I had two great Jazz Nights Out with my friend Rick last week, including one outside my normal comfort zone. On Wednesday the 28th, we went to Riley Auditorium on the Otterbein campus to see saxophonist, and coordinator of Jazz Studies, Jay Miglia’s faculty recital with pianist Dean Marcellana. The program was focused on compositions in (or near) the Third Stream movement that combined classical music elements with some of the feeling and improvisation of jazz. “Sonata” by Bill Dobbins, an occasional visitor to Columbus, was a mellow start to the performance, but increased in vigor and swing through to the third movement, where Miglia’s soprano sax danced over a cooking piano part. Bob Mintzer’s (known for his fusion work in the Yellowjackets) “Concertino” had a similar trajectory, starting in ballad territory but climaxing in a whimsical jaunt that had a New Orleans feel and Miglia’s swinging tenor sax paired with some knee-slap percussion from Marcellana. Ramon Ricker’s very aptly titled “Solar Chariots” closed the show with a strong and quick attack from Miglia on the soprano and an interesting arrangement that featured an explosive solo from Marcellana. This was certainly an educational experience for me, and I hope to catch some more of Otterbein’s faculty programming soon.
On Thursday, we went to Natalie’s for the Pete Mills’ 5-tet’s take on Eddie Harris’ The In Sound, the latest installment of Mills’ Side One Series. The program included the entire album, interspersed with two tunes from Harris’ followup, Mean Greens, and Mills’ tribute to Harris, “Eddie,” from his 2007 collaborative album with Tony Monaco, Fresh Spin. It was a fantastic performance from all five musicians on stage. Keyboardist Erik Augis, who I was first introduced to through a Side One performance, was in fine form, starting with an animated, Horace Silver-esque solo on opener “Cryin’ Blues” and not looking back. The band replicated Harris’ speedy approach to Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale,” and Mills sprinted out of the gate with some fiery tenor work. Everyone was ready for album highlight “Freedom Jazz Dance,” with trumpeter Rob Parton’s dramatic solo, which started mellow but ended up with some fierce blowing, a particular attraction. The aforementioned “Eddie” was a very welcome addition to the proceedings. I hadn’t listened to Fresh Spin in some time, and the usage of organ instead of Harris’ normally-preferred piano changed the sound a bit, so in this slightly different setting, Mills’ amplification of the best parts of Harris work was an unexpected delight and a tremendous tribute. Details should be out soon for the next Side One Series on Thursday, March 5th, so hope that the weather improves by then and come out for another entertaining and educational show!
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, February 5th: Daniel Fox Fourtet at Dick’s Den. Up-and-coming drummer Fox is making his debut as a band leader with an excellent quartet lineup. Fox has studied and played with many of Columbus’ (and beyond!) best, including Jim Rupp, Jim Masters, Kris Keith, Bobby Floyd, Derek DiCenzo, Reggie Jackson, Matt Wagner, Pete Mills, Erik Augis, Andy Woodson, Brian Olsheski, Dwight Adams, and Pharez Whitted. He will be joined by Tom Davis on guitar, Danny Bauer on keyboards, and Greg Wolfram on bass. After the CJO concert wraps up, Dwight Adams (trumpeter in CJO and Stevie Wonder’s band, who he will be playing with at the Schottenstein Center on April 1st!) is expected to sit in, along with other possible special guests from Fox’s list of past collaborators, so this should be a loose and lively performance. Fox gave me a rundown of what to expect to hear:
Thursday we are starting the first set with classic standards such as “All of Me,” “St. James’ Infirmary Blues,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” and “So What.” The following sets will be more of tunes that are some of my favorite tunes and arrangements by such artists as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Ali Jackson and maybe a few others, depending on time.
Saturday, February 7th: The Rad Trads at Brothers Drake. Often cited as the band’s favorite place to play when away from home, these NYC-based traditionally-minded party starters should do just that at this performance during February Gallery Hop. Click here for an interview we did with the band last year – their Self Help EP was released in July 2014, and they have continued to tour as much as they can in the meantime. Expect rollicking renditions of American standards of every soulful stripe, along with their expanding catalog of originals, and get ready for a rowdy time.
Sunday, February 8th (12-2pm): Tom Carroll & Stan Smith at Natalie’s. Due to a late substitution, veteran guitarist and educator Carroll will play in a guitar duo with Smith, making for a pair of Central Ohio jazz guitar titans. Expect to hear a mix of tunes from their combined decades of experience, with some classic standards likely being presented in a new light. I was blown away by Carroll’s work in SpeakEasy last week, and Smith always enlightens and entertains, so this sounds like a great way to get your Sunday going.
Have a great week!