The Summer Sounds at St. James kicks off July 6 and continues throughout the month.
Sponsored by the St. James Center for Spiritual Formation, the series of musical concerts are scheduled at 7 p.m. each Wednesday in July at St. James Episcopal Church, 205 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge.
Admission for each concert is $10; free for college students with a valid ID. A reception follows each concert so the audience may meet the performers, obtain memorabilia and recordings and enjoy the St. James Artists’ Guild Summer Exhibition and Sale. Tickets may be purchased at stjamesbr.org or at the door.
The seventh annual Summer Sounds series opens on July 6 with The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band featuring Gerald French. Founded in 1910, the band has the longest history of continuous performance in New Orleans. On drums, French carries this century-old band forward playing the raucous, irresistible sounds of classic New Orleans jazz for all to enjoy.
The July 13 program will feature Roland Guerin and his band. A Southern University alum, Guerin has studied and played many different styles of music. Inspired by Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, Guerin offers an entirely new and singular take, one that integrates American folk melodies, blues, zydeco, African rhythms, rock, jazz soloing and orchestral arrangements. At the heart of his music are stories, told through multiple layers of simple compositions that come together to create a complex yet lucid sound.
The July 20 brings a return performance by Chris Thomas King, a Baton Rouge native and son of the famed Tabby Thomas. King has enjoyed a well-traveled career through the U.S. and Europe as well as a blues journey from traditional through a bold hip-hop influence found in his album, Antebellum Postcards, which displays his broad range incorporating folk, blues and a hint of Nashville along with energetic rock sensibilities. King’s performance in the Coen brother’s film, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” was the only piece recorded live during filming, and was part of the Grammy award-winning soundtrack.
New Orleans pianist Tom Worrell makes his St. James debut on July 27. Worrell worked with Solomon Burke’s band for years and is a devotee of the music of James Booker and Professor Longhair whose music, he says, is “… a template for New Orleans piano style that informed Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Bill Payne & others; as an eccentric pivot point inclusive of clave, junker piano, blues, boogie woogie, fractured stride, rumba, funk, Bach, Rock, R&B & nursery rhymes; as a composer of such eccentric music that was inspired by survival, joy & humor that it remains relevant today.”
Season ticket packages are available for $30 for all four concerts. Friends of Summer Sounds sponsorship is $75 and includes two season ticket packages. Patrons of Summer Sounds will receive four season ticket packages for $150. Sponsorship helps support the program continuation and will be individually acknowledged in the concert programs.