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Wild At Heart

Dan Randant's eclectic Wildstone Audio record label releases music from the city's most accomplished musicians

"The Beatles got me interested in playing the guitar," Black says. "When I was a kid I was taking a bath, it was Sunday night, and they were on the Ed Sullivan Show. My mom called to me, "Dave, you gotta see this. It's the Beatles!' I stood there watching with a towel around me, covered in soap suds. I was only 7 or 8, but after that I had to have every Beatles record."

Alone and Together presents Black as St. Louis' pre-eminent working jazz guitarist. Black continues to play as a sideman, continues to write original material, still practices with the jazz quartet Brilliant Corners (whose steady gigs have become all too rare); most recently he has joined the R&B outfit Dangerous Kitchen. His musical interests are boundless -- which puts him squarely in Wildstone's aesthetic camp.

"Sandy had always spoken highly of Dan," Black says. "I've also known Dan for years, but never all that well. The word I got from everybody is that he's a man of his word. But I also know I can't rely just on Dan. I'm not some big star. I'm going to get out of town a bit, try to get some more recognition. But Dan is right there strategizing with me, and so I feel like I have an ally."

Wildstone's strength, though, is also its vulnerability. In St. Louis, the phrase "local band" is often used to dismiss, as if the goal of every musician should be getting the hell out, as if making it means never going home again. "It's like that Bible verse," Weltman says, half-smiling, half-serious. ""The prophet hath no honor in his own hometown.' It's the same with artists." The enduring musical family of Wildstone, however, suggests that honor can still be found at home.

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