JazzColumbus Weekly – August 13, 2015

I had a fun Jazz Night Out when I saw the quartet led by trombonist Jason Branscum at Dick’s Den on Sunday the 9th. Branscum was joined by a hard-to-match band of tenor saxophonist Eddie Bayard, bassist Derek DiCenzo, and drummer James Gaiters, who was playing with Branscum for the first time. I arrived to hear the band’s festive uptempo take on “What Is This Thing Called Love,” which set the theme of swinging jazz and unbridled improvisation. Charlie Parker’s “Anthropology” was blistering, with a great Branscum solo highlighted by staccato blasts leading into a whirlwind marathon solo from Bayard. The band shifted gears for “Serenade To A Cuckoo,” well-timed for Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s birthday on Friday the 5th, and Bayard changed up accordingly, but kept on blowing over the rambling blues. The set finale was “Pop-Pop,” a tune by Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson that Gaiters recorded on his first album with his MUV-MeNT group. Not sure how I forgot about this tune, because the catchy, slightly mysterious tune was stuck in my head for a few days, and Gaiters’ fiery solo was a great way to head into a break. It was great to see a rare meeting of so many local all-stars – hopefully they do it again someday!

Shows To See This Week

Thursday, August 13th (5:30 – 8:30pm): Somos Uno at Mayme Moore Park, King Arts Complex. The second half of the 2015 Heritage Concert Series schedule continues its hot streak with this Dayton-Columbus Latin jazz connection. The band is led by percussionist Steve “Paco” Grier, whose decades-long career includes playing with local acts like FYI Quintet and Mark Lomax’s Blacklist, touring with Monty Alexander in 1991, and sharing the stage with artists such as Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, and Freddie Hubbard. The band’s lineup also includes Dayton musicians Keigo Hirakawa (piano) and Eddie Brookshire (bass), both of whom I loved hearing at this year’s Jazz & Rib Fest, and local talents Eddie Bayard (tenor sax) and Jerry Powell (drums). Grier told me that the evening’s program will be “essentially Latin Afro-Cuban with somewhat of a jazz mix, commemorating the normalization of relations with Cuba.” This will be another great performance for jazz fans and their families in a relaxed park setting.

Friday, August 14th (7:30 – 11pm): Maceo Parker and the HooDoo Soul Band at Bicentennial Park. The diverse Rhythm on the River 2015 season veers back toward jazz in a major way by welcoming a true building block of American popular music. Parker’s peerless resume includes being the primary saxophonist (playing alto, tenor and baritone saxophones) and a prominent soloist for most of James Brown’s 1960s hits, and having a key role in Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s. His influence and imprint is hard to miss in all soulful shades of American music, and has continued to contribute to jazz and soul by recording and touring under his own name since the 1990s. Parker and his band will touch on a mix of funk, soul, and jazz of multiple eras, so there will be something for all to enjoy. Opening up this soulful melting pot is Columbus’ own HooDoo Soul Band, a supergroup of some of the best local musicians who have been playing funk, R&B, and soul since 1995.

Sunday, August 16th (10pm – 2am): Turtle Boat Trio at Dick’s Den. After starting out early this year as a sextet, guitarist Aditya Jayanthi has recently been exploring a trio lineup in this project founded in dedication to drummer Paul Motian and the Electric Bebop Band. On Sunday, he will be joined by saxophonist Alex Burgoyne and drummer Ryan Jewell, who are both well-suited to play this subtle, intricate songbook. Jayanthi says the night’s tunes will include “original music, music of Paul Motian, music from distant places and more,” so be prepared for a Sunday night adventure.

Have a great week! Below are live recordings from a recent Turtle Boat show (with a different trio lineup), as well as proof that Maceo Parker is still a thrilling performer in 2015:

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