Happy 2015 jazz fans! I hope you had a great holiday season and are not finding the cold reality of the new year too painful. I welcomed 2015 with a great Jazz Night Out at Dicks Den on New Year’s Day. Drummer Gregory Pearson, aka The Governor, led a superb ensemble that included Stan Smith on guitar, Nicole Rachelle on woodwinds, Steve Perakis on bass, and Ron Hope on percussion. Though the audience was small due to the holiday and the OSU game, the festive crowd that gathered enjoyed a diverse selection of jazz styles and flavors. My personal highlights were original tunes by Stan Smith. “Cheryls” featured Nicole’s floating soprano sax, including a soulful solo, as well as some funky licks from Smith over a leisurely jaunt that brought some sunshine into the cold night. “Leonard J” was an extended jam that evoked multiple places/eras, like a 1970s funky car chase and, surprisingly, the early 1980s NYC no-wave movement. All of the players had featured parts, with Nicole taking the lead on both tenor sax and flute. Most of the other tunes were standards, and vocalist Dolly King joined the band for soulful readings of “Summertime” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” Dick’s always provides a friendly place for its extended family to enjoy holiday nights, and Thursday was no exception.
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, January 8th: Stan Smith + at Carabar, 115 Parsons Avenue. After a smattering of dates in late fall, the prolific guitarist kicks off another run of shows at the Olde Towne East bar that was once the site of legendary jazz club/restaurant The Dell but is not normally associated with jazz these days. Smith will lead bands there on every other Thursday in January and February, alternating weeks with Stone Fruit (and the bands will occasionally sit in with each other). Smith will use an assortment of personnel for his shows: this week’s lineup is the same as the core band that played with The Governor at Dick’s last week (see above). These nights are hopefully building to a weekly jazz night on Carabar, so this is a good place to support the spread of jazz in town.
Friday, January 9th: Brett Burleson Quartet at Dick’s Den. Guitarist Burleson has setup a couple of great gigs at Dick’s this week in honor of his birthday this past Monday. After playing with Paul Brown’s band there Thursday, he will lead his own quartet on Friday, which will feature saxophonist Eddie Bayard, bassist Roger Hines and drummer Ryan Jewell. Expect a mix of originals and material by John Coltrane and Sonny Sharrock, among others, and celebrate with Brett!
Tuesday, January 13th: James Gaiters’ MUV-Ment Exodus CD Release at Natalie’s. As was hoped when I reviewed this album in September, drummer Gaiters has assembled the MUV-Ment band that recorded Exodus for a proper release party. The band for Tuesday will be Gaiters on drums, Eddie Bayard on tenor sax, Lovell Bradford on piano, and Dean Hulett on bass. This currently far-flung outfit will come together and should bring this powerful album to vibrant life, so this is a show not to be missed.
Below are two favorites from Exodus to get you ready for the show. Have a great week!