Happy July jazz fans! I hope everyone had a good Comfest weekend and is enduring the short week before the 4th. Before I get into some reviews and other schedule items, I want to highlight some family-friendly jazz options for the holiday weekend. If you are venturing down to Red, White & BOOM! on the 3rd, a highlight of the five stages of music (mostly pop/rock bands and DJs) is two half-hour sets from Mojoflo, directly before and after the fireworks, at the Nationwide Arena Stage on Nationwide Plaza. On Friday the 4th, the Swing’s The Thing Big Band will be playing the Party At The Park Series at 5:30 at Huntington Park before the Clippers take on the Toledo Mud Hens at 7:15. Also, on the lawn of the McConnell Arts Center, you can see Matt Ellis & Standard Time (5pm) and the Aladdin Shrine Temple Dixieland Band (7:30) before the Worthington fireworks at 10. It’s a great weekend for the family to see some jazz.
Some Jazz Nights (and Days) Out
On Wednesday, June 25th, I saw the finale of guitarist Stan Smith’s June residency at Dicks Den. His band for the evening included Adam Smith on keyboards, Taylor DeVault on guitar (starting with the 2nd set), Roger Hines on bass, Ryan Jewell on drums, and Ron Hope on percussion. The opening set was my favorite kind of jazz fusion. Stan Smith played some exotic solo improvisations that would then flow into funk/rock group jams. Hines’ acoustic bass was the rock solid foundation of these tunes, thumping out a chunky, soulful groove that was impossible to deny. Jewell’s work on the drum set was locked in with Hines, stuttering with style yet keeping the band on task. Adam Smith did some menacing work on his moog keyboard, and Hope’s congas and cowbells added some Latin flourishes. The second set started out similarly, with Devault and Stan Smith exploding into tandem guitar fireworks. Then Hines moved to electric bass and the tunes took on a more gentle, ethereal tone that could still stop and start at a moment’s notice. A great night of various fusion styles.
Because of the excellent Friday afternoon jazz schedule at Comfest this year, I made a point to get down to Goodale Park and check it out. The Tom Davis Quartet provided a mellow groove that worked well for easing into the weekend. Featuring Davis and Aaron Quinn on guitar, Greg Wolfram on bass, and Maxwell Button on drums, the group churned out some soul on “Kenny Ken” and a more contemplative sound on “Blooper,” both Davis originals. Next up was the Patrick Overturf Quintet. The young vibist also featured Quinn on guitar (after a break on the next set, Quinn returned with Liver Quiver for his 3rd set out of 4!) and Chase Potter on violin on a set of originals and covers. The band took on a couple works by composer Erik Satie, including the classic “Gymnopedie No. 1.” I was caught off-guard by their fast, rock-tinged take on the song, but I eventually got the hang of it and enjoyed this new treatment of one of my favorites.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, July 4th: Roger Hines & Co. at Dick’s Den. Dick’s is always a dependable source of jazz on holidays. Hines, Stan Smith, Ryan Jewell, and Brett Burleson (guitar) will provide a patriotic strain of fusion sounds.
Wednesday, July 9th: Dubfunk Quartet at Brothers Drake. After making their debut there in March, this new quartet returns to Jazz Wednesday. These members of Mojoflo and other local bands will play their own “contemporary take on classic Jazz, Soul, and Funk music.”