Music » Music Stories

Pimping All Over the World

B-Sides gets gangsta with Burt Bacharach, imagines a rainbow of worldly bands and dissects the nuances of two trumpets

by and

The St. Louis area has always been fertile ground for jazz trumpeters, from all-time greats like Miles Davis and Clark Terry to outstanding younger players like Russell Gunn and Keyon Herrold. This week offers local jazz fans a chance to hear two well-known trumpet players from different generations: septuagenarian Maynard Ferguson and thirtysomething Jeremy Davenport.

Davenport graduated from University City High School and attended Manhattan School of Music, where he was mentored by Wynton Marsalis. After New York, he moved to New Orleans, where he studied and performed with Wynton's father, Ellis, a pianist and educator who schooled several generations of NOLA's finest jazz players. Davenport then landed a spot in the big band of Harry Connick Jr., which provided the experience and exposure that helped him launch his solo career in 1996.

Davenport's laid-back vocals, melodic trumpet work and matinee-idol good looks have drawn comparisons to '50s icon Chet Baker, but with each successive recording he's continued to develop his individual style. His most recent CD, Live at the Bistro, was recorded during last year's appearance in St. Louis and offers interpretations of standards such as "I Could Write a Book," "Lover," "The Very Thought of You" and his take on "St. Louis Blues."

Ferguson, now 77, came to the U.S. from his native Canada in 1949 and earned immediate fame for his dazzling high-note work as lead trumpeter for Stan Kenton's orchestra. Upon leaving Kenton, Ferguson formed his own critically acclaimed big band and did studio work. After a brief sabbatical from music, he re-emerged in the '70s with a series of albums featuring brassy, bombastic arrangements of pop and rock hits that, while reviled by some critics, enjoyed significant sales and made him a hero to high school- and college-student trumpeters everywhere.

In recent years, Ferguson and his current group, Big Bop Nouveau, have spent significant amounts of time performing at schools and giving clinics for student musicians. The first performer to play Finale when the club opened earlier this year, Ferguson is now managed by Steve Schankman, the local music mogul who co-owns Finale and is president of Contemporary Productions. Though he's been without a deal to make new recordings for several years, reissues have kept Ferguson's music in the bins, the most recent being Maynard Ferguson — which was originally issued in 1971, when Davenport was just a year old. Jeremy Davenport at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Avenue. Sets at 8:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday through Sunday (November 25 through 27). Tickets are $35; call 314-531-1012 for more information. Maynard Ferguson at Finale Music and Dining, 8025 Bonhomme Avenue, Clayton. Sets at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (November 23, 25 and 26). Tickets are $35; call 314-863-8631 for more information.

Country Jamboree
This weekend in St. Louis finds appearances by the Australian Pink Floyd Experience and American English: The Complete Beatles Experience. B-Sides suspects that England's a little pissed that other countries have bogarted its bands for commercial purposes — but we also figured that it could have been much weirder. To wit:

The Slovakian Bee Gees
The Nicaraguan Moody Blues
The Portuguese Allman Brothers
The Norwegian Black Eyed Peas
The Sudanese Styx
The German Neville Brothers
A Tribe Called Kvetch (Israel)
Ladysmith Black Montana
Electric Light Oregon
U.A.E. Speedwagon
Tibetan Tesla
¡Las Spice Girls de Argentina!
Alice in Chains in Uzbekistan
Sly and the Family Stonehenge
John Denver
Black Oak Argentina
Peoria Jam

The Australian Pink Floyd Show at the Savvis Center, South 14th Street and Clark Avenue. Show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, November 25. Tickets are $32.50 to $42.50; call 314-241-1888 for more information. American English: The Complete Beatles Experience at the Casino Queen, 200 South Front Street, East St. Louis, Illinois. Show starts at 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, November 23 through 26; 7 p.m. Sunday, November 27. Tickets start at $23; call 800-777-0777 for more information. What's It

All About?
For the first time in nearly 50 years of hit-making, soft-touch composer Burt Bacharach has tried his hand at writing and singing his own lyrics. On his new album, At This Time, Burt sings about national politics and personal heartaches with the help of Elvis Costello, Rufus Wainwright and Dr. Dre.

Speaking on his collab with Dre, Bacharach told Reuters that "it's very streety, as streety as I can make it." Even though his streety cred couldn't be higher, rumor has it that Bacharach has been making overtures to old songwriting partner Hal David in hopes of re-emerging as a septuagenarian rap duo. With that in mind, B-Sides intercepted the following communication between the former partners:


Remember those sweet residuals we got for Twista's sample of "A House is Not A Home" on "Slow Jamz"? Tip of the iceberg, Hal. Ever since Dre dropped those beats on my album, I've been swept up in hip-hop: the streetier, the better.

So I got to thinking: What if the old Bacharach-David partnership was reborn as a rap outfit? A little 808 here, some symphonic swells there; I've even got my boy Elvis Costello (a.k.a. Inspector Declan) on the wheels of steel.

Whaddya say? Tell me what it's all about, Hal-fie.


Welcome to the 21st century: I'm practically the godfather of hip-hop lyrics. The patriarchal swagger of "Wives and Lovers" paved the way for misogynist rappers, and the Nelly/Tim McGraw joint "Over and Over" points right back to "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me."

I gotta jet, I'm working with the Ying-Yang Twins on a dirtified version of "The Look of Love." It's gonna be sick.

Hope to see you at Dionne's Christmas party,

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