As Jazz St. Louis’ first creative adviser, Keyon Harrold is coming in swinging with a five-date residency starting Dec. 1 at Ferring Jazz Bistro.
The trumpet player, producer and educator says the shows will take concertgoers “to different places musically.”
The Jazz St. Louis position had his name all over it,” Harrold says. “The qualifications are what I get to do every moment. I felt like it was a godsend.”
He says he’s looking forward to building community, sharing, teaching and curating. “I look forward to putting them all together and to being home a lot more.”
The residency is a homecoming for the Ferguson native, who will bring some of his musician friends along. He wants to take a different approach and bring “new blood” to the venue.
“I just wanted to bring in some artists I know that the people at the Bistro may not have heard of,” he says.
PJ Morton, a noted singer, musician and Maroon 5 keyboardist, will perform with Harrold on the first night of the residency. The friends have recorded together since Morton’s first album.
“My man PJ Morton is starting things off,” Harrold says. “He’s a god in terms of R&B music today and tomorrow. The residency to me has a lot to do with the past, the present and the future. He embodies all those things.”
On Dec. 4, he’s bringing in Terrace Martin, a singer-musician who has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Charlie Wilson and others.
“Me and Terrace go back 15, 16 years,” Harrold says. “We’ve been playing music and creating together ever since. He just released a new record (‘DRONES’) that I’m a part of. We’ve all worked with so many different people and together have been literally instrumental to each other.”
He says he and his guests will demonstrate how music is indeed a spectrum. Harrold has played with Jay-Z, D’Angelo, Common, Gregory Porter, Maxwell, Erykah Badu, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Robert Glasper, Gary Clark Jr., Mary J. Blige, Mac Miller and the Count Basie Orchestra.
“We’ve all been a part of the continuum with respect to what’s been before, what’s going on now and contributing to what’s to come,” he says.
Gretchen Parlato will perform with Harrold on Sunday.
The concerts will include music by Harrold and others, with familiar standards.
His band includes Shedrick Mitchell of Ferguson (keyboards), Charles Haynes of East St. Louis (drums), Nir Felder (guitar) and Burness Travis (bass).
They’ll focus on music from Harrold’s last album, “The Mugician,” which includes “MB Lament,” and will give a peek at his upcoming album.
“I’m very close to being finished,” he says of the new project. “There will be news about that very soon. I’m signed to a major label, and it will be a vibe.”
What Keyon Harrold • When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1-2; 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 3-4; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 • Where Ferring Jazz Bistro, 3536 Washington Boulevard • How much $10-$41; proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required • More info jazzstl.org