First up this week is a housekeeping item. While there won’t be much of a visible change in the near-term, JazzColumbus will be undergoing some behind-the-scenes work this month. While this work will hopefully not impact readers’ ability to visit the site, outages are certainly possible. If the website becomes inaccessible, it should not be for an extended period of time, and we will work to make sure any outages are as short as possible. More details to come when this work is complete – thanks, as always, for your support! In other news, April is Jazz Appreciation Month and Gateway Film Center is offering a great movie to help you celebrate. I Called Him Morgan, a 2016 documentary by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin (My Name Is Albert Ayler), is a biographical tribute to legendary trumpeter Lee Morgan and offers a glimpse into hard-bop era New York City. Learn more about the artist and his doomed relationship with his wife Helen. Gateway will present two matinee showings daily starting Friday – click here for showtimes and more info.
A Jazz Night Out
I had a wonderful time with friends at the kickoff to the Spring 2017 jazz season at the Wexner Center when we saw the late show of Still Dreaming on March 29th. The world-class quartet of tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, drummer Brian Blade, bassist Scott Colley, and trumpeter Ron Miles thrilled two sold-out audiences with their tribute to Redman’s father Dewey’s Old and New Dreams band of Ornette Coleman band alumni. It’s material that I unfortunately don’t know very well (yet), but was amazed by the music’s warm and inviting melodies that could shift to improvisational bliss instantly. A personal highlight was the band’s take on Don Cherry’s “Mopti,” opening with a verbal passage from Redman that blossomed into a gently rumbling African groove powered by Colley and Blade that supported the horns alternately trading melodies and harmonizing. Colley then unleashed a magnificently powerful solo with huge, climactic lines and stops that played with the rhythm gracefully. Amazing stuff! Joshua Redman’s “Unanimity” followed with lively blowing by Redman and Miles and a crackling finale. Before a well-deserved encore, Coleman’s “When Will The Blues Leave” featured breathtaking solos by the ensemble, with especially fiery statements by Blade. This was a high-powered tribute offered by masters at the top of their game – an excellent start to an exciting spring slate at the Wex!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, April 7th (5 – 8pm): SCAT Long Street Project 1st Friday Happy Hour at Lincoln Cafe. While the cafe plays host to a lively weekly jam on Saturdays, their schedule also includes this monthly happy hour performance presented by local jazz education organization SCAT Experience the Avenue. The event returns this week with a special tribute to the Jazz Crusaders, the 1960s soulful hard-bop outfit that developed into 1970s fusion powerhouse The Crusaders. This month’s band will include James “Smooth” Elliot, Steve “Paco” Grier, Vernon Hairston, Mike Roberts, Melvin Stewart and Roger Parish. A $10 donation is encouraged for admission.
Friday, April 7th (7:30 – 10pm): Joe Hunter Trio at Bungalow Jazz. Becky Ogden’s renowned bungalow hosts a “Spring Is Here” concert by a trio of regular performers at the venue. Cleveland pianist Hunter returns to Columbus, where he performed in several great bands including one of legendary saxophonist Joe Diamond’s early rhythm sections with bassist Roger Hines and drummer Joe Ong. Hunter’s trio Friday will reunite him with Hines and fellow longtime collaborator Aaron Scott on drums. Expect an evening of warm and lively standards and sublime musicianship. As always at the Bungalow, the suggested donation of $20 goes entirely to the musicians.
Saturday, April 8th (3 – 6pm): Second Saturdays with Sonikora featuring Stephan Haluska at The Vanderelli Room, Franklinton. Gerard Cox’s monthly series of relaxed shows focused on improvisation and helmed by experimental groove trio Sonikora returns with another intriguing lineup. This month’s featured guest is harpist Stephan Haluska, a veteran of the annual Whatyouwill festival. His background on the harp includes jazz, classical, and experimental music, and for this show he will be playing a set of structured improvised pieces that he’s been working on recently. Haluska will also have the chance to perform with Sonikora. Multi-instrumentalist Chris Weldon will open the show with a solo set of layered spontaneous compositions featuring a broad range of sound and textures. Admission is on a sliding scale of $5 to $10.
Have a great week! Prepare with a trailer for I Called Him Morgan and videos from the featured artists: