I kicked off July with two great Jazz Nights Out. On Wednesday, July 1st, my friend Rick and I saw the WoodWork Trio’s first set at another fine Jazz Wednesday at Brothers Drake. The young trio of Colin Wood on tenor sax, John Allen on bass, and Brian Ellerman on drums produced some relaxed swing punctuated with periodic dramatic moments. From the opening tune, Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice,” the group set a tone of understated sax material for a set of standards and originals. On the original “It’s All The Same,” Wood played smooth, soulful lines while the rhythm section laid down an unexpectedly funky groove. As I was seeing Allen and Ellerman collaborate for the second Wednesday in a row, I was struck with the amount of presence and cohesion that exists between two new college graduates, as they could hit a relaxed stride or switch things up with equal tact. This group is still developing, so I expect even greater sounds to come.
On Thursday the 2nd, I stopped in at Dick’s Den to see Cincinnati guitarist Bob Ross accompanied by the Pete Mills Trio. This performance presented a different take on Ross’ work in guitar and saxophone textures from his previous visit, and I was pleased as Ross and Mills led the way on subtle, nuanced renditions of swinging standards and artful Ross originals. The guitarist’s woodsy tune “Spheres” was a particular highlight that grew on me as it progressed, with Mills unleashing a soulful solo and bassist Greg Wolfram laying down his own contemplative passage. While drummer Zach Compston was mostly in the background maintaining a solid groove, he stepped out for multiple explosive solos that enlivened the proceedings. I hope Ross keeps making it up I-71 often and finding unique ways of giving his and others’ tunes new interpretations.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, July 10th (7:30 – 10pm): Sammy DeLeõn Y Su Orquesta at Bicentennial Park. This summer’s Rhythm on the River series of free concerts continues with a performance by these Cleveland-based purveyors of feisty Latin jazz. Cited as one of the most recognized Latin bandleaders in Ohio, Lorain native DeLeõn’s work on the timbales led legendary Latin jazz percussionist Tito Puente to call him the “hottest and most innovative timbalero.” As part of a 30 years-strong career, for the past decade he has fronted his own Orquesta, which plays a broad spectrum of dance music styles, and has gained a multi-cultural audience. Head downtown for some of the best Latin jazz around.
Saturday, July 11th (7:30 – 10pm): Dominick Farinacci & Guests at Bungalow Jazz. Trumpeter and Cleveland native Farinacci returns to town for his third show at the cozy Bungalow. Recently given the title “Global Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center” by Wynton Marsalis, Farinacci stays busy with performing and touring as well as working to integrate jazz into communities in the Middle East. For this rare performance, he will be joined by Richard Johnson on piano, Barry Stevenson on bass, and Lawrence Leathers on drums, as well as special guests Jamie Haddad on percussion and Gregory Generet on vocals. NYC-based Generet has also been earning acclaim of late, so don’t miss this chance to see some international jazz talents in a rich, intimate setting. A $20 donation is requested for admission – visit the Bungalow website for more details.
Wednesday, July 15th: Dan White Quartet at Natalie’s. Ahead of his Huntertones returning to town to play a couple of gigs next weekend over Jazz & Ribs Fest, White will take the opportunity get the weekend started early with a rare appearance by his quartet. Joined by guitarist Joshua Hill, bassist Adam DeAscentis, and drummer John Hubbell, all members of the Huntertones family, this well-balanced unit of musical equals will present a night of original compositions enhanced with fresh improvisations. This will likely be a popular homecoming show, so reserving tickets now is strongly advised.
Have a great week! Here is some footage of Farinacci at work: