Rick Sanford and I had a wonderful Jazz Road Trip when we saw the afternoon portion of the 2nd annual Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival in Akron on Saturday the 26th. Among a handful of fun sets were two favorites at Blu Jazz+. The Sam Blakeslee Quintet celebrated the pre-release of its debut album Selective Coverage with a thrilling early afternoon set. Trombonist, Columbus native and new NYC resident Blakeslee led a quintet that included Cincinnati guitarist Brandon Coleman through a dramatic and dynamic set of album tunes and more that excelled in spotlighting and blending Blakeslee and Coleman’s voices, with additional shading from vibraphonist William Wedmedyk, in a striking fashion. The album drops on October 1st – stay tuned here for a review! Ending our day was saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio’s Red Rhinoceros octet reviving his 90’s era project and its tunes with rousing success. Starting with the popping rhythm of the Dave Holland-inspired “Meltdown,” the material had 90’s NYC attitude to spare, brought to modern life by an all-star cast of Northeast Ohio greats. The festival was a great time in a very supportive downtown setting – looking forward to this new tradition continuing for years to come!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, September 1st (5 – 8pm): SCAT Long Street Project 1st Friday Happy Hour: Tribute to Rusty Bryant at Lincoln Cafe. Kick off your holiday weekend by helping to start the second year of this monthly gathering of some of the city’s finest musicians. LSP returns to paying homage to jazz greats by honoring legendary Columbus saxophonist Bryant. Ably filling the tenor saxophone chair will be Eddie Bayard, and trumpeter Lee Savory will also be featured. The LSP band will include James “Smooth” Elliot on drums, Steve “Paco” Grier on percussion, Melvin Stewart on bass, and guest appearances are likely! A donation of $10 is requested for great jazz and much more.
Sunday, September 3rd (8 – 11pm): Wally Mitchel Jazztet at Dick’s Den. Labor Day weekend seems like a great time to check out this high-powered weekly event led by “The Eastside Kid,” drummer Wally Mitchel. This relaxed affair promises two sets of top-notch jazz for no cover, and the night’s rotating lineup means you will likely see some combination of bassist Matt Paetsch, saxophonists Matt Adams or Mark Donavan, keyboardist Tony Bonardi, or guitarist Brett Burleson on the bandstand with Wally. The band recently recorded a Mug & Brush session – see the exciting results below!
Wednesday, September 6th (7 – 9:30pm): OSU Jazz Jam at Subway, OSU campus. While perhaps an unexpected setting for a jazz jam, the campus location (High Street and 17th Avenue) of the sub restaurant chain will serve as the backdrop for the OSU jazz department’s weekly jam session for the second year in a row when it starts for the new school year on Wednesday. Organized by Anthony Stanco, Lecturer of Jazz Studies and Jazz Trumpet instructor, the first set will be played by the house band and the second set is open to students and the general public who want to jam. See young jazz talent develop before your eyes! No cover.
Have a great week! Check out the Wally Mitchel Jazztet in action as part of the excellent Mug & Brush video series: