Before details on anniversaries and traditions in the local jazz scene this week (don’t forget about the milestone at Natalie’s!), I want to share thoughts on a wonderful Jazz Night Out I had on Friday, July 28th, including seeing Team Players and Liver Quiver for a happy hour show at Brothers Drake. Reprising an element of a previous show together a few years ago, the first set found the seven performers from the two bands pair with every other performer for improvised two-minute duets, resulting in some interesting free moments and appealing interplay. Washington, DC’s Team Players played a full set next, sharing tunes from their sports-themed collection of albums, both released and not-yet-released. Their mission to mix traditional jazz foundations with free improvisation and avant garde sounds can be a lot to take in, but the mix of elements meant that something different was always around the corner, and leader Brad Linde’s offbeat humor between songs was a dependable theme. Out of a set replete with interesting bits and pieces, the duet passages from tenor saxophonists Linde and Billy Wolfe were perhaps most memorable for me, swinging together in a flash and swinging out again into chaos.
Liver Quiver finished the show in its subtle fashion, with subdued improvisations giving way to introspective melodies. Guitarist Quinn again contributed picturesque tunes and lines, like on almost-namesake “Liver Giver,” which gently ambled through peaks and valleys to reveal hidden charms. With the finesse of saxophonist Alex Burgoyne and artful consistency of drummer Seth Daily, it’s a shame the group can’t play together more often.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, August 4th (5 – 8pm): SCAT Long Street Project 1st Friday Happy Hour: 1st Anniversary Celebration at Lincoln Cafe. For a year now, Columbus jazz community organization SCAT Experience the Avenue, dedicated to “Renewing the East Side’s Rich Jazz Legacy,” has hosted monthly happy hour performances at this coffee shop and weekend jazz hot spot in the heart of King-Lincoln Bronzeville. These events bring together excellent musicians, great food, and friendly conversation, and have included tributes to jazz greats like Horace Silver, Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, and the Jazz Crusaders. This month’s show will feature James “Smooth” Elliot on drums, Ed Moed on keyboards, Mike Roberts on saxophone, and Melvin Stewart on bass. A $10 donation is requested for admission.
Friday, August 4th (8pm – midnight): First Anniversary Celebration Kickoff featuring Urban Jazz Coalition at The Idle-A-While House Restaurant. This East Side destination for great live music, American cuisine, and top-shelf cocktails is celebrating its first year in business. This week-long party will start with Columbus’ own smooth jazz superheroes celebrating their 22nd year of world-renowned funky grooves. As always, there is no cover charge, but reservations are moving fast for this popular event – reserve your seats here. And keep coming back for more great anniversary events, including saxophonist Michael Kahn for smooth jazz brunch on Sunday at 2pm, fusion powerhouse Safety Squad on Wednesday at 7pm, smooth jazz and R&B purveyors Hosea’s State of Mind on Thursday at 7pm, and a community Anniversary Party (reservations here) starting at 5pm Saturday, August 12th, with house band Rhythmic Fusion blending jazz, funk and R&B for a dance party at 8pm.
Saturday, August 5th (9pm – midnight): The Liz Woolley Band and the Emily Syring Band – 7th Annual National Mead Day at Brothers Drake. While recognized as one of Columbus’ finest small venues, Brothers Drake Meadery’s bread and butter is their delicious mead, and this annual event celebrates everything MEAD starting at 11am. Of course, music is a big factor in the event, with several afternoon sets leading into a dream pairing of the area’s best young jazz-pop ensembles. Up first is the Emily Syring Band, coming off high profile area festival appearances with their own mix of jazz, R&B and neo-soul jams. Ending the night is the Liz Woolley Band, whose newly released album Something I Can Feel is one of my Columbus favorites of 2017. Cover for the show is $5, but there is no cover for daytime festivities.
Have a great week!