I hope everyone is having a joyous holiday season. Before I get into the final Holiday Jazz Guide of the year, I wanted to rundown my personal choices for favorite Columbus jazz shows of 2017. I enjoyed an abundance of world-class live jazz this year, so it was very difficult to narrow it down to 10 choices! In chronological order, my favorites were (click links for my live reviews): JD Allen Trio, Charlie Hunter Trio, John Ellis & Double-Wide, Bungalow Jazz Finale with the Tony Monaco Quartet, Joshua Breakstone Trio, 2017 Hot Times Kate Schulte Tribute, Tony Hagood Quartet: The Music of Dave Brubeck, A Columbus Jazz Orchestra 45th Anniversary Extravaganza, Bill Holman with Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra, and Safety Squad and Radarhill. The 2018 schedule is already shaping up to be strong, so I can’t wait to see more excellent shows here in Columbus!
Holiday Jazz Guide
Friday, December 29th: While the OSU football team’s Cotton Bowl appearance has limited the options on the Columbus Jazz Calendar for the evening, there are still a handful of exciting shows on the docket. Smooth saxophonist Andrew Waters provides sultry selections for your dining experience at his weekly appearance at Vittoria in Powell at 6pm.
Jazz and blues outfit Trutone The veteran duo of Dolly & The Governor returns to The Savoy Club (East Side) at 9pm for a soulful Pre-New Year’s Party – details and table reservations here. The night ends with a range of funky fusion options in the area’s finest jazz clubs all starting at 10pm. FLIPPO (Check out the new website!) kicks off a two-night tribute to Steely Dan with the help of vocalists Kay Harris, Ron Jenkins, Dan Rowan, and Steve Kramer at Natalie’s – standing room tickets are still available here for now (Saturday tickets here)! The Electric Freq Project makes its annual appearance at Brothers Drake for interstellar fusion explorations with an all-star cast: Lisa Bella Donna, Jeffro Jam, Chase Potter, Tony Solis, and Carlos Fisher (details here)! Finally, guitarist/vocalist Tom Davis and his high-powered jazz-funk band The Broadstreet Lineup hold their own funky party at Dick’s Den (details here).
Saturday, December 30th: The last Saturday of the year offers a bursting lineup of great live jazz, replete with possibilities for happy hour, dinner and late night (full details on the calendar). SCAT Experience The Avenue is hosting a Jazz Memoriam for saxophonist Charlie Cook at the Lincoln Cafe from 1 to 4pm (details here). Bassist Dwight Bailey & Friends present a two-show “Motor City Music” tribute to legendary Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave at Notes, with a band featuring vocalist Lady Joan Belgrave, trumpeter Dwight Adams, pianist Bobby Floyd and more, at 7:30pm (details here) and 9:30pm (details here). And in a warmup for his January Wednesday residency (check our site Tuesday for full details), bassist Will Strickler will lead The WS Collective, which will feature Ben Maloney (piano), Alex Burgoyne (sax), Ryan Folger (drums), Andrew Sais (guitar) and Devin Copfer (vocals & violin), at Dick’s Den at 10pm – $5 cover. Strickler provided more details:
I started the WS Collective with two main goals: play music I like with people I like. We’ll be playing several of my and Ben’s original tunes, some fresh arrangements of American songbook standards and compositions by modern jazz artists such as Becca Stevens, Taylor Eigsti and Joshua Redman. This is the first time this group has performed with this line-up of musicians. I’m excited to hear new takes on the repertoire I’ve had for this group.
New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31st): Our New Year’s Eve 2018 Jazz Events in Columbus article details all of the great ways (that we know of) to celebrate the arrival of 2018 with jazz in Columbus. Some events may already be sold out or fully booked – make your plans now if you haven’t already! EDIT: News has just emerged that the Lisa Bella Donna Trio, featuring Stan Smith on guitar, Jim Tussing on bass, and Bella Donna on drums, will be playing at the Asterisk Supper Club in Uptown Westerville at 9pm – more details here.
New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1st, 2018): There is no jazz in town that we know of on Monday. Enjoy football, family and friends!
First Week of the Year: This week is quiet as usual – weekly events listed on our calendar are happening to the best of our knowledge, but calling ahead is a great idea. Jazz Wednesday at Brothers Drake on Wednesday, January 3rd at 8pm will find drummer Ryan Folger, visiting Columbus while on break from studies at the University of North Texas, leading a group of Alex Burgoyne (Alto Sax), Danny Bauer (Keys), and John Allen (Bass) on tunes both swinging and free for a great free show (details here). And on Wednesday around 9pm, Will Strickler kicks off his Dick’s Den residency with a Trio that features Willie Barthel III on drums and Andrew Willard on piano and organ that will explore jazz standards, with special guest Rachel Sepulveda (vocals) on the first set. $5 Cover.
Have a great week and a Happy New Year! See you in 2018!