Washington University hosts some of the area's finest players as part of the Holmes Jazz Series

Despite the obvious truth that St. Louis continues to churn out local jazz — at least a half-dozen local horn players are on the East Coast making their livings as musicians (it's been a while since we reminded you that former East Sider Russell Gunn's Ethnomusicology, Vol. 1 is one of the year's best jazz releases) — sometimes it takes a bit of work to wrap your head around the local scene. Players appear at piano bars or happy hours without much promotion, end up at a gig unannounced, and jump and juggle clubs often. They're here, and they play, but unless you follow the talent regularly, deciding to see jazz on any given night means some serious research (a good bet these days, though, is the Delmar Lounge).

Seldom is the scene celebrated with a fancy collegiate jazz series. But Washington University's deep pockets and refined tastes occasionally collide in fine fashion to honor our own, and for the next month-and-a-half you can hear the work of some of the area's finest players as part of the Holmes Jazz Series. Every Thursday night through Nov. 18, Holmes Jazz presents St. Louis jazz, free, inside the compound at Ridgely Hall (for directions, call 935-4841). Though you may have missed last week's kickoff with the Kim Portnoy Trio, you can make up for it on Thursday, Oct. 7, when bassist Eric Markowitz and his trio perform. The following weeks will feature the Willie Akins Quartet, Paul Westcott, the Scott Alberici Duo, the Paul DeMarinis Trio and InsideOUT, and the series concludes on Nov. 18 with the Mike Karpowicz Trio.