Here we are, jazz fans, for the last weekly column of a turbulent 2016. Before a quick rundown of my favorite live jazz shows in 2016 as well as a guide to live jazz in town for New Year’s Weekend 2017, there is some sad news to share. Longtime Dick’s Den bartender and jazz supporter Ron Yednock passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 79 due to complications from a car accident on Thursday the 22nd. Read his Columbus Dispatch obituary here. Yednock was instrumental in getting jazz established at Dick’s by booking Joe Diamond there on Sundays in the late 70’s and later expanding jazz bookings to Fridays and Saturdays. Yednock’s family will honor his memory by holding his traditional New Year’s Eve party on Saturday at his home. My sincere condolences to his family, co-workers, and many friends in the Columbus jazz community.
Favorite Live Jazz Shows of 2016
My third full year writing this column was another great one for seeing thrilling live jazz performances in the Central Ohio area. I saw great jazz at venues old, new, and new to me as I continue to explore Columbus’ jazz landscape. Here are 10 favorite jazz performances that I reviewed, arranged in chronological order:
Mark Lomax Trio: Blues People
Charles Lloyd and the Marvels
Richard Lopez and Bobby Floyd
Cory Henry’s “The Revival Project”
Snarky Puppy with Charlie Hunter and Safety Squad
Bryan Olsheski and the Bobby Floyd Trio
Mark Lomax Septet: Blues In August
Wycliffe Gordon with the Bobby Floyd Trio
Aziza (Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke, Eric Harland)
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Looking forward to many more in 2017. Hope to see you out at a show!
New Year’s Weekend 2017 Live Jazz Guide
Friday, December 30th: The northwest quadrant of Franklin County is alive with great pairings of live jazz and dining (or shopping) on the last Friday of the year. Zakk Jones will be playing solo guitar music for the wine tasting at the Kroger Powell location starting at 6pm. Evergreen jazz dinner options are available for holiday entertaining, as Dave Powers delights with festive solo piano at Hyde Park Arlington at 6:30pm, saxophonist Andrew Waters provides sultry smooth jazz at Vittoria Ristorante in Powell at 7pm, and the classic jazz powerhouse Dave DeWitt TRio entertains at Black Point in the Short North Cap at 7:30pm. For East Side smooth jazz fun, urban contemporary veterans NexLevel play at the Idle-A-While Bar at 8pm. Finally, at 10pm, Natalie’s presents a special year end “Best of FLIPPO” concert, as the Columbus fusion super-group is joined by vocalists Kay Harris, Ron Jenkins, and Dan Rowan for selections from the band’s tributes to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Weather Report and more.
New Year’s Eve (Saturday, December 31st): Our guide to live jazz on NYE 2017 is here. There are no changes or additions that we know of at this point, but some shows may already be sold out – make reservations NOW for Saturday night!
New Year’s Day (Sunday, January 1st, 2017): Kickoff the new year right with a solid selection of jazz entertainment! The Ukulele Cowboy Society duo brings their cabaret and torch swing tunes to the Southbend Tavern on the South Side for a New Year’s party with refreshments at 6pm. Also at 6pm, NiNi Love JazzySide Quintet resumes its recent weekly gig at the Royal Lounge on the East Side to provide its jazzy, soulful interpretations of popular favorites. Also returning after a Christmas break is the Wally Mitchel quartet’s weekly appearance at Dick’s Den at 8pm, where the “Eastside Kid” and other Columbus talents will play swinging classic jazz and fusion. Of course, the always reliable weekly Hoo Doo Soul Band show (and jazz musician hang) hits Rumba Cafe at 10pm for funky good times.
Happy New Year! Andy Woodson (FLIPPO) pays tribute to Ron Yednock with “The Den,” and enjoy a holiday tune from the Ukulele Cowboy Society: