The summer has come to a close. The days are shorter, the autumn breeze blows colder and the long wait for opening night at Jazz at the Bistro has finally ended. To kick off Jazz St. Louis's 19th season, the highly influential Yellowjackets have returned to this intimate setting to dole out four nights of modern jazz and fusion.
Irony is the last refuge of the contrarian rock star, and Steely Dan has made an art form of the sneer and the swerve. No one captured the shattered ennui of the '70s like Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, with music that rode between rock and jazz and with lyrics that dripped irony and were derived from the detachment of seeing the world through drug-colored glasses.
Much like these long-awaited summer nights, Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters" is delightfully fleeting. With four songs totaling just over 40 minutes, the entire album is perfect for popping on the stereo during a sultry soirée.
Raw Earth is an exotic musical collective, sometimes including dancers, from right here in St. Louis, but the sound is three worlds away.
The world of jazz is expansive and limitless. It combines elements from every style of music that it encounters, generating a sound that belongs entirely to the musicians on stage and those privileged enough to share the experience. Wednesday night, the most knowledgeable of Jazz at the Bistro's regulars joined the Lionel Loueke Trio for a set that was as diverse as it was original.
Cliff Hines and his quintet are all graduates of the renowned New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the city's progressive arts high school and the book learning appears to have done them some good.
Victor Wooten assembled a squad of some of his favorite musicians and brought his new line-up to an eager St. Louis crowd, bristling with excitement over a night that featured new music with a dash of past favorites.