This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on musician, painter, poet, and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake
, who's coming to town to perform in a concert sponsored by the Nu-Art Series and St. Louis University next Friday, March 22 at Xavier Hall
on the SLU campus.
Lake will joined for the performance by pianist Greg Mills, trumpeter and Nu-Art Series impresario George Sams, and dancers Antonio Douthis-Boyd and Kirven Douthis-Boyd, and, in keeping with the "Jazz 'N Tongues" theme of Nu-Art's current slate of shows, he'll read some of his poetry as well as playing saxophone.
Though born in Arkansas, Lake grew up and spent his formative musical years here in St. Louis, helping co-found the famed Black Artists Group in the late 1960s before moving away to pursue his career. With fellow former BAG members Hamiet Bluiett and Julius Hemphill (plus tenor saxophonist David Murray), he then went on to found the critically acclaimed and influential World Saxophone Quartet, which brought new ideas about arrangements and rhythm sections (or the lack of same) from the avant-garde towards - if not fully into - the mainstream.
In the 1990s, Lake co-founded another significant ensemble, Trio 3, with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille, and they've continued to reunite periodically for new projects to this day. But it is as a solo artist that Lake has been most prolific, releasing more than 40 albums as a leader with various ensembles, many on his own Passin' Thru label.
For many years a resident of Montclair, NJ, Lake also spends a good deal of time these days on his visual art, as described in the first video up above, a feature story about him produced last year for a local PBS affiliate.
After the jump, you can see a couple of videos from 2018 featuring Lake and his big band, recorded during the Vision Festival at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY and at the DC Jazz Festival in Washington.
Next are recently posted clips of Lake with two different trios - the Crash Band Trio, with drummers Bill McClellan and Reggie Nicholson, recorded during the Bang on a Can Marathon in May, 2017 at the Brooklyn Museum; and a set of music from October, 2014 with guitarist Vernon Reid and drummer Marlon Browden, recorded at John Zorn's venue The Stone in NYC.
Those are followed by two samples of Lake reading his poetry, a work called "Do you remember the time?" recorded in 2010 in Pittsburgh, and "Poem for Amiri Baraka" from the 2014 Vision Festival.
Finally, you can see a short video that Lake made last year for Jazz at Lincoln Center's education department, in which he discusses his process for composing and gives some advice to students.
For more about Oliver Lake, read his 2017 interview with Bandcamp Daily
, and the interviews published in 2015 on Revive Music
and on pianist Ethan Iverson's blog Do The Math
You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...
Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:
* Today is the release date for The Sound of St. Louis - Jazz Compilation Volume 1
, an album featuring original music from the nine participants in the Kranzberg Arts Foundation's music artists-in-residence program
The album (pictured)
will be available on streaming services, as a digital download, and as a CD, which will be sold locally at Vintage Vinyl, Music Record Shop, and Euclid Records, and at various KAF-affiliated venues such as Sophie’s Artist Lounge and The Dark Room.
* In more album-release news, singer Erin Bode
is reissuing her 2016 album Here and Now
as a vinyl LP, and will perform on Thursday, April 11 at The Sheldon to commemorate the event
* One of singer Marilyn Maye
's performances last week with the Jazz St. Louis Big Band was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi
* Singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja
was interviewed about her new album Intuition
by the St. Louis American
's Kenya Vaughn.
* Also as reported in the American
, four branches of St. Louis County Library now offer musical instruments, including guitars, keyboards and hand drums, that can be checked out by library patrons for free.
* Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina
for a new local website, TheSTL.com, by writer Daniel Durchholz.
* NPR once again this year is holding a contest for unsigned musical acts that would like to perform in a Tiny Desk Concert, filmed at the network's HQ in Washington DC. Local affiliate St. Louis Public Radio has details on the contest and how to enter here
This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis brings sounds from all over, including two prominent performers who each got their start in Chicago, one who made his name on Broadway, and three coming from Brazil via NYC. Let's go to the highlights...
Wednesday, March 13
Singer Kurt Elling
- one of the aforementioned Chicagoans, though he now lives in New York - performs for the first of five nights, continuing through Sunday at Jazz St. Louis.
Elling (pictured, top left)
returns here for the first time since the release in 2018 of his most recent album The Questions
, so it seems likely that a good portion of material from that recording will be part of his sets here. You can see videos of live performances of several of those tunes, and find out more about what Elling has been up to more recently, in this post from last Saturday
Elsewhere around town, clarinetist and former St. Louisan Chloe Feoranzo
, now residing in New Orleans, will be back in town for a concert with her quartet at Focal Point
, and guitarist Brian Vaccaro
leads a trio at Evangeline's
Thursday, March 14
Pianist Jim Hegarty
returns with his quintet to the The Dark Room
; guitarist Dave Black
and singer Erika Johnson
perform at The Pat Connolly Tavern
; and pianist Adam Maness'
trio is back at Thurman's in Shaw
Friday, March 15
Pianist, singer and Tony Award-winning musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown
performs in concert at the Grandel Theatre
; and the Original Knights of Swing
play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom
Saturday, March 16
Flute player and composer Nicole Mitchell’s Liberation Narratives
, featuring poet Haki Madhubuti
, performs in a concert presented by New Music Circle
at Xavier Hall
on the St. Louis University campus.
A composer and conceptualist with wide-ranging interests, Mitchell (pictured, bottom left)
is a past president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and recently was appointed head of the jazz program at the University of Pittsburgh, succeeding the late Geri Allen.
Mitchell has been involved in a constantly evolving variety of musical projects over the years, with her latest collaboration with poet Haki Madhubuti offering "an unabashed take on the state of the nation" via her compositions and the poet's spoken word performances. For a bit more about that, plus some videos of Mitchell performing in various contexts, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago
Elsewhere around town, pianist Peter Martin's Open Studio
will present a concert of Brazilian jazz featuring guitarist Romero Lubambo
, pianist Helio Alves
, and drummer Edu Ribeiro
, along with St. Louis' own Bob DeBoo on bass.
Also on Saturday, the Coleman Hughes Project
celebrates six years as a band with a gig at Lowes Entertainment
; and trumpeter Jim Manley
and keyboardist Chris Swan
will play at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar
Sunday, March 17
Friends have organized a benefit for saxophonist Fred Walker
, who no longer can perform due to recent health issues, for late Sunday afternoon at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups
, with announced performers including Walker's former band Mystic Voyage, saxophonist Kendrick Smith, blues singers Kim Massie, Eugene Johnson, and Lady J Huston, and more.
Monday, March 18
Pianist Carol Schmidt
and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis
will team up for a concert of duets at Winifred Moore Auditorium
on the Webster University campus.
For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar
, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here
. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes
or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page
(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)