JazzColumbus Weekly – August 25, 2016

I had a fantastic Jazz Night Out when I saw the Mark Lomax Septet play the Garden Theatre on Wednesday the 17th. The concert marked the premiere of Dr. Lomax’s new composition Blues In August, created in conjunction with the Short North Stage’s August Wilson festival. A celebrated composer orchestrating the meeting of an intimately acquainted jazz trio and an accomplished string quartet set the stage for endless possibilities, and the resulting collaboration realized an exciting sonic universe. Lomax opened the first movement with a mallet solo on the drum set where he brought spiritual melodies to life, and saxophonist Eddie Bayard later played a soulful solo that combined with the string section’s accompaniment for a stirring passage.

It was great to see bassist Dean Hulett back in town from San Diego, as his playing was broad, passionate, and often humorous, especially when trading bars with Lomax before the drummer performed his own comedic act of “clumsy” drumstick handling. Violinist Andy Carlson’s leading role in gypsy jazz outfit SpeakEasy shone through in several places, especially on a rootsy swinging solo of his own. The hour-long suite had plentiful thrilling moments, but my personal favorite was likely the string quartet plucking their instruments in the final movement, creating an ethereal “raindrop” effect while Bayard conjured a deep, dark sky with his artful blowing. This was a performance not to be missed. Lomax christened the group the “Urban Art Ensemble” after the concert – hopefully the septet returns to a local stage soon!

Shows To See This Week

Friday, August 26th (7:30 – 10pm): Rhythm On The River: New Basics Brass Band at Bicentennial Park. The last jazz performance on the 2016 Rhythm On The River schedule was originally to be headlined by the legendary Buckwheat Zydeco, but their appearance has been canceled as bandleader Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. is home recuperating from surgery. Get well soon Buckwheat! Therefore, Columbus’ long-running New Orleans-styled party band is taking the lead for a full night of outdoor fun. Come down to the Scioto Mile for a mix of originals and funky classics that the whole family will enjoy. Admission is free! And if you can’t make it down downtown, New Basics plays again Saturday at 8pm at Clintonville watering hole India Oak Bar and Grill for a more intimate evening of entertainment.

Saturday, August 27th (9pm – midnight): NexLevel at The King Room. This installment of the weekly Saturday night jazz show at this new downtown hot spot features Columbus-based quartet NexLevel, a band whose roots go back to guitarist Mark Jackson and keyboardist Jesse Thompson playing a nephew’s birthday in 2000. The band has evolved over the years, and today’s lineup blends urban jazz and smooth funk with a taste of classic 1970s fusion artists like George Duke and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Get ready for a diverse, high energy setlist that will please a variety of jazz fans. Cover is $10.

Sunday, August 28th (6 – 8pm): Bobby Floyd Trio featuring Vaughn Wiester at Notes. The trio’s weekly showcase features legendary bandleader and trombonist Wiester sitting in for the first set before the stage opens for a jam session on the second set. With Floyd on piano, Derek DiCenzo on bass, and Reggie Jackson on drums, this one-time quartet will surely put an exciting spin on standards of all makes and models. Advance tickets are recommended and available here.

Have a great week! Here’s a YouTube sampling of artists you can see this week:

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