Traditional-Jazz Performance with Mr. Handy's Blues
Joanne Fish’s “Mr. Handy’s Blues” chronicles the life of William Christopher Handy, known affectionately worldwide as the Father of the Blues. Handy’s trajectory to success is an against-all-odds odyssey that took him from a strict religious home in Northern Alabama, to a low point of despair in St. Louis, to becoming one of the most revered composers of the 20th century. “Mr. Handy’s Blues” features performances of Handy’s songs — including such standards as “St. Louis Blues,” “The Memphis Blues,” and “Beale Street Blues” — by current artists. Director Fish participates in a Q&A, and the program also includes “Blues & Ragtime: The Sounds of St. Louis,” a short film by the teens at St. Louis Artworks, who tell the story of how ragtime music became the foundation for much of modern blues, R&B, and hip-hop. The evening is capped by a performance by a trad-jazz trio consisting of pianist Ethan Leinwand, vocalist Valerie Kirchoff, and trumpeter TJ Muller.