Before a live review and holiday weekend previews, there are updates for the week ahead. Internationally-known violinist Christian Howes’ Creative Strings Festival returns for its 15th annual installment next week. The Creative Strings Workshop (CSW) will unite over 100 string players for workshops and performances from July 2nd through 7th. Public performance highlights include Howes with CSW faculty like Jason Anick, Nicole Yarling, Mike Forfia and more at Natalie’s on Wednesday, July 5th at 8:30pm, “Come Together: Concert and Conversation” featuring drummer Cedric Easton’s Circle of Friends and over 75 musicians from the Creative Strings Orchestra at the United Methodist Church for All People on Thursday, July 6th at 6:30pm, and a grand finale concert at the William St. United Methodist Church in Delaware on Friday, July 7th at 7pm. Click here for full schedule details. Also, with some new developments today, there are two jazz events on our calendar for Tuesday, the 4th of July. First, guitarist Gabe Koempel will lend some jazzy guitar to the annual Stars & Grapes event at Camelot Cellars in Olde Towne East from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Second, the buoyant jazz-pop stylings of the Liz Woolley Band will fill the air at the Worthington Family Picnic at the McConnell Arts Center from 7:30 to 9:30pm before the Worthington fireworks start at 10pm. Happy 4th!
A Jazzy Afternoon Out
My mom and I had a great time seeing the Phil Clark Sunday Gospel Showcase on June 25th at Notes. Phil Clark assembled a world-class band to honor great gospel music, like that of Bishop Walter Hawkins and The Reverend Andrae Crouch. Before the performance, I knew Clark as primarily a vocalist/saxophonist, but his work on the keys and mic were equally powerful in leading this gospel celebration. Vocalists Quan Howell and Camille Betton were exceptional, whether leading or adding backing flavor, as Howell testified beautifully on Rev. James Cleveland’s “God Has Smiled On Me” and Betton’s provided a burning lead for Hawkins’ “Thank You Lord.” It’s always a treat to hear Bobby Floyd on organ, and he contributed some excellent solos, like a relentless turn on “They Shall Be Mine.” Guitarist Jeff Passifiume is apparently relatively new to playing gospel, but his skill set was more than ample for the band’s sanctified soul. The high-powered pair of Dwight Bailey on bass and Reggie Jackson on drums were rock-solid as ever, and guided the proceedings with graceful finesse. This was a top-notch exposure to powerful music that I’m not very familiar with – I hope plans come together for this band to play again soon!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, June 30th (7 – 9pm) Vegan Soul Jazz with Ebb & Flow Jazz Band at Long Street Studios, 300 E. Long Street. After taking a few months off, the Vegan Soul Jazz series is back to kickoff summer with another excellent combination of vegan cuisine and live jazz. Willowbeez SoulVeg is once again doing the cooking, providing a “3 course meal of vegan summertime goodness” that is sure to please. Columbus’ Ebb & Flow Jazz Band will play their soulful blend of jazz and R&B with a lineup of keyboardist/vocalist Kai Binford Sr., vocalist Tina Allen, saxophonist/vocalist Kente Binford, drummer Kai Binford II, guitarist Fraizelle Eberhardt, and bassist Jesse Leonard. Tickets are only $25 and cover the music and meal – get them here while they last!
Saturday, July 1st (7:30 – 10:30pm): Kelly McLennan Trio at Black Point. Esteemed Columbus vocalist McLennan kicks off July at this Short North/Downtown home for trio jazz. She will be joined by a rare lineup of pianist Robert Mason and bassist Terry Douds, both adding their own feel to a night of straight-ahead jazz. Expect a summery spread of standards and more that should go down well with steak and sushi! No cover, reservations suggested.
Sunday, July 2nd (2 – 5pm): Sunday Brunch & Jazz with Michael Kahn at The Idle-A-While House Restaurant. After hosting Urban Jazz Coalition on Friday and Safety Squad Saturday, this East Side hotspot for live jazz (and more) and delicious American Cuisine with a Southern twist wraps up a jazzy weekend with a brunch performance by one of Columbus’ finest saxophonists. Kahn’s smooth, soulful grooves sound perfect for a summer holiday Sunday. As always, admission to the Idle-A-While is free but making reservations (more info here) is strongly suggested!
Have a great week and a great holiday!