JazzColumbus Weekly – January 23, 2014

It’s that time once again! One news item this week: Back in the fall, we told you about the pending release of Sweet Shadow, the new album from Columbus-based saxophonist Pete Mills. After some scheduling delays, the album was officially released internationally on Tuesday, the 21st, via Vancouver’s Cellar Live Records. Stay tuned to our site for a full review to come soon, but for now, check out this promo video for more info:

Some Jazz Nights Out

On Wednesday, the 15th, my friend Rick and I managed to stop by two venues for fine local jazz. First, we met up and went to Brothers Drake for a Jazz Wednesday appearance by Groove Palette. It was my first time seeing the quartet. I was very glad to find a large crowd – Jazz Wednesday is developing into the mid-week place to be for local jazz fans. The band played a mix of originals and a wide variety of standards/covers, including “The Wind Cries Mary.” All of the players sounded great, but I was especially impressed by the power of Terrance Farmer on sax. Bonus points to the meadery for playing this between sets! Next, we ventured to Dicks Den to hear the Andrew Hartman Quintet. Hartman’s is a name I see regularly in our concert listings, but a name I knew nothing about. Hartman is a guitarist, and I was surprised to find that his group included all-stars Nathan Smith on bass, Maxwell Button on drums, and Dan White on tenor sax! The band had great energy and finesse, and we heard them rip through some choice standards. I hope to hear more of this group soon.

The next day, I waited out the snow flurries and made it to Natalie’s for Pete Mills’ tribute to Speak No Evil. Mills’ “5-tet,” featuring trumpeter Dwight Adams (who, amongst other gigs, is in Stevie Wonder’s touring band!), brought Wayne Shorter’s music to vibrant life. In a single 90-minute set, the band played the 6 song album in its entirety, along with a bonus selection of Shorter’s “Yes or No” (from Juju). Adams started with a fiery solo on opener “Witch Hunt” and didn’t let up. Mills was also in fine form, especially on his soulful turn on ballad “Infant Eyes.” Keyboardist Erik Augis was very impressive, with some tastefully sparkling solos that seemed to come from another place musically, yet fit snugly into the overall sound. The band did a great job with Shorter’s material, cooking fiercely on the uptempo numbers at one moment, and then playing the ballads and waltzes with a gentle touch in the next. The Side One Series continues at Natalie’s on Thursday, February 20th, as tenor saxophonist Michael Cox replaces Adams in the 5-tet to honor the classic Boss Tenors.

Shows To See This Week

Friday, January 24th: Erik Augis Trio at Worthington Inn. Before the show last week, I had not seen much of Augis, but after his Natalie’s performance, I can’t wait to see the pianist again. His trio includes Andy Woodson on bass and Louis Tsamous on drums.

Friday, January 24th: Surf’s Up Hose Down at Dick’s Den. This quirky supergroup of local jazz musicians plays surf guitar, with their own twist. The quartet features Larry Marotta and Aaron Quinn on guitar, Brett Burleson on bass, and Joe Nelson on drums. Should be a party!

Saturday, January 25th: Stan Smith Benefit at Natalie’s. In the jazz community’s ongoing effort to assist Smith’s recovery from a house fire at the end of 2013, Natalie’s will present the guitarist playing with his group Canta BRASIL. The evening will also include an appearance by local legend Vaughn Wiester and other special guests.

Another week in the books! See you next time.

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