for rappers such as Master P and groups like Outkast.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Gateway Men’s Chorus celebrated its 25th anniversary season in 2012; and under the direction of Artistic Director Al Fischer, the 80-plus-member group is certainly not resting on its laurels.

The chorus, which has the stated mission to “affirm and promote gay culture and acceptance through excellence in musical performance and education,” is bringing in Fred Schneider, singer and founder of the new wave group B-52s, for its next musical event.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis: The University City High School jazz program is best known for the generation of talented young musicians who graduated from there in the late 1980s. U. City High students pianist Peter Martin, trumpet player/vocalist Jeremy Davenport, bassist Chris Thomas, saxophonist Todd Williams and drummer David Berger recording an album (“Just In Time”) as the Todd Williams Quintet in 1987. And all went on to professional musical careers.

But University City High had an outstanding jazz program in the 1970s as well, and drummer Ronnie Burrage, who graduated from the school in the late 1970s, went on to achieve early success on the international jazz scene.

Xavier Davis and Regina Carter at Children's Hospital
Terry Perkins | 2012 | St. Louis Beacon

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Jazz violinist Regina Carter had played to much larger audiences the previous evening, when she received standing ovations from capacity crowds at Jazz at the Bistro during both sets she and her group performed.

But on this early Thursday afternoon, Carter was devoting all her energy as a musician to pleasing an audience much smaller in number and stature.

The group shot after the Jan. 25 show features, left to right, Steve St. Cyr, Lynne Reif, Mike Schrand, JJ Loui and Marc Chechik.
Provided

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Nashville, Tenn., music scene is filled with talented musicians and songwriters all trying to get their big break in the city that’s become synonymous as the epicenter of country music.

There are plenty of music venues in Nashville – from the venerable Grand Old Opry to classic bars like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. But one of the most interesting is the Bluebird Café, an intimate 100-seat club in a suburban strip mall that features some of Nashville’s best known singer/songwriters as well as up-and-coming artists performing in the round.

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