Duo-A-GoGo at Ethel's on High

Bassist Ben Johnson, Insane Jazz Posse bandleader and member of a plethora of groups that cover many styles of music, has recently been trying his hand at a new sound and setting. Starting earlier this year, Johnson has led Duo-A-GoGo, a recurring Friday night jazz duo gig at Ethel’s on High, 1189 North High Street, a Short North bar connected to the revived Garden Theater. For each show, Johnson pairs up with a different local musician – so far he has played with pianist Danny Bauer and guitarists Brett Burleson and Aditya Jayanthi, and he is looking to expand the roster in the coming months. The material for the event is a variety of standards stretching from the ’20s to the ’60s (and sometimes beyond), and the set list is usually decided on the spot. When Johnson and I discussed the night last week, he told me that his goal is to use this good room to present great jazz music in an “intimate, not stuffy” setting. He has often observed that a cover charge tends to drive people away, so the event offers a no-cover, relaxed alternative where people can hang out with friends and enjoy good music, good drinks, and good company. He is also fighting the idea that “normal” people don’t enjoy jazz, or that jazz can’t be fun, so he encourages people to stop by, “drink heavily, and hoot and holler!” The next Duo-A-GoGo is Friday, June 26th, when guitarist Derek DiCenzo takes his first turn at the night. As always, music runs from 9-11pm and there is no cover charge. Early heads up – this looks like a great stop after (or instead of) a Friday night at Comfest. Stay tuned to our calendar for additional dates this summer – the night hopes to build into a weekly event in the near future.

Leave a Reply