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Local TV series explores St. Louis’ musical heritage

Denise Thimes, Peter Martin, at the piano, Chris Thomas and Montez Coleman preform on 'City of Music.' The Nine Network series premieres March 16, 2015
Ray Marklin
Nine Network
Denise Thimes, Peter Martin, at the piano, Chris Thomas and Montez Coleman preform on 'City of Music.' The Nine Network series premieres Monday.

In a two-part series, the Nine Network is exploring St. Louis’ musical legacy.

“City of Music” will premiere at 7 p.m. Monday, weaving interviews with performances recorded at October’s “250 Years of St. Louis Music: American Music at its Best” at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Performances by Peter Martin, Denise Thimes, Kim Massie, Billy Peak and more illustrate specific musical genres from St. Louis’ past and present.

St. Louis’ musical contributions reach beyond St. Louis, said Patrick Murphy, vice president of production at the Nine Network.

“It actually affected and changed the sound of American music,” Murphy told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “It’s a show where you get to hear a lot of music, but you also get a larger context of how St. Louis, on its 250th birthday, takes a look back at the music scene.”

The series will explore ragtime, blues, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, R&B and hip-hop in St. Louis, and how previous generations continue to influence St. Louis musicians today.

“The heritage, the lineage of music and music that was born here and developed is undeniable, but also what’s currently happening,” jazz pianist and composer Martin said. Martin is part of the series; he performed at the October concert and composed a piece that Alarm Will Sound debuted at the concert.

“I learned a lot that night,” Martin said. “I was able to make some connections kind of cross-genre that I hadn’t consciously made, especially between like R&B, hip-hop and jazz and blues. Of course, we feel how those are connected, but to hear them in the different rooms right after one another kind of through this filter, this lens of St. Louis, was really nice.”

Along with performances, artists share who has influenced their work in “City of Music.”

“Every generation of musicians … wants to learn and change and tweak a little bit about what came before,” Murphy said.

Note: The Sinquefield Trust explains how the programs came to be.

Related event

“City of Music”

  • When: 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, 2015; it will be repeated from 8 to 10 p.m. March 25, 2015
  • Where: The Nine Network, Channel 9
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.