Jazz St. Louis’ New Frontman Victor Goines Is Ready To Elevate The Institution Higher | The mixer
If Victor Goines gets his way, Jazz St. Louis will be held just like the prestigious Village Vanguard jazz club in New York.
“The Village Vanguard — that name is on a lot of records,” says Goines, who takes over Sept. 19 as president and CEO of Jazz St. Louis. “It has a historic presence in the world of jazz. The Bistro deserves that kind of recognition.
Jazz St. Louis presents programming at the Ferring Jazz Bistro inside the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz in Grand Center. Goines, 61, replaces Gene Dobbs Bradford, who left this year to lead the Savannah Music Festival.
Gene Dobbs Bradford’s vision revitalized the organization and led to the opening of the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz.
Goines is originally from New Orleans and recently lived in Chicago. Saxophonist and clarinetist, he has played with Bob Dylan, Terence Blanchard, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Dianne Reeves, Branford Marsalis and Wayne Shorter.
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In order to elevate Jazz St. Louis and make the organization known worldwide, he would like to release live albums recorded there. He would also like to send ensemble artists on tour under the Jazz St. Louis banner.
“Jazz St. Louis presents music at the highest level – the best in jazz,” says Goines. “So many people from all over the world have performed here.”
Goines has always referred to New Orleans, New York and Chicago – cities where he has lived and worked – as his jazz triangle. He now adds Saint-Louis.
“St. Louis is another big city for jazz,” he says. “We all buy into the concept that the birthplace of jazz is somewhere around New Orleans, but we can’t ignore Sedalia, Missouri (the birthplace of ragtime). “Other cities had (their) things to do. The lens shone in different places at the same time.
Checking out the names of Miles Davis and Clark Terry, St. Louis-area natives who have become international jazz stars, Goines said, “I can’t wait to rub shoulders with a new group of musicians and see what they have to offer.”
Prior to coming to Jazz St. Louis, Goines served as Director of Jazz Studies and Full Professor of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Since 1993, he has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet and was director of the jazz program at the Juilliard School.
Goines sees his new appointment as the next step in his evolution as a performer, leader and executive.
“It’s a big responsibility from an organizational perspective to lead a group of people to the next point where they’re going,” says Goines, a fan of Bradford’s long tenure as head of Jazz St. Louis.
Bradford oversaw the construction and opening of the Steward Center for Jazz in 2014 and is credited with booking more progressive acts.
“They’ve been so successful,” he says. “I wanted to make sure I was ready for this leadership position and inspire people to want to follow me. I wanted to make sure my skills were in place to allow me to do it successfully. I try to understand the dynamics of Saint-Louis as a community.
Goines was never one of the main performers of Jazz St. Louis, although he performed with other artists, most notably with Marsalis when the center opened.
“They were working so hard to finish the building on time, working until the last moment,” says Goines, who was impressed with the sightlines and the sound. “It’s more like an amphitheater but more intimate. As a performer, when you can see people at that level, it’s a different kind of energy.
His last headlining show in St. Louis was in 2015. He and his quartet performed with the North County Big Band at Sheldon Concert Hall.
There’s no doubt that Goines will grace the St. Louis Jazz scene with a new band he’ll form here.
“It happens – it has to come,” he says. “I want to be part of it, in all of its aspects, not just as Presidential CEO.
“I will have opportunities to continue playing. I am a player. That’s what makes it so exciting for musicians in town to have a musician, not just a businessman, not just an administrator.