JazzColumbus Weekly – February 20, 2014

Another week has flown by here in JazzColumbus land. One news item: comments have been enabled again on our articles! We are still testing the setup, so please give it a try below and let me know if you’ve seen any good shows lately, if there are any shows that you’re looking forward to, or if you just want to say hello. And if you have any difficulties commenting, please let us know here. Thanks!

A Jazz(-y) Night Out

On Thursday the 13th, I went to Brothers Drake to see the Alan Evans Trio. There was a great crowd and great drinks were in abundance. Opening were local “Rust Belt Soul Stew” purveyors The Rust Belt Rumble Family Band. The band was a 10-piece that night, as the six core members were joined by frequent collaborators Jon Lampley, Chris Ott, and Dan White of DW6, as well as percussionist Joey Gurwin. The supplemented lineup put on an efficient rustic soul revue. There were covers, like Bill Withers’ “Better Off Dead,” as well as originals, and all of the six tunes flowed together well. Lead singer Stephanie Rogers was a force to be reckoned with, as her powerful vocals roared on the uptempo numbers, then caressed on ballads like “Bodhisattva Soul.” The DW6 horns sounded great and supplied a handful of memorable solos. The core members of Rust Belt are big DW6 fans and honored the band before their pending departure. A cover of James Brown’s “There Was A Time” was an excellent finale, featuring solos from all of the horns, leaving the crowd ready for the headliners.

The Alan Evans Trio sounded great, but honestly left me a bit flat. Their organ/guitar/drums setup was very loud in the modest meadery, which was thrilling at first but gradually wore me down. The trio played a mix of instrumental and vocal tunes. Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if Evans never sang, but I have to admit he has a great voice. He excelled on the band’s covers, especially a stanky version of Sly & The Family Stone’s “If You Want Me To Stay.” When it came to originals though, his basic lyrics left something to be desired. Drummer Evans, B3 organist Beau Sasser, and guitarist Danny Mayer hit some great funky grooves, but the originals usually turned into full-bore jam sessions which started to blend together after awhile. All three players are very talented, and the crowd loved the unbridled energy, but the music could have used a bit more jazz for my tastes.

Shows To See This Week

Thursday, February 20th: Maxwell Button presents: The Music of Dexter Gordon at Dicks Den. After a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim last month, drummer Button and his group will pay homage this week to legendary saxophonist Dexter Gordon with three sets of favorites.

Saturday, February 22nd (6-9pm): Renee Dion & Jon Rogers MOONLIGHT Album Release Party at Brothers Drake. Jazzy soul singer Dion releases her new collaboration with producer Jon Rogers (formerly known as Maggz) on Saturday. I know there is plenty of excitement for this release in the local hip-hop/R&B scene, so this should be a treat.

Saturday, February 22nd: Dan White Sextet Farewell Show #2 at Natalie’s. This is the local juggernaut’s last show in Columbus until they debut their new album, Your Song, in September. This will be a night to remember at one of the best rooms for jazz in town.

Wednesday, February 26th: Bobby Floyd Trio at Natalie’s. In what seems to be a far too rare event, organist Floyd, with guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Reggie Jackson, will grace the Natalie’s stage with a consistently soulful mix of standards and originals.

I’ll leave you with the first video from MOONLIGHT, featuring some great footage of Columbus. See you next week!

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