(Photo by Tim Perdue) Before I get into a live show review and a guide for live jazz over the holiday weekend, I have a news item to share. Effective July 1st, Dick’s Den bartenders Aaron Snyder and Tim Ackerman, along with Ackerman’s wife Jackie, have taken ownership of the historic dive bar and live jazz destination. From Tim Ackerman: “This is a dream come true and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to preserve the legacy, history and community that we all love. We’re committed to the local jazz community as well as providing a venue for musicians of all backgrounds. This is a privilege we could have never imagined, and we cherish the opportunity to nurture to a community that we care about so deeply. Cheers to 50 more years at the One and Only.” This sounds very promising for the future of one of Columbus’ greatest present-day cultural landmarks – Congratulations and good luck to the new owners!
A Jazz Night Out
On Wednesday, June 24th, my friend Rick and I caught the tremendous first set of the finale of bassist John Allen’s June Dick’s Den residency. The performance marked the debut of Allen’s new quintet, featuring Wesley Perry on alto and tenor saxophones, Aroh Pandit on trumpet, Danny Bauer on piano, and Brian Ellerman on drums. The program drew from classic jazz sources, especially the bebop and hard bop schools of the 1950s and 1960s, and the sharply-attired band was dressed for the part. They set the tone early with a elegantly sprawling rendition of Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader” that boasted stately solos from Bauer and Perry and some fireworks from Pandit. It was my first time seeing the trumpeter, and was deeply impressed with his tone and well-honed musicality. The band’s take on “One By One” composed by Wayne Shorter for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, was another delight, with a beautiful harmony passage by Perry and Pandit near the tune’s close. I wish we could have stayed longer, but the set is a certified contender for my favorite set of the year, so I got my money’s worth. It was very gratifying to see talented young musicians commit fully to a particular aesthetic and knock it out of the park with skill and dedication. Hopefully the band plays again soon!
Shows To See This Holiday Weekend
Thursday, July 2nd: In an exciting recent booking, Cincinnati guitarist Bob Ross will be playing with the Pete Mills Trio to kickoff the holiday weekend at Dick’s Den at 10pm. As I discussed with Ross in a recent interview, he is currently very interested in exploring the possibilities of the “guitar/sax sound,” so teaming up with one of Columbus’ finest in Mills (along with Greg Wolfram on bass and Zach Compston on drums), should yield more exciting new sounds. The music for the night will include some of Ross’ great original compositions. Check our calendar for other options on Thursday night, including a handful of solid dinner jazz gigs and improvisational explorers Sonikora‘s 9:30pm visit to Carabar, where they will be joined by special guest guitarist Stan Smith.
Friday, July 3rd: Friday’s schedule isn’t deep, but still holds promise for all jazz fans. There are two combinations of upscale dining and great live jazz on the docket. Vocalist Ronald Jenkins, backed by the Louis Tsamous Trio, will present Red, White & Blues!, a program drawing from The Great American Songbook, starting at 6pm at The Refectory, while Jim Maneri will play festive solo piano starting at 6:30pm at Hyde Park Restaurant. Fresh off of the release of their new album Monstrum, the Nicole Sherburne Quartet will play its always-evolving “noirscapes” at Dick’s Den at 10pm.
Saturday, July 4th: Two neighborhood 4th of July celebrations will include top-notch jazz entertainment. Festivities at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington start with a special version of the James Gaiters Quartet at 5pm, with celebrated guitarist Kevin Turner joining the band, and the Aladdin Shrine Temple Dixieland Band follows at 7:30pm. Meanwhile, at Grove City High School, the Bone-A-Fide Swing Band, which includes some local all-stars, will be getting the entertainment going at the Grove City Independence Day party at 6pm. As it is also the first Saturday of the month, Gallery Hop will be taking place in the Short North, and the Louise Salvador Quartet will provide spirited favorites at Haiku starting at 7pm. Later on, Dick’s Den provides another night of great club jazz for the holiday with guitarist Aditya Jayanthi’s Turtle Boat ensemble playing its Paul Motian-focused material at 10pm.
Sunday, July 5th: Along with the dependable jazz brunch options at The Crest in Clintonville (Birdshack) and Third and Hollywood in Grandview (Erik Augis Trio), the virtuosic pair of Tom Carroll and Andy Carlson, co-bandleaders of the SpeakEasy gypsy jazz band, will play some swinging favorites at Natalie’s at 12pm. If you end up overdoing it earlier in the weekend, the second installment of the new Sunday Swing At Six series at Emerald City Ballroom in Dublin will find the B Side Band playing all varieties of swing for your dancing (and listening) enjoyment. Finally, if you don’t want the party to end, the Hoo Doo Soul Band will play its R&B-flavored classics at its weekly gig at Rumba Cafe, starting around 10pm.
Have a great Fourth of July!