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Playing this Summer: Tim Cunningham

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 19, 2011 - PROFILE: Tim Cunningham has been a familiar presence on the St. Louis area music scene for quite a few years, making regular appearances at Jazz at the Bistro and other concert venues.

Over the years, he's also opened for national names such as Dave Koz, Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, Brian George Benson, Norman Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, R. Kelly, Luther Vandross, the Temptations, The O'Jays, Cameo, Keith Sweat, the Yellow Jackets, Chick Corea, the Whispers, Wynton Marsalis, the Average White Band, Patti Labelle, Jeffery Osborne, Al Green and Boys II Men. But it's not often that Cunningham plays free outdoor concerts, so his appearance this Thursday at the Bluebird Park Concert series in Ellisville is definitely an event for smooth jazz fans.

Cunningham has released six recordings as a leader since 1990, including his 1996 CD, "Right Turn Only," which featured artists such as vocalist Will Downing and multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson. Cunningham is sure to feature plenty of music from his new recording, "Reflection." If you're a fan of the sax sound of the late Grover Washington Jr., you definitely won't want to miss Tim Cunningham at Bluebird Park.

Here are Cunningham's responses to a few questions about his music and his background.

HOME: My hometown is Lansing, Mich. Now that I'm here, I make my home in Ballwin.

AGE: 49

INSTRUMENT: Saxophones. I play tenor, alto and soprano saxes.

HOBBY: I love to fish, but it seems like I never have any time. My kids are always asking, and I'm always too busy. Most recently, things have slowed down a bit. So I hope to get a chance to go out with them.

LAST CONCERT ATTENDED: Candy Dulfer at the Pageant. I opened for her when she played there this past May.

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I have a brand new CD entitled "Reflection."

WHY I DO WHAT I DO: Playing music touches my soul!

QUOTE: "Listen more than you speak."

Check out Tim Cunningham's website, www.timcunningham.com, for more info and his complete schedule.

Bluebird Park Concert Series

Bluebird Park is in Ellisville, just off of Manchester Rd. Go south on Kiefer Road, and turn left into the park. The concerts take place Thursday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. Performances are free, and the bands play on the Amphitheatre Stage, at the bottom of - you guessed it - a natural grassy amphitheater on a sloping hill just east of the Rec Center and parking lots. Concessions are minimal, so plan to bring your own food and beverages - but no glass bottles, please. You might find it easier to bring a blanket rather than chairs because of the slope on the hill. Remaining concerts in the series feature Ralph Butler on July 28 and Klose Nuff on Aug. 4. For more info on the series and weather updates on concerts, call the Park Administration Center at 636-227-7508 or go to www.ellisville.mo.us.

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer who has long covered the St. Louis music scene. 

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

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