Happy December! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend, and snuck away from the family (or took them along) to see jazz when possible. Before getting into my weekly roundup, I’d like to say RIP to legendary jazz drummer Chico Hamilton, who passed away on November 25th at the age of 92. His song “For Mods Only” was in my rotation of songs I’d play on the Cafe Bourbon St. jukebox in the mid-2000s and always brings back good memories. Visit Wax Poetics or NPR for some great tributes.
On The Prowl
Last week I had the opportunity to stop in at three local jazz shows. On Tuesday the 26th, I ventured out through the snow to see the Bobby Floyd Trio at Rumba Cafe with my buddy Rick. Though Rumba is often home to Tony Monaco on Tuesdays, Floyd filled in on the organ this week, with accompaniment from Derek DiCenzo on guitar (who does the same for Monaco) and Jim Rupp on drums. Though all three sounded great, what I appreciated the most was the consistency of the sets. Usually, a show featuring one band playing three sets will inevitably include some material the listener isn’t interested in, which is usually ballads in my case, and which is certainly understandable. For the half of the night that I witnessed, however, Floyd and the trio kept their mix of organ soul jazz and jazz standards uptempo and lively while still mixing styles and textures. I don’t get to see Floyd very often, which is a shame. With Monaco’s busy schedule, hopefully Floyd can play Tuesdays at Rumba more often!
On Thanksgiving Eve, I saw the quartet of Wally Mitchel (drums), Brett Burleson (guitar), Tony Bonardi (keyboards), and Matt Paetsch (bass) at Dick’s Den. There’s not much on the internet about the 70-something (?) Mitchel, aka “The Eastside Kid,” but I hope to help rectify that at some point. Mitchel and his younger counterparts played a steady mix of classics like “Cantaloupe Island” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Sky Dive” with some Latin and Brazilian tunes.
After getting enough football, I went back to Dick’s on Saturday to hear another quartet: Derek DiCenzo (guitar), Kevin O’Neill (saxophones), Jeff Bass (bass), and Maxwell Button (drums). The room was hopping for the holiday weekend, and the band played a cheery set of standards like “Chameleon” and “In a Sentimental Mood” interspersed with Christmas songs. Another fine quartet that hit the holiday nail on the head (without bludgeoning it).
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, Dec. 5th: Dave DeWitt: “Chameleon” at Natalie’s. Keyboardist DeWitt leads a stalwart quintet on a night of fusion classics that looks to be revelatory. Featuring Randy Mather, Josh Hill, Jeff Ciampa, and Aaron Scott.
Monday, Dec. 9th: Popgun at Rumba Cafe. This newly emerging sextet, including members of Birdshack and Hoo Doo Soul Band and featuring vocals from Jonathan Elliott of the Floorwalkers, presents their own take on pop classics of the 1970s and ’80s. This is the start of a run of 4 Popgun shows at Rumba on alternating Mondays. Amongst many others, their cover of Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” is not to be missed.
Wednesday, Dec. 11th: Pete Mills Quartet at Bungalow Jazz. Saxophonist Mills leads his quartet in an intimate show at the popular jazz house party venue.
Thanks for reading – as always, please comment if you saw any good jazz this week, if there’s an upcoming show you’re looking forward to, or if you have anything else jazzy to say. I’d love to hear from you!