Arts & Culture

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for January 10, 2016 will be “The Career of Tony Williams.”  A child prodigy, drummer Tony Williams was born in Chicago in 1945 but was raised in Boston.  A student of Alan Dawson, Williams was playing professionally at age 13 with Sam Rivers and other advanced musicians.  At 17, he joined the Miles Davis Quintet and revolutionized the way rhythm sections have played since the mid-1960’s.  According to Drummer magazine, his playing suggested melody, counter-point, and harmony, which has been a revelation to most drummers since the 1960s.  He was one of the

Drive through any city in the world and you will find war memorials dedicated to battles or individual war heroes. Many of the sculptures are made by famous artists. War and the military have been themes in art through the ages.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Today’s Cityscape segment about the musical "Fun Home" included music from the score that featured piano. This got us asking: How are different St. Louis musicians using the piano? Are they hammering away at the keys behind Springsteen-esque rave-ups? Are they setting a bittersweet tone with simple melodies that grow and expand into orchestral pop arrangements?

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The team behind St. Louis on the Air has a New Year’s resolution and we would like you to be a part of it. As we begin 2016, St. Louis on the Air and Cityscape are combining to bring you arts and cultural coverage throughout the week, Monday-Friday. We want you to be a part of this change as we reimagine what the program can be in St. Louis—and beyond.

Fun Home's Facebook page

St. Louis has had a rough week for public perception, what with Stan Kroenke’s 29-page letter bashing the city as home to the St. Louis Rams. In another competitive realm however, those arguments aren’t remotely valid.

Robert Rohe, Sofar Sounds

Combining the nostalgic allure of a speakeasy, the surprise element of a pop-up restaurant and the reward of being “in the know,” a new-to-St. Louis group has emerged in the past year that brings those feelings to the concert-going experience. The name of the collective is Sofar Sounds and it has ties to a worldwide movement

“Everyone, you’ve gotta just trust me here,” said Chris DiGiacomo, one of the city leaders for Sofar Sounds’ St. Louis branch.

Carmen Troesser, Sauce Magazine

Sometimes when you enter Pastaria in Clayton during prep hours you can hear singer Executive Chef Ashley Shelton, 28, belting out a tune or two. You may also receive a Kool-Aid refresher or piece of candy to “keep the flow going” and put a smile on the other cooks’ faces.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“As St. Louisans we totally don’t know our own city,” said Mike, a caller during Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air” program. He often comes across out-of-town visitors who are “agog” at the architecture they can find here…and that’s not even off the beaten path.

I Am EStL

Charmaine Savage spent years away from her hometown of East St. Louis as an officer in the U.S. Navy. After living away with her husband Lorenzo, also from East St. Louis, in places like Virginia, San Diego, Tennessee and even Iraq, she returned to the area after retiring following several battles with cancer.

Savage said that she and her husband, who she met at Lincoln High School, had always wanted to return. Over the years, she had continually heard bad publicity about her hometown. She knew she wanted to combat that.

Veselin Topalov plays in the 2015 Sinquefield Cup.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Once again, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis held the strongest tournament of the year, but this time there was a little extra! The Sinquefield Cup, which began at the end of August and ended a few days into September, was not only a great tournament but one of the events in the newly created Grand Chess Tour.

Dan Duncan, Steve Scorfina and Mike Mesey.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” several local musicians joined host Don Marsh to discuss a new recording of the famed Chuck Berry tune “Johnny B. Goode.” The recording will raise money to fund the completion of KSDK anchor Art Holliday’s documentary about Berry’s long-time pianist Johnnie Johnson, who many say the song is named in tribute of. The piano on the track was actually recorded by Johnson himself, before his death in 2005.

Wikimedia Commons

Downtown St. Louis has been characterized by myriad personae over the years. It’s a place where Native Americans arrived by canoe and built a grand mound city. It’s also a place that holds both great Victorian architecture and International Style skyscrapers.

Show Me Arts Academy kids rehearse a dance to Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" during the program's launch last year
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Nine months ago, Marty Casey launched Show Me Arts Academy in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson. The program tries to reach kids in poor neighborhoods who may not respond well to sports, school or other activities.

“When we take that time out and we give that special attention, you literally see their whole attitude and their world just change,” said Casey.

The Goldenrod sits along an Illinois river bank.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Volunteers have worked countless hours salvaging artifacts from the century-old Goldenrod Showboat that was once a fixture on the St. Louis riverfront, says Jake Medford, vice president of the nonprofit Historic Riverboat Preservation Association that’s been working to restore the vessel.

Illustration by Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Something near and dear to the hearts of St. Louisans celebrated the big 5-0 this year. That would be the Gateway Arch. On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” we talked about the anniversary as well as other anniversaries that were marked in the region this year.

Joining us was Mary Delach Leonard, St. Louis Public Radio’s work/life reporter who spearheaded coverage of the Arch anniversary as well as the other stories that made an impact on her this year.

Some stories of note: 

Archaeologists and crew members from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey work at an East St. Louis dig site.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

A year-old fracas in the St. Louis Society has left the city’s archaeology community fractured. 

“What we’ve seen over the past year is a fragmenting of what used to be a really robust group here in town into smaller communities who are allied around the issues that they’re concerned about,” said Douglas Boin, assistant professor at Saint Louis University.

Hits Of The 1960's

Jan 3, 2016
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 3, 2016 will be “Hits of the 1960’s.”  Since around 1955, jazz musicians rarely play the hit pop tunes of their time.  The reason is that many of these tunes do not have interesting melodies or chord progressions sufficiently challenging for these musicians to play them.  Some of them did and those will be the ones used by these musicians, some even into the 2000’s.  This music will be played by Duke Ellington, Grant Green, Debbie Lennon, Oscar Peterson & Milt Jackson, Fred Hersch, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Roberta Flack, Dexter Gordon, the World Saxophone Q

Photo courtesy Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Despite reduced park hours, the head of the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society says the year was brighter than expected at the Illinois state historic site, which is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico.

cello bridge
Turidoth | Wikipedia

Music therapists in Missouri who are fighting to institute statewide certification for the profession say that will improve access to patients and secure quality patient care.

Anne Keefe came to KMOX in 1976.
St. Louis Media Hsitory Foundation

Anne Keefe, whose smoky voice, inimitable style and consuming dedication to work made her one of the most important figures in television and radio for more than 50 years, has died. She was 90.

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