2019/20 Whitaker Jazz Speaks

performance and author series

2019

An Evening with Benny Golson

featuring Dr. Gerald Early and Benny Golson

Jazz saxophonist, Benny Golson, is one of the last remaining legends of the music. Of the 57 jazz musicians pictured in the iconic “A Great Day in Harlem” photograph, he is one of only two still living and at age 90, his playing is as fresh as ever. In this special event, Dr. Gerald Early interviews saxophone legend Benny Golson about his nearly 8-decade career, followed by a performance from the man that brought you jazz standards like Killer Joe, Whisper Not, and I Remember Clifford.

Tuesday, October 1

Jazz St. Louis
3536 Washington Avenue
7 pm (doors open at 6 pm)
Cost: FREE

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT.

Sophisticated GIant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon

featuring author, Maxine Gordon

Sophisticated Giant presents the life and legacy of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon (1923–1990), one of the major innovators of modern jazz. In a context of biography, history, and memoir, Maxine Gordon has completed the book that her late husband began, weaving his “solo” turns with her voice and a chorus of voices from past and present..

Wednesday, October 9

7 pm (doors open at 6 pm)

Schlafly Library Auditorium

225 North Euclid Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63108

Cost: FREE

Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century

featuring author, Nate Chinen

“Playing changes,” in jazz parlance, has long referred to an improviser’s resourceful path through a chord progression. Nate Chinen’s Playing Changes boldly expands on the idea, highlighting a host of real changes—ideological, technological, theoretical, and practical—that jazz musicians have learned to navigate since the turn of the century. Woven throughout the book is a vibrant cast of characters—from the saxophonists Steve Coleman and Kamasi Washington to the pianists Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer to the bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding—who have exerted an important influence on the scene. This is an adaptive new music for a complex new reality, and Playing Changes is the definitive guide.

Wednesday, November 13
Please note the location of this event.

Schlafly Library Auditoriaum
225 North Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108
doors open at 6 pm, program to commence at 7 pm
Cost: FREE

2020

 Bitches Brew at 50

featuring composer, critic and independent scholar, George Grella

Of all of the trumpeter’s releases, none has elicited the lasting controversy of 1970’s double album Bitches Brew – a session that helped usher in a revolutionary period in jazz’s development, or as some saw it, signified its imminent demise. Composer, critic, and independent scholar George Grella (author of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series book on Bitches Brew) helps us celebrate the 50th anniversary of this influential work by St. Louis’s Miles Davis, followed by a performance by Adam Maness and an all-star cast of St. Louis’s finest musicians.

Wednesday, February 12

Jazz St. Louis
3536 Washington Avenue
7 pm (doors open at 6 pm)
Cost: FREE

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT.

The Jazz War: Radio Nazism, and the Struggle for the Airwaves in WW2

featuring author, William Studdert

During World War II, jazz embodied everything that was appealing about a democratic society as envisioned by the Western Allied powers. Labelled ‘degenerate’ by Hitler’s cultural apparatus, jazz was adopted by the Allies to win the hearts and minds of the German public. It was also used by the Nazi Minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, to deliver a message of Nazi cultural and military superiority. The Jazz War is based on the largely unheard oral testimony of the personalities behind the German and British wartime radio broadcasts and chronicles the evolving relationship between jazz music and the Axis and Allied war efforts..

Wednesday, March 11
Please note the location of this event.

7 pm (doors open at 6 pm)

St. Louis County Library Headquarters

1604 South Lindbergh Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63131

Cost: FREE

1959: The Year that Changed Jazz

featuring author, Ashley Kahn

The year 1959 was arguably the most creative year jazz had ever seen. As musicians began breaking away from BeBop and exploring new experimental forms, four albums were released that year that are now widely recognized as the most influential in history. Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Charles Mingus’s Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, represented new directions in music that influenced the course of jazz in every aspect. Author, Ashley Kahn, returns to Jazz St. Louis to explore this influential year in jazz, followed by an all-star performance, led by bassist Bob DeBoo.

Wednesday, April 8

Jazz St. Louis
3536 Washington Ave
St. Louis, MO 63103
doors open at 6pm, program to commence at 7 pm

COST: Free

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT.

Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times

speaker: Robin D.G. Kelley

In the 1950s and ’60s, musicians like pianist Randy Weston and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik were among hundreds of musicians who forged connections between jazz and Africa that definitively reshaped both their music and the world. In a crucial moment when freedom electrified the African diaspora, these black artists sought one another out to create new modes of expression. Documenting individuals and places, from Lagos to Chicago, from New York to Cape Town, Robin Kelley gives us a meditation on modernity: we see innovation not as an imposition from the West but rather as indigenous, multilingual, and messy, the result of innumerable exchanges across a breadth of cultures

Wednesday, April 15

ST. Louis County Library Headquarters
1604 Stouth Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
7 pm (doors open at 6 pm)
Cost: FREE

MISSION

Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and community engagement.

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