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Summer Concerts: Huzzahs for early jazz and baseball

The St. Louis Perfectos play in Lafayette Park.
Jazz St. Louis website

The Jazz St. Louis series “Swingin’ for the Fences” is coming to an end with a presentation by Washington University Professor Gerald Early tonight and an old-time baseball game and concert Sunday.

Early’s talk, “Jazz & the Negro Leagues – A Story of Black Urbanization,” is a 6 p.m.  July 30 at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Ave. The lecture is free, but ticketsare required (and we fear they may be as scarce as the Cubs in the World Series).

Why is this important? As Early said in a PBS Ken Burns series on baseball,“There are only three things that America will be remembered for 2000 years from now when they study this civilization: The Constitution, jazz music and baseball. These are the three most beautiful things this culture's ever created.”

If you want to experience what baseball and jazz were like when both were young, come to Lafayette Park at 4 p.m. Aug. 2.

The St. Louis Perfectos and the Lafayette Square Cyclone Base Ball Club will square off in a game played under rules from the late 1800s. That will be followed by the Spats ‘n’ Flapper Speakeasy Orchestra. Vintage dress and dancing welcome – along with picnic hampers.

Weather could cancel the game but, in that case, the concert would move to the Lafayette Park United Methodist Church, at the corner of Lafayette and Missouri, and start at 6:30 p.m. These free events do not require tickets.

Careful followers of the St. Louis Cardinals, might have heard a reference to the Perfectos earlier this year.

As noted on the Viva el Birdos website, after a Cardinals victory over the Cubs brought the St. Louis record to 19 and 6, Fox Sports Midwest said it was the best start in franchise history. But it was actually "the best start since 1899."

According to Wikipedia, the 1899 St. Louis Perfectos had a great opening stretch, but faded to fifth. The team was under new ownership that year and the team colors were changed to red. The next year, the team’s name reflected the color: The Cardinals had arrived.

For other free music options check out the Big List.

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.