I had a great Jazz Night Out when I saw The Ohio State University Jazz Ensemble perform at Weigel Hall on Thursday, March 31st, as part of OSU’s 39th Annual Jazz Festival. Entitled “From bebop to tango, and beyond,” the concert showcased the talented young musicians in a program that explored the “reciprocal relationship” between jazz and world music, as explained by director Kris Keith. The striking opening cacophony of Alan Baylock’s arrangement of “Caravan” was an attention-grabbing entrance before the tune moved to more traditional waters, with a colorful painting of the melody and a cooking solo from tenor saxophonist Jon Weisbrot. “Donna Lee,” a Charlie Parker tune which has been examined very closely in the jazz world in the last year or so, found the trombone section soaring out front in multiple passages, including a solo trading session between section veterans Elaine Mylius and Ben Crowder.
The first half ended with two tunes at least co-written by Pat Metheny, with the thrillingly percussive “First Circle” a particular highlight, featuring quick tempo changes and a Colin Wood soprano sax solo that setup a roiling finale! I had to leave soon into the second half, but did get to see the world premiere performance of Wood’s arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave.” His rendering was playfully inventive while staying true to the original summery spirit, with special guest accordionist Mark Rubinstein leading the way, a funky low piano part for David Swank, and some zesty solo work from drummer Joe Amadio. This performance was a great display of the skill and education in the works in the OSU jazz department.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, April 8th (9pm – 1am): A Night of Bowie at Dick’s Den. In an event similar to his now-traditional Halloween benefit shows, bassist Matt Paetsch has assembled an all-star cast to pay tribute to the recently departed “Ziggy Stardust,” David Bowie. For the first set, the house band of Paetsch, Brett Burleson (guitar), Jimmy Castoe (drums), and Danny Bauer (piano) will play instrumental jazz versions of Bowie classics. The final two sets will bring ~14 local vocalists to the stage to each perform two (relatively?) faithful Bowie covers. Special guests Paul Brown (guitar) and Nicole Rachelle (saxophone) will also contribute to the festivities. The $5 suggested donation will benefit the St. Jude Children Research Hospital – the full details are available here.
Sunday, April 10th (8pm – 10pm): Matuto at Natalie’s. This US-based outfit are purveyors of a style they call “Brazilian Bluegrass.” Their unique instrumentation – accordion, guitar, bass, drums, cavaquinho, zabumba, and triangle – works together to meld “the syncopations of Brazilian music and the folk traditions of the American South,” with plenty of other classic American styles in the mix. While this meeting of genres isn’t an obvious one, it seems to work well on the dance floor. Tickets are available here.
Wednesday, April 13th (8pm – 11pm): Rorschach Trio at Brothers Drake. This Jazz Wednesday appearance will be the last for the foreseeable future for bandleader and woodwind expert (and recent JazzColumbus contributor) Brian Lang. Lang has accepted a position in the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra and will begin touring North America and the world with the band later this month. Come see him off at this free show which will feature Dean Marcellana on keyboards, Ryan Jewell on drums, and the band’s inventive arrangements of all kinds of popular song. Good luck Brian!
Have a great week! Here’s Matuto in action: