Among some other jazzy stops last week, I had a great Jazz Night Out when I caught the first two of three bands at Cafe Bourbon Street on Sunday the 10th. The night was a mix of bands of friends led by Zakk Jones and Ryan Folger – guitarist Jones and visiting bassist David Wolbert played all three sets! Up first was the debut of the WJD Trio, which featured Jones, Wolbert, and drummer Seth Daily. Their set was largely one of free improvisation, the three musicians working off each other on some of their own melody concepts plus melodies by Albert Ayler and Dave Holland. The music ranged from intense free jazz to funky grooves and back out again, with all three players contributing to and reshaping the sound.
Up next was the Ryan Folger Octet minus one, as french horn player Katherine Luikart was unable to play. The hour-long set consisted of three Folger originals, each bursting with twists and turns and serious solo work. Opener “He’s OK” rumbled to life with a drum solo intro from Folger, which led to a thick bass groove from Wolbert and a heavy keyboard line from Danny Bauer. The horn front line soon joined by adding chaos before finding a melody reminiscent of funky 1970s big band material. Saxophonists Justin Dickson and Alex Burgoyne and trumpeter Aroh Pandit all uncorked excellent solos, but Jones’ jammed-out pyrotechnics formed a personal highlight. After “John Hates Star Wars,” featuring reworked Star Wars melodies and mayhem in honor of their friend’s questionable movie preferences, the finale was the epic “June.” Wolbert opened with a beautifully expressive solo passage before Dickson’s driving soprano sax melody, and Folger closed the set with another monumental solo. I wish I could have stayed for Jones’ Screeching Owl, but I greatly enjoyed the two relaxed sets of expert musicians going all out.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, July 15th (9pm – 1am): Tim Dvorkin Trio at Maria’s Lounge, Reynoldsburg. This East Side cocktail lounge is making a name for itself as a local live music destination, featuring a variety of great shows with plenty of live jazz in the mix. Keyboardist Dvorkin and his group are keeping busy this summer, popping up at venues old and new with two Jazz Brew Concerts coming soon. Dvorkin will be joined by longtime collaborators Bradley Mellen on bass and Rick Soriano on drums for a lively session of dynamic jazz fusion. As with all shows at Maria’s, admission is FREE!
Sunday, July 17th (6 – 8pm): Bobby Floyd Trio Jam Session featuring Byron Stripling at Notes. Floyd’s weekly jam session has begun featuring special guests in recent months, and this week’s installment is an exciting one. Trumpet virtuoso and CJO artistic director Stripling will join Floyd, bassist Andy Woodson, and drummer Reggie Jackson on the evening’s first set before musicians are invited to jam on the second set. Space is limited for this intimate meeting of two jazz titans, so advance tickets (available here) are highly recommended!
Wednesday, July 20th (8 – 11pm): Talking Ear at Brothers Drake. This intriguing Toledo-based group makes its Jazz Wednesday debut. From the band: “Talking Ear is a Contemporary Jazz and New Music ensemble based out of Toledo, Ohio, committed to providing a unique experience for listeners through composition, collaboration, and improvisation. The core of the group consists of vocalist Estar Cohen, guitarist Daniel Palmer, pianist Benjamin Maloney, and drummer Travis Aukerman. Each musician has a distinct voice as an accomplished composer and performer, contributing to an exciting and versatile, yet particularly cohesive sound.”
Have a great week! Here’s a timely video of a previous Stripling/Floyd collaboration: