‘Jazz in July’ series begins July 8

Jazz at Holmes to present free summer concerts by notable artists from St. Louis and New York

Guitarist Chris Burchett and his quartet will perform July 29 for Washington University’s “Jazz in July” series, which will present free Thursday-evening concerts throughout the month.

Celebrated jazz pianist, composer and arranger Linda Presgrave and her quintet will launch “Jazz in July,” a series of free summer concerts sponsored by Washington University’s Jazz at Holmes, with a performance from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 8.

Pianist Linda Presgrave and her quintet will launch the “Jazz in July” series July 8.

“’Jazz in July’ intensifies the summer musical scene on campus by paralleling, with contrasting programming, the free Sunday night concerts offered by the Gateway Festival Orchestra,” notes Sue Taylor, PhD, a coordinator of Jazz at Holmes and instructor in University College in Arts & Sciences. “To kick-off ‘Jazz in July,’ we are delighted to bring home Linda Presgrave, a St. Louis native who has gone on to a successful jazz career in New York City.”

Presgrave, a former member of St. Louis combos After Six Jazz, the Sessions Big Band and the Modern Vintage Jazz Quintet, relocated to New York in 1998, where she has recorded four CDs for the Metropolitan Records label. The first, In Your Eyes (2000) drew praise from The New Yorker magazine, which described Presgrave as “a probing, resourceful mainstream pianist with an impressive debut album [that] prowls the bebop landscape for all the stylistic diversity it can offer.” Her latest release, Inspiration (2009), earned four stars from the All Music Guide Review, which noted that Presgrave “has the knack for uncovering overlooked gems [and is] a top-notch composer herself.”

Other recordings include The Journey (2006) and The Linda Presgrave Quartet — Live (2004), recorded during a yearlong engagement at Manhattan’s famed Warwick Hotel. In addition, Presgrave frequently performs with other women jazz musicians and was a member of the International Women in Jazz All-Stars at the 2005 JVC Jazz Festival. This fall, she will travel to Rome to perform in a concert showcasing music by women jazz composers.

For her “Jazz in July” performance, Presgrave will debut a new composition, titled “French Jazz Suite.” Joining her will be her husband, Stan Chovnick, on soprano sax, along with three notable St. Louis musicians: trumpeter Randy Holmes, bassist Dave Troncoso and drummer Jim Guglielmo.

“Jazz in July”

“Jazz in July” will continue July 15 with guitarist Tom Byrne and his quartet performing selections from the Pat Metheny songbook as well as from Byrne’s recent CD Beyond Tomorrow. A professor of jazz studies at Webster University, Byrne has performed professionally in the St. Louis area for more than 20 years as both bandleader and accompanist.

On July 22, drummer Maurice Carnes and friends will present an evening titled “Jazz Sounds.” In addition to being a fixture of the St. Louis jazz scene, Carnes currently serves as a jazz combo coach in Washington University’s Department of Music in Arts & Sciences.

“Jazz in July” will conclude July 29 with a concert of jazz standards performed by Chris Burchett and his quartet. A St. Louis native and son of saxophonist Mark Burchett Sr., Chris plays in the style of jazz greats such as Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Pat Martino and has worked with Willie Akins and other important artists. He also serves as president and CEO of the nonprofit Chris Burchett Foundation, which promotes jazz through education and outreach activities.

All concerts are free and open to the public and take place from 8 to 10 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, located in Ridgley Hall, on the west side of Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives.

For more information, contact Sue Taylor at staylor@wustl.edu or (314) 862-0874.

Jazz at Holmes

Jazz at Holmes was begun in 1996 and features professional jazz musicians from around St. Louis and abroad performing in Holmes Lounge — a casual, coffeehouse-style setting — most Thursday evenings throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Jazz at Holmes sponsors include the College of Arts & Sciences, Student Union, University College and Summer School in Arts & Sciences, Congress of the South 40, Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, Campus Life, Danforth University Center and Event Management, Community Service Office, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, Greek Life and Michael Cannon, executive vice chancellor and general counsel.


July 8: Pianist Linda Presgrave and her quintet
July 15: Guitarist Tom Byrne and his quartet
July 22: Drummer Maurice Carnes and friends perform “Jazz Sounds”
July 29: Guitarist Chris Burchett and his quartet