Jazz

St. Louis Public Radio's new arts and culture editor also edits our science and medical reporters.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Do you ever wonder why St. Louis Public Radio covers a particular concert but not an art show opening on the same night? Or a certain play but not a simultaneous music festival?

Editors are instrumental in these kinds of decisions. And we’ve got a new editor for our arts and culture team, who’s come to town with some new ideas. David Cazares (pronounced CAH-sar-ehs ) comes to us from Minnesota Public Radio, where he served as a web editor and music writer with an emphasis on jazz.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1997, St. Louis jazz vocalist — legend, some do say — Denise Thimes lost her mother to pancreatic cancer. In the wake of that loss, Thimes launched the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. While she’s held an annual Mother’s Day concert for the past 20 years to pay tribute to her mother, her rock, the reason Thimes sings could be applied to anyone who has lost their mother: maternal sacrifice.

Jazz Unlimited host Dennis Owsley
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

The Jazz Journalist’s Association has named Dennis Owsley the second Jazz Hero from the St. Louis region.  He’s recognized in part for his radio show, Jazz Unlimited, with St. Louis Public Radio.

“The way he puts it together in formats and themes, it can be really educational not only for hardcore jazz fans but people who are just coming into jazz,” said Terry Perkins, who oversees the JJA award in St. Louis.

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.

Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

The spring season of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival has returned, featuring 12 artists and 22 performances over the course of nine weekends. Two performers with a long, friendly history on the New York cabaret scene joined “St. Louis on the Air” contributor Steve Potter to discuss their performances this weekend.

Marissa Mulder, a cabaret singer, will perform a tribute to Marilyn Monroe in a variety of styles. She said she drew inspiration to do so from a photograph.

“There was just something about her eyes in the photograph that registered with me,” Mulder said.

Buddy Moreno
Provided by WYYR Yesteryear Radio

Buddy Moreno has died at the age of 103. Mr. Moreno was a guitarist and the lead singer with The Dick Jurgens Orchestra when he made One Dozen Roses the number one hit in the nation in 1942.

Don Wolff
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Don Wolff, a noted defense attorney and long-time jazz enthusiast died Friday, Nov. 20, of leukemia at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.  On Oct. 2, 2012, Terry Perkins wrote a profile of Mr. Wolff for the St. Louis Beacon, talking to him about his signature phrase: “I’m Don Wolff … and I love jazz” and where it came from. Wolff talks about jazz, when he was awarded the Jazz Hero Award in April 2015.

Detail from book cover

Composer Frank Loesser once explained that a great song is like a train: A locomotive starts it off, a caboose completes it, and different colors fill in the cars in the middle.

But for a lot of music lovers, after the middle of the 20th century, the train had jumped the track, and the era of the great American songbook was over. In his new book, “The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song,” Ben Yagoda explores why and how popular music changed after World War II.

Ben Hejkal Photography; Courtesy of the Nevermore Jazz Ball and St. Louis Swing Dance Festival

You can get a day’s worth of live music and dancing on Cherokee Street on Saturday - all for free.

Eugene Redmond, Professor and Poet Laureate of East St. Louis
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

In the past year, St. Louis has been saturated by a groundswell of art related to social justice concerns, specifically issues of the region’s racial inequalities. For scholars, fans and former members of St. Louis’ Black Artists Group (BAG), the trend is remarkably familiar.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

There’s no reason  for fans of the man who “defined cool” to be “Kind of Blue” this weekend as the Miles Davis Memorial project plans to unveil its sculpture of the renowned jazz musician in Alton.  A musical celebration that will put a swing in the step of local jazz aficionados will accompany the unveiling.

New jazz stream

Sep 11, 2015
Benny Carter playing saxophone
Dennis Owsley

St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU is pleased to announce the addition of jazz to its broadcast schedule. Beginning today, St. Louis Public Radio | Jazz 90.7 KWMU-2 will air jazz music 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Listeners can access the programming on their digital radios at 90.7 KWMU-2, online at www.stlpublicradio.org/jazz, and on all of their mobile devices, using the St.

George Davis, left; Eric Person, right
Alex Heuer

On June 19, for one night only, The Jazz Edge Big Band along with a special guest will pay tribute to St. Louis’ eight most influential saxophonists in their concert entitled “Tribute to St. Louis Saxophonists.”

Among those honored will be Oliver Nelson, Jimmy Forrest and David Sanborn.

On Friday, George Davis, co-founder of The Jazz Edge Big Band and board member of The Jazz Edge, Inc., and Eric Person, saxophonist, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the event.

Clark Terry
Clark Terry's website

In April 2006, jazz trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry talked to "Cityscape" host Steve Potter about his upcoming performance at the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival.

