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Billy Wolfe Brings Large Ensemble Jazz to Columbus

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by Andrew Patton on July 14, 2014

Tenor saxophonist, composer, arranger, and Capital grad Billy Wolfe returns to Columbus this week for two large ensemble performances. An Illinois native, Wolfe has been very active in the Washington, DC jazz scene in the last few years as the leader of his own Octet and Composers’ Tetradectet and as a regular member of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. He is now on the verge of exploring a new part of the country, as he is moving to Utah in the coming weeks. Before he does that, though, he has embarked on a three-week East Coast and Midwest tour presenting various groupings of his talented friends.

The tour arrives in town to play Brothers Drake on Friday, July 18th at 6pm, in the form of Billy Wolfe & The Composers’ Tetradectet, “a non-traditional 15 piece instrumental music ensemble that blends music from the classical, jazz, pop, and rock idioms. The group is dedicated to playing new compositions and arrangements from a variety of young writers from throughout the United States.” Its originals are mostly composed by members of the ensemble, and its covers range from Bach & Holst to Regina Spektor & Rage Against the Machine. The Tetradectet consists of 4 Woodwinds, Cello, 2 Trumpets, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Vibraphone, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Drums.

On Saturday, July 19th at Dicks Den, the Billy Wolfe Octet will share the bill with Joe Herrera’s Landscaping Crew. The Octet performs exclusively new works, once again mostly from members of the ensemble. Other than Wolfe and Los Angeles-based trumpeter Mike Gillespie, its remaining lineup is Columbus-based (many of whom are traveling on Wolfe’s tour): Alex Burgoyne (Saxophone/Compositions), Ryan Hamilton (Trombone), Patrick Overturf (Vibraphone), Aaron Quinn (Guitar/Compositions), Adam DeAscentis (Bass), and Seth Daily (Drums). Washington, DC composer/trumpeter Herrera’s group will include Wolfe, Quinn, and DeAscentis, along with DC’s Brad Linde on bass clarinet and NYC’s Deric Dickens on drums.

Both of these performances will provide excellent opportunities to see the performance and composition talents of young jazz musicians from both home and abroad in intimate atmospheres. These shows are two strong components of a great weekend for jazz in Columbus.

Here’s some video evidence of Wolfe’s composing/arranging/performing, from his 2011 masters recital at DePaul University:

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