For over four decades, Stanley Clarke has been reinventing the role of the bass and the very shape of jazz. He started by supporting many of the greatest names in the scene before forming the eminent fusion group Return to Forever with pianist Chick Corea and beginning his solo career.
A primer: Volcanoes is a St. Louis dance-metal duo composed of stoic guitarist Jon Ryan and the delightfully spastic Eric Peters. After being sealed up for several semesters inside Lindenwood University (in St. Charles, Missouri), Volcanoes released "Heavy Hands" in 2012. The chugging, hyper-aggressive sing-speak, drum-and-guitar melodies were comely enough to assuage any eyebrows raised, and jittered about in beguiling, scattered memorandums on a breakup.
With talk of setting his own work on fire and scatological insights into Picasso's work, Karl Haglund casually defies the persona of the stuffy and elite artist.
It may be a clichéd axiom at this point, but it remains a fact that show business is at least as much about product as it is about performance. And few contemporary musical acts know both sides of that equation as intimately as Pomplamoose, the California duo who in a few short years have carved a niche with quirky, do-it-yourself "videosongs" and a knack for pop mashups.
When she was 16, Sarah Jarosz came into the acoustic-music scene seemingly fully formed. She has continued to demand and hold our attention ever since.
Steve Dawson has received recognition and success in the Chicago music scene for almost two decades, but even with all his accomplishments he remains down-to-earth and his music true to his Idaho-based roots.
Delta Spirit can be a hard band to get a handle on.
Ellis Ludwig-Leone sits on a train directed towards a haven whose name I can't quite make out. The chug noise accompanying Ludwig-Leone's amiable chatter obfuscates most vowel sounds. He is on his way to celebrate a romantic anniversary and miscalculated the time necessary to phone in for an interview.
Empire Hall is as nice of a spot as any in St. Louis to host a party. Giant windows look out over California Avenue, and natural light spills into the space, illuminating the white pillars and shining hardwood floors of the interior. There is a subtle elegance to the space, making it the perfect spot for a wedding reception or a gallery opening.