Yamaha Pianos to Play Key Role in Newly Expanded Jazz St. Louis Performance Space

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Yamaha Pianos to be Used Exclusively at Modernized Renowned Jazz Club

Yamaha CX7 Grand Piano

"The C7 has been the piano of choice for jazz musicians for decades, so it's an excellent instrument for the Bistro and the artists who perform there," said Ed Bezursik, Yamaha.

As Jazz St. Louis, one of the nation’s premier music presenters, kicks off its 20th season and unveils a $10 million expansion and renovation this fall, the star-studded lineup of musicians performing there throughout the year will share the stage with Yamaha pianos, the exclusive choice for the center’s Ferring Jazz Bistro performance space.

Starting with the sold-out grand opening concert on Oct. 3 featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to top jazz musicians such as St. Louis native and saxophonist David Sanborn and legendary guitarist John Pizzarelli on tap later this fall, this 20th season will not only celebrate the new, bigger and better home for Jazz St. Louis, but is expected to cement its role as one of the top five jazz centers in the world.

“We have a lot to celebrate this year, and so we have a very special season of performances and programs planned for our audiences and the 10,000 young people we reach annually through our education programs,” said Bob Bennett, artistic and operations director for Jazz St. Louis.

The expansion, which in addition to the reimagining of the Ferring Jazz Bistro, the longtime home of the Jazz at the Bistro concert series, will include a state-of-the-art community and education center. It’s expected to help Jazz St. Louis carry out its mission of fostering jazz appreciation for all ages in the region, as well as meet the growing demand for performances, music and education programs and other services offered by Jazz St. Louis today and well into the future.

As part of the meticulous planning process for the ambitious project, Jazz St. Louis representatives decided to exclusively use Yamaha pianos at the remodeled club, after also considering other manufacturers including Steinway.

“It ultimately came down to a choice between Yamaha and Steinway for the pianos we’d select for the club, and the consensus across the board was that Yamaha was the clear choice for quality instruments that would fit best with the world-class venue and performances we’ll be offering,” explained Philip Dunlap, director of education and community engagement at Jazz St. Louis.

Five pianos were purchased from a local Yamaha dealer, Piano Distributors in St. Louis: a C7X grand, which will be used onstage in the Bistro, as well as a C6X grand and three uprights, namely two B1s and a P22, for the newly constructed Centene Jazz Education Center.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Piano Distributors and its manager Steve Trawford, but we made it clear throughout the lengthy selection process that we would be basing our choice on the sound quality, craftsmanship and performance value of the pianos,” Bennett said. “When the decision was made to go exclusively with Yamaha pianos for the Bistro, knowing we were also getting the level of support and expertise of Steve and Piano Distributors along with the instruments was icing on the cake.”

Already renown as the Midwest’s leading venue for live jazz, presenting more than 270 performances each year, the non-profit Jazz St. Louis, through the generosity of corporations, foundation and individuals, purchased the Jazz at the Bistro space along with the adjoining three-story building. Construction is nearing completion to combine and renovate both spaces into The Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz.

Revamping and modernizing the performance space while maintaining the intimacy the club has long been known for was a challenge, but a challenge that was successfully met, according to Bennett.

SIA Acoustics, whose work includes Jazz at Lincoln Center and the SFJazz Center, handled the acoustical design of the Bistro, ensuring that the music is outstanding no matter where you sit. The new Yamaha C7X and a state-of-the-art sound system will bring those acoustical treatments to life.

A reconfigured stage and balcony layout will expand capacity from 150 to 200 seats and allow for unobstructed views of the entire stage from just 25 feet away. “The farthest seats from centerstage will be 30 feet closer than before, enhancing the intimate feel that patrons know and love, while giving everyone the best seat in the house,” the executive director said.

Ed Bezursik, Yamaha's acoustic piano marketing manager, said Yamaha looks forward to playing a part in Jazz St. Louis’s growth as a premier jazz performance center and national leader in jazz education. “We’re grateful that Jazz St. Louis selected some of Yamaha’s outstanding pianos for performers to play and audiences to enjoy in this new, world-class jazz center,” Bezursik said. "The C7 has been the piano of choice for jazz musicians for decades, so it's an excellent instrument for the Bistro and the artists who perform there."
Oss also applauded Steve Trawford and his staff at Piano Distributors for providing excellent sales advice and support to Jazz St. Louis, before and during the acquisition of the five new pianos.

The 2014-15 Wells Fargo Advisors Jazz at the Bistro Season also includes St. Louis natives and favorites, imaginative pairings, exciting debuts, and jazz mainstays.

For more information about Jazz St. Louis, the expansion or its programs, visit http://www.jazzstl.org.

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About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and Nexo commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, Blu-ray/CD players, iPod docking systems, home-theater-in-a-box systems and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music, installation and consumer markets.

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