Jazz at Homes celebrates Gaslight Square Sept. 25

Concert highlights music that defined an era

Trumpeter Bob Ceccarini performs in midtown St. Louis. On Sept. 25, Ceccarini will help lead a musical tribute to Gaslight Square in Washington University’s Holmes Lounge. (Credit: Courtesy of the artist)

It was, for a while, the most happening place in town.

In the 1950s and ’60s, the St. Louis neighborhood Gaslight Square hosted a “who’s who” of American entertainers — everyone from Lenny Bruce, Miles Davis and the Smothers Brothers to Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen and Dick Gregory.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at Washington University in St. Louis, the popular music series Jazz at Holmes will pay homage to Gaslight Square with a special concert featuring trumpeter Bob Ceccarini and saxophonist Freddie Washington. Also on the bill will be guitarist William Lenihan, clarinetist Scott Alberici, trombonist Wayne Coniglio, guitarist, bassist Eric Stiller and drummer Steve Davis.

Prior to the performance, at 7:30 p.m., the musicians will join St. Louis poet Michael Castro for a discussion of the music and entertainment that defined the Gaslight Square era.

“The Gaslight Square era marked a developmental period in the local jazz scene coming to terms with the end of a period of traditional jazz,” said Lenihan, professor of the practice in music and director of jazz studies in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences.

“Within a short time, the culture changed from beat poets to hippies, from jazz to rock, from commercial enterprise in the city to the desolation of neighborhoods,” Lenihan said. “But for a time, Gaslight Square represented a place where popular and emerging cultures came together to form a nationally recognized vibrant scene.

“We are proud to present, in St. Louis’ 250th-anniversary year, a concert highlighting local history and an important developmental period in the local jazz.”

Jazz at Holmes

Jazz at Holmes presents free campus concerts in a relaxed, coffee-house setting most Thursday evenings throughout the year.

All performances take place from 8-10 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall on the Danforth Campus. For more information, call 314- 862-0874; email staylor@wustl.edu; or visit Jazz at Holmes on Facebook.

Jazz at Holmes is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences; Student Union; Congress of the South 40; Department of Music in Arts & Sciences; University College and Summer School; Campus Life; Danforth University Center and Event Management; Community Service Office; Office of Student Involvement and Leadership; Greek Life Office; and the Office of Residential Life.