There are many new aspects of Jazz St. Louis’ newly renovated Harold Jazz Center, but one of the finest additions turns out to be something old. Rich McDonnell, founding board member and longtime supporter of jazz, was lost this past year, and the Ferring Jazz Bistro has the honor of housing his classic, Hammond B-3 organ, one of the most renowned instruments in jazz.
Even before the musicians emerged from the green room, the stage told a story of creativity and modern experimentation. At the forefront sat Jeff Coffin's trio of saxophones and flute beside Bill Fanning's trumpet, each accompanied by a board of effects pedals and other toys generally belonging to electric guitarists and bassists.
With the newly expanded and renovated Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz to flaunt, Jazz St. Louis started its 20th season with one hometown hero saxophonist David Sanborn.
The long-term contract is well known in the world of sports, but in the world of music, such commitments tend to be reserved for the divas of the Las Vegas strip. However, the people of St. Louis have spoken and have welcomed the Bad Plus to Jazz at the Bistro for eight straight years, and extended a contract to return every January for the foreseeable future.
This past year, my concert schedule started with a frantic pace, but then unfortunately dwindled away a bit due to increasing limitations on time and finances.
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.