I finally got around to swinging in 2016 with two fantastic Jazz Nights Out last week. On Wednesday, January 6th, I caught the first set of the opening night of Doug Neel’s January Residency at Dick’s Den. This show marked the Dick’s debut of Trio NOT, Neel’s modern organ trio from Northwest Ohio, with Neel on guitar, Kyle Turner on keys, and Nelson Overton on drums, plus special guest Kevin O’Neill on tenor sax. The band put their own substantial spin on a wide variety of material (even within the six songs I heard!), ranging from standards to modern organ grooves to soulful hits. The “backwoods soul” vibe established on Larry Goldings’ “Crawdaddy” inspired excellent solos by all members, including some smoking lines from Neel, and the warm R&B strut of “Isn’t She Lovely” was buoyed by O’Neill’s big and round tone. The most surprising tune for me was their version of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints,” which took me a few minutes to place, as it was rendered in a slow-building, “almost New Age” fusion style that ended up working pretty well. It’s obvious that Neel is putting some work into his residency, hopefully you get a chance to stop in on a Wednesday this month!
I returned to Dick’s on Friday the 8th for the blockbuster appearance of the Tony Monaco/Randy Mather Quartet. For a mere $5, four of the top players in town squeezed on stage, as the leaders were joined by Derek DiCenzo on guitar and Aaron Scott on drums. The band took a tour of standards of many shades, including a swaggering take on Monaco staple “Boogie on Reggae Woman” (Stevie Wonder), which was equipped with burning solos from DiCenzo and Monaco and a full display of Mather’s expert tone, and a scorching rendition of “Got My Mojo Workin'” with Monaco on vocals. The band entertained a packed house for three full sets, and when the crowd begged for an encore, Monaco led the troops in a barnburning trip through Jimmy Smith’s “Root Down.” Whether you got a chance to see this or not, hope that this power quartet is able to reunite soon!
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, January 14th (8 – 10pm): Redbird (Otterbein Faculty Group) at Old Bag of Nails, Westerville. As school is back in session at Otterbein, the monthly (roughly) series of FREE concerts at the local Old Bag of Nails has resumed for the winter. The Redbird ensemble showcases the depth of talent that is on the faculty at Otterbein: Jay Miglia on sax, Ben Huntoon on trumpet, Ryan Hamilton on trombone, Karl Wohlwend on Guitar, Chris Berg on bass, Michael Yonchak on drums and Richard Lopez on piano! For this performance, the group will be joined by guest vocalist Jamie Whetstone, an Otterbein alum and local jazz, blues and rock singer/pianist. Expect some well-honed standards by this collection of top local players.
Friday, January 15th (8 – 11pm): CBUS Big Band at Emerald City Ballroom (ECB), Dublin. This dance studio and event center in the southern Dublin area offers regular big band shows most Friday nights, and they just installed a new dance floor ahead of the new year. The CBUS Big Band recently entered the ballroom’s big band rotation (which also includes the Swings The Thing Big Band and the Emerald City Swing Orchestra) and now plays every third Friday of the month. This outfit plays a full variety of ballroom dances in the style of the classic big bands. Admission is $15 ($10 with an ECB membership) – a Cha Cha group dance class starts at 7:15 for an additional $3. You may BYOB for a $5 charge at the door.
Saturday, January 16th (8 – 10pm): Jazz Brew Concert Series: James Gaiters Quartet & Linda Dachtyl Quartet at Whitehall-Yearling High School. The Jazz Brew Concert Series, the ongoing series of fundraising concerts “for the support, development and operations of the future non-commercial Jazz 98.5 FM radio station,” presents its latest concert focused on the “Classic Straight-Ahead Jazz” subgenre. Held in the auditorium of the Walter Armes Learning Center at the WYHS campus, this pairing brings two organ quartets led by local jazz veterans to the stage, each with a rare lineup. Drummer Gaiters’ group includes Chris Brown on organ, Bryan Olsheski on tenor saxophone, and Lee Savory on trumpet. Organist Dachtyl will be joined by regular cohorts Mark Donavan (tenor saxophone) and Cary Dachtyl (drums) along with guitarist Chaz Mechenbier. Expect an electric double bill of choice standards and creative originals. Tickets are available here.
Have a great week! Here’s an older video of Whetstone in action, joined by many of the same players: