Blues | St. Louis Public Radio

Blues

Marsha Evans and the Coalition at the 1860 Saloon on February 24. The band played blues, hip-hop, and r&b songs during their performance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Marsha Evans is no stranger to the blues. She has performed blues music all her life and can be found performing at venues across St. Louis with her band, Marsha Evans and the Coalition.

But Evans doesn’t confine her passion for the blues to the stage. She’s a strong advocate for the music. For weeks, she and other musicians in the St. Louis region have discussed ways to honor the legacy of the blues and keep the treasured African-American art form alive.

“You’re pouring your life in three or four minutes of musical expression — your innermost emotions, all of the pain you felt on any particular day for a number of months or years,” she said.

(L-R) Brian Elsesser, Bob Lawrence and Robert "Tuffy" Brandon talked about a show at the Link Auditorium highlighting blues music in St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a St. Louis themed variety show featuring blues music, comedy and discussions about life in a divided city.

Joining the discussion were:

National Blues Museum

Rob Endicott is a classically trained trumpeter and blues musician in his own right. For the forseeable future, however, he has donned a different hat: Board Chairman of the National Blues Museum, which has its grand opening on Saturday.

“It touches something deep in the American soul, this music,” Endicott told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis was home to the late, great jazz musician Clark Terry, who died in last year at the age of 94.

Contemporary trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling was one of the many jazz musicians, from Miles Davis to Quincy Jones, who was influenced by Terry. Stripling, who spent part of his childhood in St. Louis, has returned to the city to pay tribute to Clark Terry at Jazz at the Bistro.

National Blues Museum announces April opening

Nov 3, 2015
St. Louisan Big George Brock has performed at past Bluesweek festivals.
File Photo | Bluesweek

The National Blues Museum has set April 2, 2016, as its opening day. The project intends to tell the history of blues music through exhibits and community outreach.

Funk Fest in St. Louis turns into blues along Broadway

Sep 17, 2015
Marquise Knox at the Reykjavik Blues Festival in 2011
Olikristinn | Wikipedia

When the funk comes to St. Louis, it sounds a lot like the blues. The city is known for blues and jazz, not the classic funk sounds of James Brown and George Clinton. Art Dwyer plays with the Soulard Blues Band and says funk isn’t easily defined. For him funk is a visceral reaction.

Thousands Expected For Jazz And Blues Festival

Sep 19, 2014
Courtesy Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival

Webster Groves’ largest music festival returns for a 14th year Saturday.

“Great musicians continue to develop here, and it’s really wonderful to give them a chance to get exposure on a big stage in front of up to about 12-, 13,000 people every year,” said Terry Perkins, the festival’s music director.

Streets will be closed and performances will take place on two stages at Allen and South Gore avenues, just north of Lockwood Avenue. The festival starts at noon.

Big Muddy Blues Festival
Archive photo from the Big Muddy website

The Big Muddy Blues Festival has added an extra night on the front end of its schedule.

The festival, which had been set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31, has now scheduled three local bands for Friday night, Aug. 29. Everett Dean will take the stage at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by Billy Peek at 8 and Marquise Knox at 10.

The Friday night performances lead up to a weekend of 24 more national, regional and local acts beginning at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday and playing until midnight.

Lou 'Fatha' Thimes Sr.
St. Louis Media Archive

In the dog-eat-dog world of music radio, Lou “Fatha” Thimes Sr. was top dog for a very long time.

“In broadcasting you’ve got to be able to contend with all types of personalities, your boss, the program director …” said the veteran disc jockey, leaving the sentence dangling in the 1999 book of biographies, Lift Every Voice and Sing. But, he added: “Broadcasting is a beautiful field. I’ve loved every moment of it.”

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

The blues will spill out the open front doors of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis on Good Friday evening as local performers join in a service that blends religion with music rooted in city tradition.

The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of the Episcopal cathedral, says blues will be incorporated throughout the program. The service will begin with a dramatic reading of gospel accounts of the passion of Jesus Christ and will conclude with a live concert.

When Jeremy Segel-Moss, guitarist with the Bottoms Up Blues Gang, conceived the idea of the Baby Blues Showcase, he probably didn’t think about the fact that his group would one day age out of the annual event. But that’s exactly what happened. The original intent was to give blues musicians under the age of 30 a chance to shine for one night at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Jazz St. Louis Presents American Music Showcase

Aug 2, 2013
(Courtesy Jazz St. Louis)

This Saturday, Grand Center, Inc. and Jazz St. Louis team up to present a showcase of American music.  The event will take place at five venues in Grand Center and will feature performances by six local bands.

When they first started planning the event, they were going to present music across a wide range of genres, said Devin Rodino, communications and operations manager at Jazz St. Louis. But in the end they settled on American music --jazz, folk, blues, country and bluegrass.

The fourth annual St. Louis Bluesweek Festival takes place Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26 at Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

The headliners include Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Mavis Staples and Big George Brock, however, the Festival will highlight several artists with significant ties to St. Louis including Marquis Knox and Rich McDonough & Rough Groves.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 15, 2011 - At the age of 20, St. Louis singer/guitarist Marquise Knox has already achieved several milestones that would be the envy of musicians twice his age.

Knox has played major music festivals in Texas, Mississippi, New York, Arkansas and Missouri - as well as appearing at events across Europe. He has three CDs as a leader to his credit, including the recent recording, "Here I Am," which Knox will highlight this Friday at a CD release concert at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 1, 2011 - Over the past four-plus decades, Hamiet Bluiett has gained worldwide acclaim for his pioneering approach to the role of the baritone saxophone in jazz music.

Best known for his role as one of the founding members of the legendary World Saxophone Quartet, Bluiett also worked with famed bassist Charles Mingus early in his career. Plus, he's released more than two dozen recordings as a leader - showcasing a distinctive, blues-based sound and an amazing technical approach has extended the usual range of the baritone into registers usually reserved for the tenor and alto sax.

Mike Zito comes home

Jun 27, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 27, 2008 - When blues-rock guitarist and bandleader Mike Zito lived in St. Louis, he could be found playing all over town just about every night of the week.

"We played everywhere," says Zito, who in recent years has relocated to Southeast Texas. "Boomers, Pop's, the 1860, both Train Wrecks, on the landing and in Westport. More than anything, I just wanted to play guitar as much as possible. Luckily, St. Louis is one of those places where you can play music and make a living. You can't do that everywhere."