The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus is ready to return to the stage of the Lincoln Theatre with another stellar season of its Inside Track series featuring gospel singer Nia Allen; Dave Douglas and his electronic sextet Keystone; blues guitarist Chris Thomas King; and a retrospective of the cool jazz movement.
Kicking off the series, Columbus Jazz Orchestra’s Artistic Director Byron Stripling leads a gospel-themed show entitled “The Gospel According to Swing,” featuring the soulful voice of Nia Allen and the keyboard wizardry of Bobby Floyd. The daughter of Milton and Merlyn Ruffin, Nia Allen grew up in a strong musical and faith-based family. In addition to a gospel singer, Allen is also a songwriter, teacher, and minister. She wrote most of the material on her debut project, A New Thing and her upcoming sophomore release, Here Am I.
Two-time Grammy-nominated jazz musician Dave Douglas is arguably the most prolific and original trumpeter-composer of his generation. From his New York base, Douglas has continued to earn lavish national and international acclaim including prizes from such organizations as the New York Jazz Awards, Down Beat, JazzTimes, Jazziz, and the Italian Jazz Critics Society. His solo recording career began in 1993 with Parallel Worlds on Soul Note Records, and he has since released more than 30 recordings. This year brings a new collection of work with his electronic sextet Keystone entitled, Spark of Being, a retelling of the Frankenstein myth in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Bill Morrison. On the 100th anniversary of the first Frankenstein film, Dave Douglas and experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison unveiled their multimedia collaboration, Spark of Being, at Stanford University. On film, it stands as a reinterpretation of that Frankenstein myth using new, archival, and distressed footage. The themes, penned by Douglas for his Grammy-nominated band Keystone, integrate electronics seamlessly into the improvised music, piecing sounds and movement together to make three strikingly different creatures.
Initially known for his audacious fusion of blues and hip-hop, Chris Thomas King reached a whole new audience starring in and scoring music for the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, not only appearing on the award-winning soundtrack, but establishing himself as a serious dramatic actor as well. King has continued to act in and score motion pictures including the Oscar winning Ray. King has also written and recorded more than 150 songs that are in demand for license to motion pictures, documentaries and television programs. The new album Sketches of Treme, is Chris Thomas King’s first full-length studio album since the release of the Handy nominated Rise, in 2006. The concert will feature these new songs as well as fan favorites including songs from the movies Ray and O Brother.
As jazz’s bebop movement flourished during the late 1940s with its fast-paced rhythms from virtuosos like trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Miles Davis headed off in a new direction. Taking cues from the innovations learned in Parker’s group, Davis, along with his nonet, recorded 12 songs in a two-year span that, when released together on one album, became known as Birth of the Cool. JAG’s interpretation of Birth of the Cool will be a recreation of the iconic 1949-50 Miles Davis recording sessions and a retrospective of mid-century art, design, and music. This is a multimedia event in collaboration with and narration by Denny Griffith, president of the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), and will feature visual elements, including period furniture, on stage. The performance will include local musician Mark Flugge as musical director and will feature the great Jim Powell on trumpet.
Showtime is 8:00 p.m. for all concerts. Nia Allen, Dave Douglas, and Chris Thomas King will also conduct accompanying workshops at the Jazz Academy prior to their performances.
Tickets are on sale now for $25 (orchestra) and $30 (loge) and available by phone at 614-469-0939 and through all Ticketmaster outlets. Call 614-294-5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org for more information.