By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Keyon Harrold at Jazz at the Bistro: In his debut as a leader at the Bistro, Harrold showed off outstanding sound on trumpet, with a bright yet well-rounded tone and extraordinary flexibility, even in very fast passages. As an instrumentalist, Harrold already is a worthy addition to the long line of famous jazz trumpet players from St. Louis. If he can continue to develop as a composer and bandleader, he could become something even more special.
St. Louis Blues Hall of Fame induction at the Old Rock House: It was good to see the elders of the St. Louis blues scene get this long-deserved formal recognition and to hear the ebullient, newly inducted Hall of Famer Big George Brock delight the crowd with an impromptu version of "Got My Mojo Working." Here's hoping this was the first of many such celebrations.
John McLaughlin and 4th Dimension at the Sheldon Concert Hall: Updating his jazz/fusion sound for the 21st century, the veteran guitarist and his top-notch band offered plenty of the flashy licks the audience was expecting but also demonstrated a more soulful, even contemplative, side.
Some favorite recordings of the past year included McLaughlin's To the One, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society, pianist Jason Moran's Ten and saxophonist Charles Lloyd's Mirror.— Dean C. Minderman