Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jazz St. Louis Books Gregory Porter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, David Sanborn

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jazz St. Louis Books Gregory Porter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, David Sanborn

Article excerpt

Gregory Porter, David Sanborn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Yellowjackets, Stanley Clarke Band, Poncho Sanchez, the Bad Plus and others will highlight Jazz St. Louis' 20th anniversary season.

Other names include Freddy Cole, Marcus Roberts Trio, James Carter Organ Trio and a grouping of staples Christian McBride, Cyrus Chestnut, Gregory Hutchinson, Russell Malone, Terell Stafford and Tim Warfield in a special Jazz St. Louis @20 show.

Concerts take place at the new Ferring Jazz Bistro at the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. Two of the shows are at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford says the 20th anniversary brings the organization to a more mature status.

"There has been a lot of nostalgia thinking about this season and the opening of the new center," he says. "You think a lot about the older days."

That's evident in the season lineup, which includes many staples and favorites of the past 20 years. It's also clear in the new Barbara Rose Series, honoring Jazz at the Bistro's founder with acts she used to book at Jazz at the Bistro and its predecessor, Jazz at the Majestic.

"We wanted to honor our beginnings," Bradford says. "Barbara loved the piano trio. That was her favorite setting. If you go back and look at some of the first seasons Barbara programmed, of 18 shows, 17 piano trios would be on there. That was her thing."

With the new center, Bradford says Jazz St. Louis now has what the group dreamed of in its early days.

"We're really at the point where we got the facility to where we want and can now get the programming to where we want, and that's really exciting," he says. "We have so many options available to us now with the new space."

New for the 20th season, the venue will feature concerts Wednesday through Saturday weekly instead of every other week. When Rose started Jazz at the Bistro, she featured national artists weekly. But Bradford says finances forced the switch to every other week.

"With the traction the new space has gotten, we've seen a 53 percent uptick in ticket revenue, and we're able to get audiences for shows we would not have been able to before," he says.

Bob Bennett, artistic director and director of operations, is proud of the organization's progress.

"It took us 20 years to get here," he says. "Now we have to look forward and give people the things they continue to expect from us. We don't want to sit back on what we've built.

"You get a lot of jaws hitting the floor when artists walk in here for the first time."

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FERRING JAZZ BISTRO AT THE HAROLD & DOROTHY STEWARD CENTER FOR JAZZ 2015-2016 SEASON

When * 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted

More info * jazzstl.org; individual tickets go on sale Aug. 19

Jazz at the Bistro Subscription Series

* Jazz St. Louis @20 with Christian McBride, Cyrus Chestnut, Gregory Hutchinson, Russell Malone, Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Sept. …

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