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Renowned Jazz musician Keyon Harrold joins ‘The Next Set: Live from Jazz St. Louis’

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Kay Hickman
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Trumpeter, composer and Ferguson native Keyon Harrold returns to his musical beginnings to host ‘The Next Set: Live from Jazz St. Louis’.

Grammy-nominated trumpeter, composer and native St. Louisan Keyon Harrold is the new host of The Next Set: Live from Jazz St. Louis, St. Louis Public Radio and Jazz St. Louis’ live weekly jazz show.

Harrold officially assumed duties from the show’s debut host, Gene Dobbs Bradford, in May. After a brief encore season, Harrold returns this weekend with a first ever two-episode show paying tribute to St. Louis jazz drummer Montez Coleman.

“To host a show that goes from my hometown all over the world is special to me,” Harrold said. “I get to introduce all kinds of relevant jazz to new audiences and allow everyone to see the magic that’s happening here at Jazz St. Louis.”

Tribute to Coleman

What better way to display that St. Louis magic than with an homage to a man known as much for his beautiful nature as for his music.

Harrold will bring many of the artists Coleman worked with back to the Ferring Jazz Bistro stage at Jazz St. Louis for a jam session in his honor. The artists include Adam Maness, Bob DeBoo, Eric Slaughter, Jason Swagler, Adaron “Pops” Jackson, Zeb Briskovich, Kendrick Smith, Danny Campbell, Bernard Terry, Demarius Hicks, Miles Vandiver, Matthew Henry and others.

Before his untimely death in January, Montez Coleman was acclaimed for his work with Roy Hargrove and other jazz luminaries. A native of East St. Louis, he was also one of a brotherhood of successful local musicians who nurtured the next generation with kindness and encouragement.

Harrold attests first hand to the sparks of inspiration that can capture a kid’s attention. Long before his current success, he was a skinny 14-year old lurking around the Jazz St. Louis stage. He found mentors in the local musicians on that stage. Now, he gets a chance to return the favor.

Inspiring the next jazz greats

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Kay Hickman
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Harrold will also serve as the new creative advisor at Jazz St. Louis for a three-year term.

In addition to hosting The Next Set: Live from Jazz St. Louis, Harrold was appointed creative advisor to Jazz St. Louis in May of 2021. His three-year term will include regular performances, participation in the Jazz Speaks performance and lecture series, a residency, and a commissioned musical work to reflect the St. Louis community in which he was raised.

A Ferguson native, Harrold received a Grammy nomination for his trumpet work on the soundtrack for the 2014 movie “Miles Ahead” starring Don Cheadle as Miles Davis.

He’s traveled the world and performed and recorded with acclaimed musicians including Robert Glasper, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Maxwell, Rihanna, Common and Erykah Badu.

Now he gets to bring a bit of that world stage back to St. Louis with groundbreaking live acts from the jazz diaspora. He also gets to share a little bit of what makes St. Louis such a catalyst for great musical talent.

Show-me talent

“St. Louis musicians, we’re from the Show Me state. We can hear and see what’s great about a sound and add that special sauce — a little of that muddy Mississippi water — and create something new. We’re a very prideful people in that way. We take something great and build on it.”

That’s exactly what Harrold intends to do as host of The Next Set.

“I’ve been left with a big legacy,” he said. “Now it remains to be seen what flavor I can add to it.”

The Next Set: Live From Jazz St. Louis with Keyon Harrold airs Fridays and Sundays at 8 p.m. on STLPR in St. Louis, Quincy, and Rolla. You can catch part one of the tribute to Montez Coleman at 8 p.m., July 22nd and 24th. For encore episodes and more information, visit stlpr.org/NextSet.

As the Communications Specialist for St. Louis Public Radio, Fontella gets to showcase the award-winning local reporting, original programming and community engagement that make STLPR a beloved regional institution.

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