It’s that time of year again – the Christmas Jazz Guide! Friday, December 20th: At 5pm, The Holiday Piano Series at Land-Grant Brewing Company in Franklinton wraps up with the classic sounds of Erik Augis. Dining and drinking options abound: Smooth jazz sax man Andrew Waters at Vittoria Ristorante (6pm), Anthony Jackson’s Friends at Two Truths (Short North) (6pm), piano man Dave Powers at Hyde Park Arlington (6:30pm), classic vocals from the Kelly McLennan Trio at Black Point (6:30pm), vintage vibes from Charlie Foxtrot Quintet at Combustion Brewery & Taproom (Pickerington) (7pm), and legendary vocalist Louise Salvador continues her new weekly with pianist Bob J Mills at Bexley Premier Restaurant (7pm). Also at 7pm, soulful crooner J London presents his annual Smooth Jazz Christmas Joy show at Christmas Corner at the State Auto Insurance Companies holiday light display Downtown. The Rat Pack throwback antics of the Mad Mad Men, Swingin’ Holiday Show 2019 continue Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sunday at 3pm at McConnell Arts Center – limited tickets still here as of press time – and don’t forget about the cheery and free Liz Woolley Holiday Happy Hour show one hour before each Mad Mad Men concert! Monthly Big Band Night at Emerald City Ballroom in Dublin comes a week early for the holidays – dance with the Emerald City Swing Orchestra at 8pm. Also at 8pm, the veteran Ken Weaver Quartet shares some timeless sounds at Blu Note Jazz Cafe. The all-star lineup of James Gaiters’ Soul Revival – with Dwight Adams, Eddie Bayard, Kevin Turner, and Robert Mason – hits Natalie’s with holiday spirit at 9:30pm – tickets available here. And the Derek DiCenzo Quartet presents its evergreen Holiday Show at Dick’s Den at 10pm – $5 cover. Keep reading for a joyous week of Christmas jazz!
Saturday, December 21st: Robert Mason joins Greg Wolfram and Bradley Mellen in the exciting rotating trio lineup at Market District Kitchen & Bar in Bexley at 6pm, which is also when pianist Paul Strawser entertains at Camelot Cellars (Olde Towne East). Great classic jazz and dining options continue with the Dave DeWitt Trio at Hyde Park Arlington at 7pm and Kelly McLennan Trio at Black Point at 7pm. Powerhouse vocalist Shane D. Wilson presents a spirited Christmas Show at Java Central Café (Westerville) at 7pm. Saxophonist Eddie Bayard steps out in front of a great group at Blu Note Jazz Cafe at 8pm. Head down to Club Diversity at 9pm for ukulele-powered yuletide joy from The Velvet Sirens! And esteemed vocalist Tia Harris reunites with NexLevel for a smooth and soulful night at Natalie’s at 10pm – tickets here.
Sunday, December 22nd: Reliable jazz and tasty brunch is available from the guitar duo of Doug Neel and Colin Lazarski at Market District Kitchen & Bar and the Erik Augis Trio at Third and Hollywood, both at 11:30am. The December Music in the Atrium series at Westerville Public Library wraps up with harpist Trista Hill at 2pm for some unique seasonal tunes. A top pick for Sunday is the Dave DeWitt TRio (with Derek DiCenzo and Aaron Scott) Holiday Party, which will be a live recording, at the new home of Bungalow Jazz – Becky Ogden’s Barn in Delaware – at 3pm (more details). Another great holiday jazz experience would be the trio of Byron Stripling, Dave Powers & Bobby Floyd at The Refectory at 5pm – more info here, get reservations now! And while Bobby is busy, the also-busy Robert Mason will lead Floyd’s Trio at The Blue Velvet Room at Snowden Gray Mansion at 6pm, which is also when James Gaiters will lead a group at Barcelona. The weekly classic jazz and fusion of “The Eastside Kid” Wally Mitchel continues at Dick’s Den at 8pm. And drummer Matthiessen Nisch Quan returns to Columbus for the holidays to lead his Vulfpeck tribute band Matthiessen and his Vulfpack at Brothers Drake at 8:30pm.
Christmas Week: While the schedule is slim, there are still excellent choices. The jazz highlight of Monday, December 23rd is the weekly appearance of Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra at Clintonville Woman’s Club at 7:30pm, this time with in-demand vocalist Dick Mackey. A Christmas Eve tradition continues on Tuesday, December 24th when Louise Salvador performs with Bob J Mills at Club Diversity at 8pm. And as usual, the only jazz on Christmas Day – Wednesday, December 25th – that we know of is at Dick’s Den. Roger Hines leads Zontar’s Campers around 9pm – the group includes guitarist Stan Smith (this event wraps up his December Wednesday residency), saxophonist Randy Mather, drummer The Governor, and vocalist Debra James Tucker – wow!