By then, Clark was widely regarded as a legend. He was a star soloist with Count Basie's and Duke Ellington's bands, led his own big band, and was the first black man to play in "The Tonight Show" house band.

Clark Terry
Facebook | with permission

St. Louis jazz trumpeter Clark Terry made his first trumpet. His neighbors quickly got tired of listening to the racket, and raised money to buy the 10-year-old a real instrument.

Terry became a legend: He was a star soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra and Duke Ellington Orchestra; he led his own big band; and he was the first black man to play in “The Tonight Show” house band. Terry died Saturday; he was 94.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 19 will be  “Lennie Tristano and His Students.”  Lennie Tristano was one of the first teachers of methods of jazz improvisation.  His piano playing was characterized by dense, emotionally packed and sometimes dissonant sounds.  Tristano's teaching methods recruited students like saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, guitarist Billy Bauer, and pianist Sal Mosca, all of whom will be heard on this show.  Konitz and Marsh are two of the most cliche-free improvisers in jazz.

The Slide Show contains images of three of the musicians heard on this show.

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.

Courtesy of the Charlie Menees Collection, UMKC.

It spanned less than three blocks at the intersection of Olive and Boyle. And it only lasted about ten years.

But the arts and entertainment district known as Gaslight Square flourished in the 1950s and '60s, making St. Louis a national destination for music and culture.

In honor of St. Louis' 250th birthday, I took a little detour off my usual science beat to explore this extraordinary time and place in our city's history.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

You can read more about Javier Mendoza and Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers. Or just check out what's coming this week:

courtesy Gitana Productions

Latin and jazz musicians will share the stage at Union Avenue Christian Church Saturday, June14 in a concert organized by Gitana Productions. The concert, called “Karamu: Fiesta of Latin and African American Music,” will explore the shared musical heritage of Latinos and African Americans.

Jim Widner with bass
Dawn DeBlaze

Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 to include audio from Cityscape.

On April 17, 2004, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival debuted on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Courtesy St. Louis Ragtimers

Ragtime pianist and scholar Trebor Tichenor passed away last month after a stroke. He was 74. Longtime St. Louis Public Radio listeners may remember his weekly program “Ragophile” that aired on the station in the 1970s and ‘80s.

We dedicated the entire hour of Cityscape today to remembering Tichenor with his son Andy Tichenor and fellow band members Don Franz and Al Stricker.

Richard McDonnell
MAXJAZZ

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.

photo of George Sams
Provided by Mr. Sams

This past February, George Sams, owner of the Metropolitan Gallery, decided to close the space at 2943 Locust St. Sams had mounted art exhibitions there since taking it over in 2005 and also presented regular concerts as part of his Nu-Art Performance Series.

Musicians included Hamiet Bluiett and Oliver Lake -- natives of the St. Louis area who went on to international acclaim as members of the World Saxophone Quartet – as well as famed pianist Andrew Hill and trumpeter Eddie Henderson.

Musician Brian Owens
Brian Owens | Jarred Gastreich

St. Louis vocalist Brian Owens will be performing a holiday concert to benefit a University of Missouri-St. Louis scholarship fund this Sunday at the Bistro at Grand Center. The event is sponsored by the UMSL African American Alumni Chapter.

"It’s been a real blessing for me to continue in partnership with the university I graduated from," said Owens, who graduated in 2008.

In addition to his connections with UMSL, Owens also has working relationships with Sterling Bank and other local businesses.

Ben Hejkal / (Courtesy Lindy Hop St. Louis)

Arch City Radio Hour is a program hosted by Nick Garcia on St. Louis Public Radio's HD-2 Channel, The Gateway. The show features conversations and performances with St. Louis area musicians.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The big band era may have peaked in the decades of the 1930s and ‘40s, but don’t tell that to the musicians who make up the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra. They are committed to keeping big band music alive and vital in the St. Louis area.

That commitment was put to the test just last year. From 1969 until right before the fall semester started in 2012, the group was the Meramec Lab Jazz Band. Suddenly, funding was cut and the musicians regrouped.

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.

Anna Webber

Kurt Elling is a prominent American jazz vocalist.  Each of his ten albums have been nominated for a Grammy award and he has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times.

Theresa Cassagne

St. Louis native Jeremy Davenport is a jazz trumpeter and vocalist now based in New Orleans.

Davenport, 42, grew up in a family of musicians.  His mother was a music educator for nearly 50 years and his father recently retired from the St. Louis Symphony.

Davenport’s performances harken back to a time when Jazz was at its peak popularity though his unique style and mood of storytelling creates a modern edge.

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