Owen W. Ragland is just 17 years old, but don’t let that fool you. The Webster Groves High School senior has been making his way on the St. Louis music scene.
Some know Ragland as one of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s new Music Artists in Residence performers, affording him a slot with his quintet every third Thursday at the Dark Room.
Others know him as part of the eclectic Farfetched record label and collective, where as an artist and producer he’s bringing together electronic, hip-hop and jazz sounds.
He believes most people probably know him for both, and his interest in both is about equal.
Ragland says his jazz side hasn’t been as publicized, and that’s what he’ll focus on when he performs Sunday as part of “The Sound of St. Louis” at the Grandel. The event will showcase more than 15 acts that had been scheduled to perform this weekend at LouFest, which was canceled Wednesday.
“This year for me is a big step into getting onto people’s radar,” says Ragland, who has been playing piano since age 3.
He’s excited to show more of who he really is as an artist.
His Dark Room sets are a mixture of many of the things he loves and on any given night could include his take on John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Scott Joplin and George Gershwin.
Ragland is pushing original modern jazz inspired by some of his more recent faves including Robert Glasper Jr. and Snarky Puppy, “artists pushing the frontier of what jazz is,” he says.
Other more modern influences include Flying Lotus, Taylor McFerrin, Thundercat and Bonobo.
“The jazz I’m doing is energetic — something you can vibe to and really vibe out on,” says Ragland, who can also play classical.
He has a new EP titled “Peak,” which showcases him coming into his own style with his blend of hip-hop, electronic and jazz.
He also has a new original track featuring St. Louis singer-bassist Tonina that they will release soon. And he’s going to record a live jazz album in October at either the Dark Room or the Kranzberg Arts Center.
What • Owen Ragland Quintet at “The Sound of St. Louis”
When • 2-10 p.m. Sunday • Where • The Grandel, 3610 Grandel Square
How much • Free
More info • kranzbergartsfoundation.org