As 2014 draws to a close and this weekend marks the last jazzy touring band concert of the year (Chicago Afrobeat Project), there have already been exciting announcements of 2015 national tour stops in town. The Rad Trads, NYC’s joyous celebrators of the American Songbook as well as burgeoning songwriters in their own right, will return to Brothers Drake on Saturday, February 7th, for a winter Gallery Hop throwdown. The 2015 schedule at the Wexner Center includes concerts by rising sax star Melissa Aldana and her Crash Trio on Saturday, February 14th, and groundbreaking pianist Vijay Iyer and his Trio on Thursday, April 16th. Guitar legend John Scofield will embark on a late-winter collaborative tour with acclaimed jam band Government Mule, dubbed Sco-Mule, that will include a stop at the LC Pavilion on Sunday, March 1st (tickets available here). Finally, 8-string guitar wizard Charlie Hunter will come back to Natalie’s on Tuesday, April 14th, with a trio that includes trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and drummer Bobby Previte. The future looks bright!
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, December 18th: Descendre & Stone Fruit at Carabar, 115 Parsons Avenue. Guitarist Stan Smith has been active lately in presenting jazz concerts in venues that have not hosted much live jazz previously. After a couple of shows at Rambling House Soda, Smith has now brought jazz to this Olde Towne East haunt, better known for rock shows of all flavors, as well as DJ and hip-hop events. Following a few recent mid-week shows there played by different bands he is involved in, this week’s show will feature the all-star progressive fusion band Descendre, with Smith on guitar, Adam Smith on keyboards, guitars, and percussion (and who knows what), Nicole Rachelle on saxophones, Jim Tussing on bass, and Justin Campbell on drums. After they play the opening set around 9pm, next up (~10pm) will be a set from Stone Fruit, a new female trio that describes their sound as “funk-jazz-psych-bitch-pop” and has uploaded a couple of nice grooves to their Soundcloud page. The night will end with a collaboration between the two groups and possible special guests. This should be an evening of diverse sounds in a new environment for jazz.
Thursday, December 18th: Maxwell Button’s Jimmy Smith Tribute at Dicks Den. Drummer Button has assembled some great tribute shows for his monthly gig at Dick’s, and this final installment of 2014 is no exception. To celebrate the trio sound of the hugely influential organist, Button has enlisted the best possible local collaborators for such a task: Tony Monaco and Derek DiCenzo! Monaco’s appearances at Dick’s are few and far between, and Smith is widely cited as Monaco’s biggest influence on the organ, so this will be a very special event!
Tuesday, December 23rd: Annual Festivus Party featuring Gradient Prophet and DJ Abyss at Brothers Drake. Though Jazz Wednesdays are taking a break for the holidays, late December festivities at the meadery are not without a jazz flavor. The second annual edition of this party will be largely a jam between various local DJs, instrumentalists, and MCs, and will be guided by local DJ Abyss. Of note for jazz fans is the first live appearance of Alex Schrock’s Gradient Prophet project since the release of its Call Me GP EP. These six hip-hop/electronic instrumentals are at their jazziest when Dan White makes a handful of cameo appearances on saxophone and flute (on the studio versions), but the overall project still has plenty of melody and verve to go around. This gathering is also a clothing drive benefiting local charitable organizations, so help the local needy stay warm this winter, then get into a holiday groove.
Have a great week! Here’s a 2014 video of Monaco honoring Jimmy Smith live in concert: