By Jaime Lees
By Roy Kasten
By Melinda Cooper
By Jeremy Essig
By Roy Kasten
By Daniel Hill
By Chris Kornelis
By Gina Tron
Though purists might question the lack of a headline act playing straight-ahead, swinging acoustic jazz, or the challenging fare purveyed in previous years by the likes of the Dave Holland Big Band or the Dave Douglas Quartet, organizers are banking on St. Louis musicians to supply additional stylistic diversity. (In fact, Prost notes that "we've got more local and regional acts than we've ever had.")
Friday will feature sets from saxophonist Readus Miller, singer Denise Thimes, pianist Carol Schmidt and trombonist LaMar Harris, while Saturday's schedule includes guitarist Rick Haydon and the SIUE Jazz Ensemble, vocalist Anita Rosamond and Sandy Weltman's New Harmonica Jazz. Alto saxophonist and Kirkwood native David Sanborn who also performed at the inaugural festival in 2001 and made his reputation on session work, soundtracks and R&B-laced funk-jazz performs on Saturday as well.
"We try to mix it up," says Prost. "When you do a festival, as opposed to a concert, you sort of shoot wide and hope that the people find some things appealing, recognizing that not everybody is going to love everything."
So far in 2006, the mix seems to be working. Prost says advance ticket sales have been "excellent," far exceeding previous years thanks to the addition of online ordering to the festival's Web site, discounts for early purchasers and what she calls "a secret street team" of volunteers who have spread the word and passed out flyers "in the clubs, ballgames, the church, wherever people gather." Dean C. Minderman
5 p.m. Friday, June 23, and 3 p.m. Saturday, June 24. Shaw Park, 2627 Hope Avenue, Clayton. $20 per day general admission; check www.saintlouisjazzfest.com for prices and availability of VIP packages and pavilion seating. 314-863-0418.
St. Louis Scene Trading Cards
Name: Kevin O'Connor
High School: Lindbergh High School
Can be found: Playing drums for the 7 Shot Screamers; giving drum, guitar, bass, violin, piano and saxophone lessons at Eureka Music in Eureka, Missouri.
Career Highlight: In the past year, well-respected musicians such as Morrissey and X's Exene Cervenka told O'Connor and the Screamers that they liked what the band is doing.
Fun Fact: Kevin bought a small Mexican guitar (called a vihuela) in hopes of someday fulfilling his dream of playing in a mariachi band.