When the Sheldon Concert Hall asked Terence Blanchard to replace Latin jazz pianist Chucho Valdés for a scheduled performance this Saturday, Feb. 15, the jazz trumpeter jumped at the opportunity.
“I was sorry to hear about Chucho’s unexpected surgery that forced him to cancel his tour,” Blanchard said during a recent conversation from his home in the New Orleans area. “But I’m very happy to be coming back to St. Louis. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the past three years. My wife is starting to think of it as our second home.”
It’s not as if everyone were oblivious to the architecture of the middle of the 20th century in St. Louis before current interest in it took hold. Prominent mid-century landmarks that are, or were, part of our regional consciousness: the Saarinen Arch, certainly; Samuel Marx’s Clayton Famous-Barr building on Forsyth Boulevard; the Teamster’s complex on Grand Boulevard, with the space-agey former Phillips 66 station enjoying new life as a Starbucks and Chipotle restaurant, and until recently, Edward Durell Stone’s mid-1960s Busch Stadium.
Bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb posts the sixth-fastest time of 51.89 seconds with Curt Tomasevicz aboard USA I in the first heat at Whistler Sliding Center in British Columbia during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Allow me to confess that I am a Winter Olympics junkie. This is an unlikely affliction for a man who doesn’t ski or skate and hates cold weather. As is often the case with perplexing addictions, I got hooked as a kid.
The chess boom in St. Louis may appear as though it has materialized out of thin air, but the Gateway City has a vibrant chess history.
Chess adds to a rich and developing cultural renaissance in St. Louis. And as we celebrate our city’s 250th birthday, I think it’s appropriate to take a look at some of the important names, events and places that have helped shaped our ever-growing chess culture.
This column explores the early days of chess in St. Louis and some notable champions and championships that placed St. Louis at the center of the chess universe.
In St. Louis’ first few years, more longtime residents of Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, Mine La Motte, Old Mines, Mo., Ste. Genevieve and the area moved to Laclede’s fur trading post. Land-owning small farmers, fur traders, miners, merchants from the region’s French settlements all came to Laclede’s settlement.
“Religion was a very strong reason. They just didn’t want to live under the English,” said Margaret Kimball Brown, author “History as They Lived It: A Social History of Prairie du Rocher.”
Word spread quickly on social media this past weekend: Richard McDonnell, founder and president of the St. Louis-based MAXJAZZ recording label, had died.
One of the first tributes posted -- by Dean Minderman, editor of the respected music blog “St. Louis Jazz Notes” -- was put up to replace rumor with facts. Yes, McDonnell had suffered a stoke while attending a concert Feb. 7 at Jazz at the Bistro. He died the next day.
The Sheldon Art Gallery is hosting the exhibit, “Imagining the Founding of St. Louis,” which includes Oscar Edward Berninghaus, (American, 1874–1952), Laclede Landing at Present Site of St. Louis, c. 1914, watercolor, 10 x 14 inches, Private Collection, St. Louis
As all in the area should know by now, 14-year-old Auguste Chouteau and his band of 30 “mechanics” unloaded their boat a bit south of the legs of today’s Gateway Arch 250 years ago on Feb. 15*. People may not know that this middle stretch of the upper Mississippi Valley was already rich with French settlements on both sides of the river. Residents, especially the younger generation, of those settlements would help St. Louis grow quickly.
Jazz Unlimited for February 9 is “Live from the Village Vanguard-Part 1.” We continue our survey of New York jazz clubs with the first of two parts on the Village Vanguard. Max Gordon started the club in 1935 and ran it until his death in 1989. Since then, his widow Lorraine continues to run it. It remains the way it was when Max died. The featured artists for this show, guitarist Jim Hall, the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, the Brad Mehldau Trio, Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines, the Steve Kuhn Trio, the J.J.