It’s mid-December and live holiday jazz is still going strong in Central Ohio! For jazz fun for children (and their parents), JAG presents its last PBJ & Jazz concerts of 2016 with two performances by the Jazz Daddies with Mary McClendon entitled “Songs of the Season” on Saturday, December 17th at 10am & 11:30am in the Lincoln Theatre ballroom. Later that evening, all-star multi-instrumentalist Derek DiCenzo leads a band at Dick’s Den for a special Christmas-themed performance around 10pm. On Sunday the 18th at noon, DiCenzo is immediately back in action with his TRio (Dave DeWitt on bass and Aaron Scott on drums) for a Holiday-themed installment of their monthly Jazz Brunch at Natalie’s. At 2pm, the Bexley Public Library will host a new live-streaming Big Band Holiday Concert from Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The last Bobby Floyd Showcase of the year will find Floyd leading an organ trio, with guest Kevin Turner on guitar and Reggie Jackson on drums, in a show of “Holiday Favorites” at Notes at 6pm. And at 8pm vocalist Shawna Corder and her band of jazz veterans offer a “Christmas Tribute to Eva Cassidy” at Natalie’s.
On Monday the 19th at 9pm, the Tony Monaco Trio (with DiCenzo and Louis Tsamous) makes its monthly stop at Woodlands Tavern in Grandview, this time for its “Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.” On Wednesday the 21st at 7pm, the third concert in the Vegan Soul Jazz series at Long Street Studios (300 E. Long St.) will pair a vegan holiday feast with soulful holiday jazz by Soul Derivative – click here for tickets and more info. For seasonal songs in a different light, saxophonist Alex Burgoyne’s Free Jazz Hit Parade hits Jazz Wednesday at Brothers Drake at 8pm to add free jazz takes on holiday tunes to their repertoire, like “Rahsaan Roland Kirk-inspired things…also maybe some less-than-tonal Christmas favorites.” Finally, the Rick Brunetto Big Band weekly gig at the 94th Aero Squadron on Thursday the 22nd at 7:30pm will be its Christmas Show, with the band being fronted by all three of its vocalists: Michael Phillips, Tia Harris, and Jeremy Lahman.
A Jazzy Night Out
I had a wonderful time when Rick Sanford and I went to see Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at Woodlands Tavern on Wednesday the 7th. We didn’t catch much of up-and-coming soul band Southern Avenue’s opening set, but they were a soulful powerhouse that I hope to see again on a Columbus stage soon. Saxophonist Denson, a legend in jazz-jam circles who is currently serving as the saxophonist for the Rolling Stones, brought a high-powered band to the stage, highlighted by drummer Alan Evans (Soulive, Alan Evans Trio). Nearing the end of the first leg of the “Runnin’ With The Diesel” tour, the band was a well-oiled unit that put on an amazing show. The setlist was a mix of instrumental originals, crate digger classics, and inventive covers of popular tunes from sometimes surprising sources. Personal favorites included a funky Americana-slanted take on a ZZ Top tune, a dance-ready version of soul hit “My Baby Likes To Boogaloo,” complete with synchronized dance steps from the front line and a heavy Denson flute solo, and a jammed out “Show Biz Kids” by Steely Dan. Denson was in fine form, whether singing or playing his arsenal of instruments, and I was also struck by the technique of guitarist DJ Williams. The KDTU live show felt like the best of the soulful realms of American popular music mashed together, culminating in another great jazz-funk jam show from the folks at Woodlands Productions.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, December 16th (9pm – 1am): Safety Squad at Brothers Drake. This local modern fusion juggernaut is reuniting for this special show. Keyboardist and leader Danny Bauer is visiting Columbus while on break from the University of North Texas, so they are getting together for their first appearance since Bauer left town. Cover is $5. As Bauer told me:
This is a reunion show so the guys are all very hyped about it. I am working on a few new songs so people who come can expect to see some old favorites, both from the album and the Snarky Puppy repertoire, as well as at least 1 new tune.
Friday, December 16th (10pm – midnight): Eargasm Presents: Ladies of JAZZ at Lincoln Cafe. Singer Roxie Wolfe’s Eargasm series at this Near East Side haunt (formerly Zanzibar Brews) delves into a range of soul and R&B material, but for this month she has assembled a stellar lineup of local luminaries to celebrate the leading ladies of jazz. The ensemble includes the following musicians playing the part of stars of yesteryear: Wolfe as Billie Holiday, Ella Starr as Ella Fitzgerald, Adrianne Glass as Sarah Vaughan, Bjazz as “Piano Man,” Rob Riley as Elvin Jones, Mike Ealy as Ray Brown, Kimistry Maestro as Louis Armstrong, and Dre P as Cab Calloway will serve as host. This looks to be a soulful blockbuster! Doors open at 9pm, and cover is $10.
Thursday, December 22nd (6:30pm – 9:30pm): Tom Carroll and Mary McClendon at Sidebar. Richard Lopez has been leading Thursday night shows here with a rotation of great jazz duos for most of 2016, but as he will be out of town next week, the show must go on! Longtime guitar mainstay Carroll will pair with vocalist supreme McClendon for a night of “great tunes from the American Songbook, some blues and perhaps some holiday favorites.” There is no cover, and Sidebar offers great food and drink. Kick off your holiday weekend in style!
Have a great week!