Jasmine

Sunday, December 8; Sheldon Concert Hall

Twenty years ago, Jasmine was the number-one group in St. Louis. Pianist/guitarist/vocalist Carol Schmidt and saxophonist/clarinetist/vocalist Michele Isam released a debut album that consistently sold more copies week after week in local record stores than those of many national acts. In addition to touring throughout the Midwest, Jasmine was performing showcase gigs at clubs such as the Bottom Line in New York City and the Cellar Door in Washington, D.C.

But after releasing Wild Strings in 1987 and adding singer Lydia Ruffin to the lineup, Jasmine began to break apart. By 1989, the band had officially called it quits. Isam began working with the popular local band Fairchild (still going strong), and after working solo, Schmidt entered the Webster University jazz-studies program and earned a master's degree.

Over the years, Schmidt and Isam have turned down numerous requests to reunite but finally decided to get together last May to play a few Laura Nyro songs for an event at Left Bank Books. "We had a lot of fun," Schmidt recalls, "and in the process of working together again, we opened a door that had pretty well been closed." As a result, Jasmine fans will have an extra reason to celebrate this holiday season. Jasmine reunites again for a concert at the Sheldon with special guests Ruffin, bassist Ben Wheeler and guitarist Billy Engel. The event also marks the re-release of Jasmine's two albums on a double CD, with bonus tracks from a 1984 performance at the Sheldon.

Schmidt says this will be a one-time event -- maybe: "It's a way to say 'thank you' to fans. No future performances are planned, but never say never."

 
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