Spring can’t get here soon enough! Though another serious winter has caused some shows to cancel, and dampened the attendance of others, there remain signs that the Columbus jazz scene continues to reload and strengthen itself. While dependable venues are still putting on attention-worthy events every week, I’ve noticed that jazz is popping up in new locations as well. Venues established in other genres like Carabar, Rambling House, and Kafe Kerouac have hosted successful jazz shows already this year, with more on the calendar. Sidebar Columbus hosts its second show of February this weekend after not featuring live jazz for a year, which is hopefully a trend that will continue. A jazzy element also returns to one of the city’s biggest popular music venues, as the LC Pavilion presents the Sco-Mule tour, a collaborative effort between influential jazz guitarist John Scofield and southern rock jam band Government Mule, on Sunday. Finally, as there was news this week of a new downtown venue featuring live jazz set to open late this summer, 2015 looks to be a great year for jazz in town.
Shows To See This Week
Saturday, February 28th: La Charanga Tres at Rumba Cafe. This local orchestra that “continues to celebrate Cuba’s national music, the danzon, along with the mambo, cha-cha, and cumbia” will surely bring the heat to a cold night at the North Campus bar. Led by Kris Keith on flute and saxophones, the band will also include Erin Gilliland on violin, Leo Morales on tres and guitar, Mark Rubinstein on accordion, Chris Young on piano, Roger Hines on bass, and Eric Paton on percussion.
Sunday, March 1st (3-5pm): Richard Lopez: Jumbalaya Jazz: New Orleans Style at Columbus Museum of Art. Sunday afternoon’s performance marks the kickoff of a new series of three monthly shows at the museum entitled Jazz Master Sessions. Pianist Lopez leads a program that is a mix of “a variety of ingredients, including modern and traditional jazz, a little jump blues, new arrangements of some classic New Orleans tunes, and even some funky Mardi Gras street music.” Cherie Mannino will be featured on vocals, and the backing band entails Milo Mannino (trumpet), Matt Ellis (trombone), Jim Rupp (drums), and Terry Douds (bass). Tickets are available here.
Monday, March 2nd: Breeze Smith at Dick’s Den. Percussionist and Columbus native Smith is visiting from Los Angeles for a few weeks so his brother Stan Smith has sought to provide him opportunities to play live music while in town. As part of an extensive career in jazz and improvised music, Breeze was part of the Nova Madrugada band that recorded the album Tadashi’s Room in L.A. in 2004. The brothers discussed who Breeze wanted for the band, and decided on Stan on guitar, Roger Hines on bass, Nicole Rachelle on reeds, and Ryan Jewell on drums. Breeze is a proponent of “free-improvisation,” so that style will likely feature prominently in the evening’s sounds, along with takes on originals by Stan and Hines. Stan emphasizes that “There will definitely be a focus on RHYTHM, grooves and melody,” and Breeze told me that the things he “imagines will happen (even without discussion – from such fine artists in this city) are: big ears, textures, transitions + sensitivity = pleasure for musicians and audience.”
Have a great week and I’ll see you in March! Below are a few videos that show Breeze Smith’s improvisational side: