Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz Kicks Off 2014-2015 Season Tomorrow

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

With a top-to-bottom renovation complete, the new Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz kicks off their 2014-2015 season tomorrow evening, with 7:30pm and 9:30pm performances by six-time Grammy-award winning alto saxophonist David Sandborn as part of the “Jazz at the Bistro” series. Sandborn grew up in Kirkwood and has since worked as both a session artist, notably on David Bowie’s “Young Americans” album, and a solo artist, with his style typically grouped in with smooth jazz.

The Grand Center hub, which has been under renovation since early summer, re-opened last Thursday night with a sold-out opening gala. Reinvented from its previous incarnation of “Jazz at the Bistro,” the Center’s re-opening is meant to cement the space for performance and education as a leading proponent of jazz in the country—eventually helping St. Louis reclaim its reputation as a jazz capital.

 

The guests at the evening’s event, underwritten by World Wide Technology, heard iconic trumpeter Wynton Marsalis play alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The center’s new online streaming capabilities had listeners from France, Japan and Norway listening to the orchestra’s performance at the same time as the enthusiasts in St. Louis were seeing it live from the intimate venue.

“We need to celebrate our rich heritage and focus on the things that unite us,” said Dave Steward, chairman and co-founder of World Wide Technology. “The arts are a powerful tool that we can use to bring our community together, and no other does it more than jazz. I’m so proud of the new Jazz St. Louis and call on the entire community to support it to make St. Louis the prominent center for jazz in the world.”

Currently, donations total $6.7 million, and the public phase of the ongoing capital campaign is now open with a goal of an additional $3.3 million. The excitement around the reopening has already translated into great things for Jazz St. Louis: Season subscriptions are up more than 50 percent from 2013-2014, and attendance is projected to double by 2017, with a $3.9 million impact to St. Louis.

“We have to make sure it’s not just a question of preserving our jazz heritage,” Gene Dobbs Bradford, executive director of Jazz St. Louis, told The Associated Press. “We have to educate and train the next generation of great St. Louis musicians.”

Sandborn performs Oct. 8-11. For upcoming performances and more information, check out the Jazz St. Louis site.

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