Mardi Gras comes around again this week! And while this year’s Fat Tuesday-themed jazz schedule that we’re aware of is lighter than normal, there are still plenty of chances to have a swinging celebration. The High Street Stompers, a Columbus Dixieland institution since 1987, plays its annual Mardi Gras Concert at Indianola Presbyterian Church on campus on Sunday, February 26th, at 2pm. Colin Lazarski’s New Orleans Quintet plays a Jazz Dinner Club show at The Refectory on Monday, February 27th at 6pm. The menu and further details are here – space is very limited, so call (614) 451-9774 for availability and reservations. On Monday at 7:30pm, Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra wraps up its month-long 20th anniversary celebration with a “Brazil Night – Tribute to Fat Tuesday” performance featuring vocals by Barbara Knight and Natalie Adams and a program of Brazilian and Brazilian-inspired tunes, including Stan Smith’s “Carnival,” at Clintonville Woman’s Club.
Mardi Gras, Tuesday, February 28th: Keyboardist Ryan Paradise will lead a band to add some New Orleans-style music to the New Orleans-style cuisine at the annual Mardi Gras party at Yats in Grandview. Of course, no Columbus Fat Tuesday celebration in recent memory would be complete without the fun and funky brass tunes of the New Basics Brass Band. As usual, they will be playing two shows on Tuesday. From 6 to 8pm, they play an always popular dinner show at Gallo’s Kitchen & Bar in Upper Arlington – get there early for a seat! To close the night (9pm – 1am), the band will return to Dick’s Den for a full-on party featuring special guest (and former member) Lazarski on guitar and vocals. Cover is $5. Evergreen Tuesday options like the Derek DiCenzo Trio at Local Roots in Powell at 5:30pm and the Park Street Tavern Tuesday Jazz Jam led by the Pete Mills Quartet at 8:30pm will also surely be in the spirit. Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, February 24th (7:30pm – 10pm): George DeLancey Group at Bungalow Jazz. NYC-based bassist DeLancey, a Cambridge, Ohio native and an alum of the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra, returns to town with a star-studded ensemble. The concert will feature tunes from his acclaimed 2016 self-titled debut along with, according to DeLancey, “some new music that I hope will be on my next record.” I got the chance to hear his debut this week, and can tell you that it’s filled with modern but timeless post-bop compositions, indelible melodies, and excellent ensemble playing, including piano work from fellow CYJO alum Aaron Diehl. The band for this show is:
Mike Sailors – trumpet
Sam Blakeslee – trombone
Jordan Pettay – alto sax
Johnny Cochran, Jr. – tenor sax
Craig Jackson – bari sax
Jon Eshelman – piano
George DeLancey – bass
Zach Compston – drums
Come out for top-notch modern jazz that swings, and pick up a copy of the album! The requested donation of $20 for admission goes directly to the performing musicians.
Saturday, February 25th (7 – 10pm): Pharez Whitted at King Arts Complex. Renowned trumpeter, composer, producer, and educator Whitted, whose resume includes a stint as a professor in the OSU music department, returns to Columbus for a special show in the KAC’s historic Pythian Theater. Now the Director of Jazz Studies at Chicago State University, Whitted is touring through Ohio this weekend with a band that also includes Columbus’ own Eddie Bayard on saxophone as well as Andrew Toombs on keys, Jeremiah Hunt on bass, and Xazavian Valladay on drums. This should be a spirited return to old stomping grounds, as Whitted still feels a strong connection to the area. As he told The Lantern in 2013:
“It’s Ohio State University. I used to work there back in the 1990s. It’s a wonderful school with a wonderful program, and you have great faculty there and wonderful students. It’s a Big Ten university with how much money and prestige associated with it, and it has a lot of the Best Damn Bands in the Land. I love Columbus, Ohio.”
Thursday, March 2nd (7 – 9pm): Latin Perspective at Arepazo Tapas Bar & Grille, 515 South High Street (Brewery District). This new Latin jazz band is kicking off a new weekly gig at this popular destination for Latin American cuisine in the area. The band “incorporates jazz with Afro-Cuban spice and a taste of Rhythm & Blues” and draws inspiration from great artists like Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez, Cal Tjader, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, and Thelonious Monk. This should become a hot spot on the Thursday jazz schedule. As bandmember Russ Frost says, “Come to listen to great Latin Jazz, have a awesome meal and meet the band.” Latin Perspective also plays Brothers Drake on Saturday, February 25th at 9pm for a $5 cover.
Have a great week! Here are a couple videos to get you ready for the weekend, including one of my favorite tunes from DeLancey’s album: