Dick's Den Residency: Wally Mitchel

Running strong since 2014, the Wednesday residency series at Dick’s Den roars into summer led by a living legend of Columbus jazz – “The East Side Kid,” drummer Wally Mitchel (photo by Brett Burleson). A longtime mainstay of the local jazz scene, Mitchel has played with many greats over the decades, including saxophonist Gene Walker. He remains active today with regular gigs under his own name, often at Dick’s, and he plays in the house band at the Saturday jazz jam at Lincoln Cafe. Mitchel will be playing with a variety of lineups over his five weeks of shows this month, shedding some light into the breadth and depth of his musicianship. Each week’s show will run from about 9pm to 1am, and cover is $4. Keep reading for details on each week’s show.

The series kicks off on Wednesday, June 1st with a performance by the Lincoln Cafe Jazz Jam House Band. Mitchel will be joined by guitarist Don Hales, keyboardist Ed Moed, and bassist Chris Ciampa. I had a great time when I saw the band jam in March – expect passionate takes on standards and more.

June 8th will see an organ trio of Mitchel, guitarist Brett Burleson, and organist Tony Bonardi take the stage. This expert trio should fill the air with plenty of soulful grooves.

A trio of some of Columbus’ finest veteran musicians will join forces on June 15th. Mitchel, guitarist Stan Smith, and bassist Roger Hines will surely put on a display of top-notch jazz with ample twists and turns.

The present lineup of the Wally Mitchel Quintet will perform on June 22nd. The band includes Matt Paetsch on bass, Tony Bonardi on keyboards, and Matt Adams and Mark Donavan on saxophones. Look for a lively mix of later standards and originals.

The residency wraps up on June 29th with a Wally Mitchel jam session. Jazz musicians of Columbus and beyond have been invited to create an all-star extravaganza. The house band brings back Paetsch, Bonardi, and Burleson to the stage to support a night of creativity and new collaborations.

Stop by Dick’s Den on a June Wednesday for some top-notch live jazz! Here’s some vintage footage of Mitchel in action with Gene Walker and a host of great Columbus musicians:

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