Whitaker Jazz Speaks

1959: The Year that Changed Jazz

Featuring author, Ashley Kahn
7:00pm Wednesday, April 7, 2020
Cost: Free

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. This program will feature a live lecture by noted author, Ashley Kahn, who will explore the history and influences of each of these canonical albums.

Following the discussion is an all-star cast of St. Louis musicians, under the direction of bassist Bob DeBoo, performing selections from these four albums.


Bob DeBoo – bass & music director
Kendrick Smith – saxophone
Ben Paille – trumpet
Alan Ferber – trombone
Adam Maness – piano
Montez Coleman – drums


Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come: Congeniality and Peace
Dave Brubeck’s Time Out: Kathy’s Waltz and Everybody’s Jumpin’
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue: So What
Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um: Better Get Hit In Your Soul, Self Portrait In Three Colors, and Jelly Roll

Billie & Ella, Twin Peaks of Jazz Expression

Featuring author, Ashley Kahn
7:00pm Wednesday, April 28, 2020, Online Event
Cost: Free

There is a spectrum in jazz performance, on one end is a musical technique, and on the other end, personal style. Many critics consider these opposites, but in fact, it’s impossible to have one without the other. For example, the two mountains of the jazz vocal tradition—Ella Fitzgerald, whose technique and time was impeccable, and Billie Holiday, whose voice was unique and created its own style. Author Ashley Kahn will examine how each of them used their voice to describe violence and murder connecting to how we receive information about today’s world, which is filled with stories of politics, violence, and protest. Performances will include St. Louis’ finest musicians saluting these two ladies of song.

Radiohead Runs the Voodoo Down

Featuring, Dr. Pete Carney
7:00pm Wednesday, May 26, 2020, Online Event
Cost: Free

Starting in 1996, Radiohead confused the industry by modeling Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew in their album OK Computer. After winning a Grammy award, their jazz-inspired exodus continued deeper into jazz, and deeper into a new musical value system. This presentation shows Radiohead borrowing directly from Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, and Charles Mingus, and includes several interviews that Dr. Pete Carney conducted with jazz musicians working for Radiohead. The lecture will be followed with a performance of Radiohead’s compositions, with music direction from Adam Maness.

Dr. Pete Carney is the Director of Jazz Studies at the State College of Florida. Prior to his current position, Dr. Carney taught jazz and classical music at Saint Xavier University and The City Colleges of Chicago while performing as a saxophonist and directing the Chicago All-City Jazz Ensemble. Recently, he gave a live TED Talk on “Designing Curiosity” and “Interactive Listening.” His app and book, Interactive Listening, was named by Apple as #1 Editor’s Choice out of 22,000 titles. Several schools throughout the United States, including the United Nations School, have adopted Carney’s app and textbook. He has spoken at Midwest Clinic, TMEA, JEN, and NPR. His music has been featured on NPR and BBC who raved, “It’s very funky, isn’t it sir!”

Presented by


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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