Jazz at Holmes series opens Sept. 10 with outdoor tribute to Woodstock

Jazz at Holmes will open its fall series of free Thursday night jazz concerts with an outdoor jazz tribute to the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

The opening concert takes place at 8 p.m. Sept. 10 in Brookings Quadrangle and will feature a six-person jazz ensemble led by William Lenihan, director of jazz performance in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences.

“The connections between rock music and jazz of the era of Woodstock are many, and not just that which the sonic possibilities of electric and electronic musical instruments brought to the stage,” Lenihan said.

Jazz at Holmes fall 2009 schedule

Sept. 10: Outdoor tribute to Woodstock

Sept. 17: Fresh Heir

Sept. 24: Utter Chaos

Oct. 1: Clarinetist Scott Alberici and his group

Oct. 8: Miles Davis tribute, “Birth of the Cool”

Oct. 22: Trumpeter Danny Campbell, drummer Maurice Carnes and their group

Oct. 29: Pianist Ptah Williams

Nov. 5: Saxophonist Willie Akins and his quartet

Nov. 12: Miles Davis tribute, “In a Silent Way” and “Petit Machins”

Dec. 3: Drummer Steve Davis, guitarist William Lenihan and friends

“Breaking stylistic boundaries, creating new expressions and symbols of musical thought, whether through Coltrane, Hendrix or Dylan, American popular music had freed itself from its commercial limitations, with audiences fully participating in its creation,” Lenihan said. “Jazz at Holmes Series is celebrating the music in this spirit of performance.”

Jazz at Holmes returns indoors the next week to its usual locale, Holmes Lounge, for a Sept. 17 concert by Fresh Heir, which performs soul-tinged music featuring trumpet and saxophone.

Next up, on Sept. 24, will be Utter Chaos, featuring baritone saxophone Andy Ament and trombonist Cody Henry. The group will perform works by jazz great Gerry Mulligan. On Oct. 1, clarinetist Scott Alberici and his group will explore music of the swing era.

Two concerts will salute trumpeter Miles Davis, who grew up across the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis in Alton, Ill. The first takes place Oct. 8, when Lenihan will lead a group of local musicians in recreating — from transcriptions he prepared — Davis’ historic album “Birth of the Cool.” The record helped introduce the concept of “cool jazz” and its response to the bebop of the late 1940s.

Trumpeter Danny Campbell, drummer Maurice Carnes and their group will perform modern jazz Oct. 22, followed by pianist Ptah Williams Oct. 29. Saxophonist Willie Akins — the St. Louis jazz legend who frequently performed in Gaslight Square during its 1960s heyday — will appear with his quartet Nov. 5.

The second tribute to Davis will take place Nov. 12. Lenihan and ensemble will return to the late 1960s with a series of works representing the fusion style Davis pioneered on recordings such as “In a Silent Way” and “Petit Machins.”

Jazz at Holmes will conclude Dec. 3 with New York-based drummer Steve Davis, who will be joined by Lenihan and friends for an evening of modern jazz. The author of six books about playing drums, Steve Davis has performed and recorded with such jazz luminaries as Bill Evans, Richie Beirach and John Pattitucci and served as visiting professor of jazz studies at the Berlin Conservatory of Music.

Jazz at Holmes sponsors include the College of Arts & Sciences, Student Union, University College and Summer School, Congress of the South 40, Office of Student Activities, the Department of Music and Michael Cannon, J.D., executive vice chancellor and general counsel.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

For more information, call Sue Taylor at 862-0874 or e-mail staylor@wustl.edu.