Richard Sanford and I had an excellent Jazz Night Out when we saw James Gaiters Soul Revival (photo by Sanford) at Natalie’s on February 19th. Drummer Gaiters was joined by frequent area collaborators Derek DiCenzo (guitar) and Robert Mason (organ) plus special guest saxophonist Rob Dixon from Indianapolis for an eye-opening soul jazz excursion. Early on, we heard a funky arrangement of “All Blues,” which employed an open, airy groove that powered well-articulated solos from the ensemble, especially a deep passage from Mason and a long-form bluesy adventure by DiCenzo. Dixon’s original tune “Last Week’s Blues” conjured a smoky nightclub with a cool riff and a soulful rhythm, and Dixon rode the rhythm section’s organic groove for an emphatic and passionate marathon solo. Keep reading for more thoughts on the show and previews for the week ahead, including Sunday brunch with E-Flat at Culture, Safety Squad at Woodlands, and the Alex Burgoyne Quartet at Brothers Drake!
We were thrilled to hear Gaiters announce that up next was a segment in tribute to Columbus’ own soul jazz legend, Rusty Bryant! Gaiters’ relaxed rhythm and Mason’s heavy organ set the tone for “Free at Last,” with Dixon gearing up to a smoking solo and Gaiters unleashing a fiery turn himself. Bryant’s “Fire Eater” was even more enjoyable, with the appropriately heated uptempo tune laying the groundwork for more high-level work from the quartet. After a velvety and satisfying take on “In A Sentimental Mood,” the band ended the evening with Big John Patton’s “Congo Chant.” Mason once again laid down an organ backbone and Dixon reached spiritual heights on a wailing epic passage. Sanford and I agreed that this detailed celebration of the essence of soul jazz was exactly what we needed for a winter’s night, and we hope to see this band in action again soon!
Shows To See This Week
Sunday, February 25th (2 – 4pm): Jazz and Mimosas Brunch with E-Flat at Culture, North Side. Saxophonist and bandleader David Dennis checked in with an update on his band and their gig this weekend:
Smooth Jazz Band E-Flat continues with its successful Jazz & Mimosas Brunch series this Sunday at Culture. The brunch continues to grow and is now offered at two locations – once a month on a Saturday at Aerial Wine Boutique and at its new location Culture on a Sunday. This week, E-Flat welcomes guest vocalist La’Toya Jones to the stage. The brunch is prepared by Tee’s Southern Kitchen. Tickets for this event are available on Eventbrite.
Tuesday, February 26th (7 – 11pm): Safety Squad with Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise at Woodlands Tavern. Keyboardist Danny Bauer’s high-powered modern fusion collective returns to the stage for a Tuesday night special with touring act Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise, which will present a blend of hip-hop, classical and soul. Unfortunately for Columbus, this is the last Safety Squad show for bandmembers Andrew Willard, Matthiessen Nisch Quan and Jordan Millisor, who are moving to Los Angeles soon. Enjoy a well-rounded night of music and wish some great musicians well in their future endeavors! Tickets are available here or for $10 at the door.
Wednesday, February 27th (8 – 11pm): Alex Burgoyne Quartet at Brothers Drake. Burgoyne was kind enough to provide background on this exciting Jazz Wednesday installment:
This band (Tom Davis, Nate Smith, Dan DiPiero, me) started because of Tom and my mutual adoration of Paul Desmond and Jim Hall and the “cool” music of the 50s and 60s. While Tom was across the pond, he did a handful of transcription/arrangements of those great collaboration records. When he came back, he asked me to play them with him, and I quickly said yes! Eventually, I started booking that band as the ABQ and adding some other “cool” favorites as well as some of my original/mostly original music.
Recently, we did a couple of performances called “Off-Folk” where we played folk/pop music of the 60s, inspired by the Paul Desmond record, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” These are the songs I grew up listening to on Saturday afternoons, mostly avoiding helping my mother clean the house. The way the band plays them is really fun.
On the 27th, we’ll be doing a mix of the Paul/Jim thing, and some of the “Off-Folk” stuff. We’re also adding a few of the musical mastermind Lennie Tristano’s tunes which I learned listening to my “cool school” heroes, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh on a handful of records from the same era. Brothers Drake is one of our favorite rooms to play, and we’re looking forward to sharing some of our favorite music there. You mead it!
Have a great week!