JazzColumbus Weekly – August 6, 2015

I had a great Jazz Night Out when I saw the Tony Monaco Trio play Rumba Cafe on Thursday, July 30th. It had been a few years since I had seen the local and international organ titan in action, so I’m glad to have gotten the chance to catch a set. He was joined on the gig by longtime collaborator Louis Tsamous on drums and Tim Cummiskey on guitar, and this trio was well-suited for nuanced, soulful organ jazz. While most of the material in the set was relatively restrained, the tunes often ascended to dramatic peaks led by Monaco’s burning solos. His thick swells of sound on “The Good Life,” played in honor of organ legend Don Patterson’s recent birthday, wrenched every ounce of emotion out of the lovely ballad. Cummiskey and Tsamous were also in fine form, with the former dropping a highly technical yet swinging solo on “Recordame,” and the latter pounding out some heavy breaks on set closer “Tenor Madness.” It was wonderful to hear Monaco at the Rumba again – he will be back at the bar with a trio for a show on Sunday, September 6th at 8pm as part of the venue’s 9th anniversary, so mark your calendars now!

Shows To See This Week

Thursday, August 6th (6 – 9pm): Mark Lomax Trio at Mayme Moore Park, King Arts Complex. In a late substitution, drummer, composer and educator Lomax will be joined by tenor saxophonist Eddie Bayard and pianist William Menefield for this installment of the 17th annual Heritage Concert Series. The performance honors the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the trio will mark the occasion by premiering Lomax’s new composition “Blues People And The Quest For Human Rights.” Lomax notes that “This seven movement piece incorporates themes from recognizable Negro Spirituals and free improvisation to tell the story of an ongoing struggle for human rights in Amerikkka.” This free outdoor concert will be a great chance to enjoy some enriching, socially conscious live jazz.

Friday, August 7th (5:30 – 7:30pm): Mark Rubinstein Trio at Brewer’s Yard Kroger Tap Room. Pianist Rubinstein, with bassist Chris Berg and drummer Aaron Scott, will put on a swinging performance to kick off another month of happy hour shows at this bar located in the Brewery District Kroger. Rubinstein, the Audio Engineer for the School of Music at The Ohio State University, has played with many greats over his career, including Herbie Mann, Eddie Gomez, and Bunky Green, and has been picking up more local gigs of late. The remainder of the August schedule at the Tap Room includes trios led by Brett Burleson, Dave DeWitt, and Stan Smith, so make a point to stop by if you’re in the area and need to get your weekend started.

Sunday, August 9th (8pm – 12am): Jason Branscum at Dick’s Den. Trombonist and composer Branscum recently moved to Cincinnati, but is fortunately remaining active in the Columbus jazz scene. For this special early Sunday show, he will present a quartet that includes Eddie Bayard on tenor sax, Derek DiCenzo on bass, and James Gaiters on drums. This veritable super group will mostly be playing highly improvised standards. As Branscum told me, “We’ll be playing aggressive, empathetic, straight-ahead jazz.” Should be a barn burner that will end your weekend on the right note.

Have a great week! Here is DiCenzo in action with his trio from the latest Mug and Brush Session:

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