After some great jazz shows in April and May, the Dick’s Den Wednesday residency series winds down Spring and roars into summer with a June program led by bassist John Allen. Freshly graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Jazz Studies/Performance-Double Bass, Allen’s future looks very bright. He is active in many groups around town, including leading his own and playing with local greats including Ryan Jewell, Alex Burgoyne, Zakk Jones, Robert Mason, and many more (including a few detailed below). Allen was very kind to give me lineups of and insights into each week of the residency, revealing a schedule rich in jazz skill and variety. Shows start at 10pm each week, except for a 9pm start on the 17th, and the cover is $4. Keep reading for his rundown along with recordings from his senior recital, including previews of some of the groups involved this month:
John Allen: “I am very excited to share a number of the groups that I love to play with including some that don’t perform often. I have gathered groups comprised of some of the busiest and most diverse talents in the area; I will also present a new Quintet that will showcase original arrangements of classic Blue Note era quintet recordings (think Horace Silver or Blakey and the Jazz Messengers).
First up (on Wednesday, June 3rd) will be my trio featuring Lucas Holmes on piano and Maxwell Button on drums. These guys are some of the best listeners and creative players in Columbus in my opinion. I love playing with them in a supportive or soloist capacity. This show will be a tribute of sorts to one of our favorite Trio recordings entitled The Oracle that was recorded by Dave Holland, Hank Jones, and Billy Higgins. Each of us have deeply studied these players and I am excited to tackle these songs. We will also play originals!
For the second week (June 10th) I am excited to bring Dennis Hodges (guitar) and Ryan Jewell (drums) to perform as the Dennis Hodges Trio. We first played together for the first time about a year ago as a trio for a live video broadcast on YouTube that Dennis and his wife, Kate, hosted from their home. It was such a joy to play Dennis’ imaginative arrangements of 80’s video game music, to 90’s grunge and singer-songwriter fare, to Classical violin etudes arranged for the guitar trio format. This is an eclectic repertoire that will range from Nintendo composer Koji Kondo to Radiohead to Dennis Hodges’ originals!
The third week (June 17th) I will bring one of my favorite singers in with her band, The Liz Woolley Band. We have a Youtube series filmed in Becky Ogden’s Bungalow Jazz House and a second album in the plans so expect new music (something we make an effort to bring to every show!), great playing, swinging standards and a large repertoire of Liz’ compositions! This show will feature Liz Woolley (compositions and vocals), Dennis Hodges (guitar), Dylan Bram (vibraphone), John Philip Allen (bass), and Brian Ellerman (drums).
The final Wednesday of the month of June (June 24th) will feature a new quintet that I have put together to showcase my own originals more firmly entrenched in the classic swing/ hardbop and be-bop schools with contemporary influences. This concert will be split between covers of Jazz Messengers, classic jazz repertoire, and original compositions and arrangements from members of the band. The band is: Wesley Perry (alto and tenor saxophones), Aroh Pandit (trumpet), Danny Bauer (piano), John Philip Allen (bass), and Brian Ellerman (drums).
I am very excited to be the youngest musician in Columbus to get a residency at Dick’s Den and I am not taking the opportunity lightly! It’s gonna swing and do some other stuff too.”