Merry Christmas jazz fans! With a week ahead that is hopefully full of time with loved ones and holiday traditions, I wanted to come to you a couple days early to give you my Christmas Week Live Jazz Picks, entertaining with the family or without. With many businesses closed on Christmas Eve, the schedule for Wednesday, December 23rd boasts several great options to kickoff your Christmas week. Dave Powers’ weekly gig at Vittoria Ristorante in Powell at 6pm is a strong place to start, with Powers’ rousing solo piano and vocal classics. Jazz Wednesday at Brothers Drake is presenting shows through the holidays this year, and this week’s 8pm installment marks the return of Dubfunk to the meadery stage, a Mojoflo side project that plays “a contemporary take on classic Jazz, Soul, and Funk music.” Jazz-fusion supergroup Descendre and progressive rock outfit ALCON (featuring drummer Justin Campbell) play Weird Wednesdays at Scarlet & Grey Cafe (North Campus) – doors are at 8pm, with Descendre starting around 10pm. And for a true blockbuster, Miles Davis tribute act Sanctuary plays Natalie’s at 9pm, where the band’s strong nucleus will be bolstered by Dwight Adams on trumpet, Bobby Floyd on piano, and Tony Monaco on organ! This is close to selling out, standing room tickets are available here while they last. (NOTE: This week’s installment of Paul Brown’s Residency at Dick’s Den has been cancelled.)
There are no jazz shows that we know of in Columbus on Christmas Eve (Thursday, December 24th). However, if you need a live music fix, local cover band the Takedowns will be playing Dick’s Den around 10pm. The quartet features jazz musicians Matt Paetsch (bass), Brett Burleson (guitar), and guest Jake Levy (drums) backing vocalist Andy Shaw. This group covers a range of rock, pop, and soul tunes including artists like Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, and more.
On Christmas Day (Friday, December 25th), the only jazz show in town (again, as far as we know) is a Roger Hines-led band playing Dick’s Den around 10pm. Christmas jazz at Dick’s is a festive tradition, and the veteran bassist and his group will be spreading cheer in ample measure.
Saturday, December 26th While it’s no longer called Zanzibar Brews, the newly renamed Lincoln Cafe still presents a weekly open jam at 5pm, which would be a great place to gather. There are two five-star choices for holiday jazz with a great meal, as the Tony Monaco Trio plays the Refectory at 6pm (Reservations required, more info here) and the Bobby Floyd Trio plays Hyde Park Restaurant at 7pm. Later on, The Governor brings some spirited fusion to Dick’s Den, and vocalist Tia Harris is backed by group NexLevel for a smooth and soulful evening at Natalie’s (both shows start at 10pm).
Sunday, December 27th There are three great options for jazz brunch, with the stalwart weekly options of Birdshack at The Crest in Clintonville and the Erik Augis Trio at 3rd and Hollywood in Grandview (both start at 11:30am) joined by the Derek DiCenzo Trio at Natalie’s (noon start). Continuing the tradition of the pianist’s storied weekly jams, the Bobby Floyd Trio hosts its weekly jam session at Notes at 6pm. Local legend Wally “The Eastside Kid” Mitchel leads his group at Dick’s Den around 9pm, and the always funky Hoo Doo Soul Band closes the weekend with its weekly Sunday night hang at Rumba Cafe at 10pm.
Have a great week! Check back next week for my New Year’s Eve suggestions!