Dick's Den Residency: Ron Hope

(Photo by Jim Tussing) The Dick’s Den Wednesday Residency program roars into September by featuring percussionist Ron Hope. Hope has been a cornerstone of the local jazz (and beyond) community for decades at this point, and has played with with many greats, including Bobby Floyd, Arnett Howard, Umar Bin Hassan, and Foley, as well as numerous current acts that he will highlight this month. Hope told me that he sees his music as a type of outreach these days: “I’ve been a musician around town for many, many years. I’m 56 years old. I got really sick 5-6 years ago and lost my kidneys. Music is now like a ministry for me, to give hope to people who feel like they’re hopeless. That’s what I’m doing for myself and for everyone else who wants to listen.” The lineup of performances that Hope has booked will certainly assist in his mission – keep reading for descriptions of each week’s show. Music will start around 10pm each week, and cover is $4.

The residency kicks off on Wednesday, September 2nd with Hope’s band Keeping HOPE Alive, which is an old school R&B band with an inspirational focus. The band lineup includes Vern Seay on lead guitar and vocals, Steve Perakis on bass, Andre Scott on drums, and Larry Davis on rhythm guitar.

The show on September 9th will feature NYC-based drummer Peter Retzlaff as a special guest. A Columbus native and Capital alum, Retzlaff is a full-time instructor and Director of Curriculum at The Collective School of Music in New York, and has played with numerous greats including Kenny Werner, Maynard Ferguson, Diane Schuur, and Greg Osby. Also in the band for the evening is Stan Smith on guitar, Adam Smith on keyboards and guitar, and Steve Perakis on bass. The program will include some of Stan Smith’s originals as well as some Brazilian tunes. Hope told me to expect the unexpected with Stan involved: “Never can tell with Stan, but it’s always great music.”

The band for September 16th is the long-running Latin jazz band Yumbambe. Led by percussionist Eric Paton, this performance will also entail Steve Perakis on bass, Tony Bonardi on keyboards, Shane Willis on drums, Ryan Hamilton on trombone, Kevin O’Neill on saxophones and flute, Tim Perdue on trumpet, and Maria Duque on lead vocals, along with the likelihood of additional guests. Yumbambe does not make many appearances these days, so this will be a rare treat.

September 23rd brings Descendre to the stage. Led by multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitars, and more) Adam Smith, the band also includes Jim Tussing on bass and Justin Campbell on drums, with guest appearances likely. Descendre’s classic soundtrack-influenced jazz fusion always takes on a life of its own in the live setting, and Hope’s percussion will surely aid the sonic adventure.

For the residency’s September 30th finale, Hope will bring back Keeping HOPE Alive, but with a special twist. The music for the evening will include some of Hope’s new original compositions. Saying he’s been “bit by the alternative bug,” Hope is looking to express himself artistically in new ways, so this should be quite the experience for all involved.

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