After five months and $10 million, “Jazz at the Bistro,” now called Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz, opened on Oct. 2. Wynton Marsalis headlined and two WGHS musicians, a part of a combo, opened the inauguration.
Senior Ellie Pruneau said her favorite part of the new jazz center was the stage. “It is much bigger, and the seating around the stage is great. Also, the acoustics are much better.”
The newly renovated jazz center is now one of only a few other major performance venues that doubles as a center for jazz education. Others include Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York and SFJAZZ in San Francisco. On the educational side, two large rehearsal studios, six soundproof practice rooms were added as well as a resource and lounge room. This accommodates Jazz U, the center’s jazz program for students from all over St. Louis.
This is the first year senior Ben Hogg (saxophone) and Pruneau (piano) have been in the Jazz All-stars, the top combo in Jazz U. Both musicians play in Webster’s top jazz band and are proud of this newest achievement
When describing the combo, Hogg said, “It’s really cool to play with such talented musicians,” and Pruneau added, “It’s a lot of fun because we can bond as musicians and as people since we meet once a week and play a lot of gigs together.”
Before the event, Hogg said, “This opportunity is a big step in our music careers. I think we will do St. Louis proud opening this new music center.”
After the All-stars played, they caught the second set of the show, and when asked how it went Pruneau said, “Oh my God they were screamin’!”