A smorgasbord of tasty ribs and great live jazz awaits at Jazz and Rib Fest 2016 starting Friday at 11am. While we already provided the full music schedule for the festival on Monday, I wanted to provide an overview of some highlights. (NOTE: I refer below to the different stages with the following codes: AEP = American Electric Power Stage, GP = Genoa Park Stage, WB = West Bank Stage) Friday starts strong with two-hour sets on all three stages for the downtown lunch crowd and the intrepid early-goers, including vocalist Kelly McLennan and her +5 band (Alex Burgoyne, Terry Douds, Jon Eshelman, Tim Perdue, Maxwell Button) (GP) and the Alex Schrock Trio (with John Allen and Nate Parker) (WB), all starting at 11am. The Jazz Poetry Ensemble will entertain and enlighten at 2:30pm with a mix of “Some new stuff, some old favorites, some basketball” (WB). Late afternoon highlights include veteran Cleveland saxophonist Ernie Krivda and his Quartet (4:30pm, GP), local vocalist Emily Syring and the ES Quintet (5pm, AEP), and Cincinnati guitarist Brad Myers and his Group (5pm, WB), who released the excellent Prime Numbers in 2015. To add more funk to your early evening, check out Milton Ruffin & The Ohio Old School Funk Band (7pm, WB), led by accomplished bassist, composer and arranger Ruffin and featuring an all-star Columbus band. The night ends with headlining sets in various styles, including New Orleans legends the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (9:30pm, AEP).
Saturday‘s lineup begins as the downtown Color Run ends, bringing even more vibrant neon to the waterfront. Runners and jazz fans alike will be greeted by the lively strains of more great Columbus jazz from the likes of guitarist Tim Cummiskey’s Fusion Syndicate (11am, AEP) and renowned Dixieland band the High Street Stompers (11am, GP). The music and the temperature will both be hot through the afternoon which includes simultaneous Latin sets, with Lorain’s Latin Jazz Players (3pm, AEP) on the smoother side and Columbus titans Yumbambe (3pm, GP) bringing Afro-Cuban fervor. Columbus jazz will stay in the limelight throughout the dinner hour, with sets from our own New Orleans-styled horn band the New Basics Brass Band (5pm, AEP), soulful jazz-pop outfit the Liz Woolley Band (5pm, GP), esteemed crooner Dwight Lenox and The Lenox Avenue Express (7pm, GP), and jazz-funk masterminds fo/mo/deep (7pm, AEP). The night ends with more musical fireworks, including a battle of trumpet virtuosos between Doc Severinsen & Byron Stripling (9pm, WB), and my most anticipated set of the weekend, Arturo O’Farrill and The Latin Jazz Octet (9:30pm, AEP), showcasing the Grammy Award winning pianist and composer and his unmatched ensemble taking modern and Latin jazz styles to new heights.
The shorter Sunday schedule is not without its many delights! Legendary vocalist Jeanette Williams, with support from the stalwart Columbus Jazz Quartet (Noon, AEP), will charm the lunchtime crowd with sultry standards and more. I strongly recommend the Cincinnati-based Brandon Coleman Quartet (1:30pm, WB), who were great in their previous Fest appearance in 2014 and are preparing to release their Infinite Loop soon. Late afternoon brings another mountain of talent to the stage, when you can see Columbus future fusion collective Safety Squad (4pm, WB), Cincinnati pianist Randy Villars and his Band (including members of the Coleman Quartet) (4:30pm, AEP), and organ master Tony Monaco (4:30pm, GP). After rib awards are presented, the festival ends with one more trio of performances, including horn-powered funk/soul legends Tower of Power (7pm, AEP) and even more world-class Latin jazz from Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band (7pm, WB). Have fun this weekend – Check out the full festival lineup to learn more about this year’s bands and find your own favorites.
More Shows To See This Week
Friday, July 22nd (8pm – 11pm): Icebox Redux: Improvised Music Summit at It Looks Like Its Open, 13 E. Tulane Rd., Clintonville. This intimate art space will play host to a great lineup of improvised music featuring musicians who graced promoter Gerard Cox’s Icebox Music Series in previous years. Poet, producer, and beat-box artist Napoleon Maddox (ISWHAT?!) and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani will be performing as a duo, and keyboardist Thollem McDonas will be sitting in with them. McDonas will also perform a solo electric set, and the night will open with Chipped Beef, a new group dedicated to the nutty/bizarre side of improvised music, with Jason Shapiro on tenor saxophone and electric guitar, Steve Simula on percussion and movement art, and Cox on piano. The event is BYOB, and a $5-10 donation is suggested.
Wednesday, July 27th (8pm – 11pm): knots at Brothers Drake. The return of the “knots” name to the Jazz Wednesday listings actually marks the debut of a new band. Percussionist Troy Kunkler has left the band, but keyboardist Caleb Miller is moving forward with another Radarhill bandmate! More from Miller:
I will instead (from now on) be joined by THE multi-faceted Eli Chambers (Radarhill, Melvin Grapes, Picture for You) on drums/percussion! This change has happened very recently (the past few weeks) and has truly given the project a new life/sounds of its own. We are ecstatic to continue to develop a personal sound that is reflective of our relationship/friendship and really looking towards the future.
The plan is for this show to be the last as “knots” and to begin as a new group with a new name after this show. The concept of “knots” was always that of tunes I wrote surrounding my relationship/sound-concept with Troy in mind, and since he is no longer playing, the project will change accordingly.
As for the future of this new duo (name to be announced soon), I’m currently working on writing new material that is built around the idea of us. Eli is such an amazing musician/human being and this music needs to reflect just that. New sounds that will most likely make an appearance include loops, feedback, possibly small amounts of voice, and various amounts of distortion. Looking to get a new set of recordings done this fall!
This transitional show will mainly include existing knots tunes, with the possibility of a couple new songs. Admission, as always for Jazz Wednesday, is free!
Have a great week! Below is a quick taste of some of the great bands you can see this weekend: