2012 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival Announces Artist Lineup | Arts & Culture
In 2012, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival – an annual celebration of education and performance – augments its already dynamic reputation for presenting the best in jazz and jazz education.
This year’s festival is produced by a new consortium, including UMSL, the Touhill and Jazz St. Louis, which expands the scope to include additional headliners, student performances and clinics.
With Jazz St. Louis as a presenting partner, Jazz at the Bistro will now house the festival’s small-group student performances on April 18 & 19, while the Touhill hosts the big-band student performances on April 20 and 21.
The Bistro portion of the festival culminates with an evening performance by headliners Stefon Harris and Sean Jones on April 19. The Touhill will showcase headlining performances by Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band featuring Terence Blanchard on April 20 and The Christian McBride Big Band on April 21.
Jim Widner, director of the Jazz Studies program at UMSL, serves as artistic director of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, one of the most significant jazz festivals in the Midwest and the only festival of its kind in St. Louis. “As much as the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival is about enjoying and celebrating professional jazz musicians in headline concert performances,” said Widner, “it’s also about nurturing the talent of young musicians.”
Gene Dobbs Bradford, executive director of Jazz St. Louis concurs, “Jazz St. Louis is extremely proud to partner with UMSL and the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival. Jazz St. Louis’s participation in this project is a natural fit with its mission to advance the uniquely American art form of jazz through live performance and education.”
2012 FESTIVAL HEADLINERS:
Thursday, April 19:
Jazz St. Louis presents Stefon Harris and Sean Jones for two shows, April 19 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Jazz at the Bistro.
Two of jazz’s most acclaimed young musicians perform together in this one-night-only concert. Vibraphonist Harris and trumpeter Jones combine a lyrical, fluid style with high-tier technical facility and energy. This unique pairing of these two master musicians and educators cannot be seen or heard anywhere else. “(Stefon Harris is) one of the most important young artists in jazz” (Los Angeles Times). “Jones possesses his own style that can deliver blistering notes or silky tones at the drop of a hat” (All About Jazz).
Tickets are $30 and are available through Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or online at www.metrotix.com.
Friday, April 20:
Jazz St. Louis presents Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band featuring Terence Blanchard on April 20 at the Touhill. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall with an opening set by the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner and featuring baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian.
Poncho Sanchez & Terence Blanchard, with the backing of the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, have created a hot new project: Cubano Be, Cubano Bop, a tribute to the legacy of the original conga King, Chano Pozo and his co-conspirator in Latin jazz, Dizzy Gillespie. In the late ‘40s Pozo was at the top of his game. With Dizzy Gillespie, their 1947 Carnegie Hall concert literally changed the face of musical history and the course of American jazz.
Sanchez and Blanchard have put together a program that recreates that seminal concert, the Afro-Cuban standards, their own compositions and fresh new collaborations.
Tickets are $65 - $20 and are available through the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at www.touhill.org or by phone at 314.516.4949.
Saturday, April 21:
The Christian McBride Big Band will take the stage at the Touhill on April 21. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall with an opening set by the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner.
If there’s any side or scene of jazz that the still-under-40 Christian McBride hasn’t mastered yet, just wait. He will undoubtedly get around to it and get around to it masterfully. Bassist extraordinaire, band leader, composer, arranger, educator, administrator, curator (he’s co-director of Harlem’s National Jazz Museum), Grammy-award-winning McBride has worked as a sideman with artists as diverse as Freddie Hubbard, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, Sting, Queen Latifah and Kathleen Battle, and has lead a variety of brilliant smaller ensembles.
In a stellar career that continues to showcase his remarkable talents as a consummate musician, McBride reaches another milestone with the 2011 release of The Good Feeling, his first big band recording as a leader, for which he earned a Grammy Award in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.
Tickets are $65 - $20. They are available through the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at www.touhill.org or by phone at 314.516.4949.