ST. LOUIS, MO. – In his 35 years as a renowned Los Angeles studio musician, saxophonist Jay Hutson has performed with everyone from Frankie Valli and Aretha Franklin to the Pointer Sisters and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.
At 8 p.m. Thursday, July 10, Hutson and his band da Wolvez will launch WUSTL’s Jazz in July series with a free performance at the Danforth University Center’s Tisch Commons.
Four concerts, four takes on jazz
A St. Louis native, Hutson studied music at Webster University and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville before decamping for the west coast. Since returning home, in 2009, he has performed with local standouts like Kim Massie and the Soulard Blues Band. He’s also established da Wolvez, a St. Louis collective that performs contemporary jazz/funk.
Bill Lenihan, director of jazz performance, notes that each of the four Jazz in July performances will highlight a different jazz idiom. In addition to jazz/funk, the series will feature traditional jazz tunes, jazz standards and straight-ahead modern jazz.
“’Jazz standards’ refers to a body of repertoire composed or improvised by the Tin Pan Alley composers of the 1920s-40s and modern writers of the 1950s,” Lenihan says.
“Jazz/funk, jazz/rock and fusion describe extensions of 1960s ‘acoustic’ jazz practice and the use of newer rock and funk rhythms in the 1970s,” Lenihan adds. “’Straight-ahead jazz’ is an art historical term indicating the jazz of the middle periods, particularly late bebop and pop/modernism.”
Representing the latter, on July 17, will be San Francisco trumpeter Erik Jekabson and his band. Guitarist Dave Black and vocalist Joe Mancuso will join forces for an evening of traditional jazz tunes July 24.
Concluding the series, July 31, will be an evening of jazz standards from pianist Kara Baldus, bassist Eric Stiller and drummer Kyle Honeycutt. Baldus, who teaches piano in the WUSTL jazz program, is one-half of the electro-pop duo Dropkick the Robot, which recently took the award for best electronic song in the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.