I had a fantastic Jazz Afternoon Out when I saw the third annual Mark Flugge Memorial Concert at Capital’s Mees Hall on Sunday the 5th. Through the hard work of organizers Lisa Jelle and Erika Flugge, with help from many others, the event continued its tradition of paying homage to pianist Mark Flugge’s musical and educational legacy. After a sunny opening take on Duke Ellington’s “In A Mellow Tone” by pianist Nate Shaw and his trio, a second trio led by bassist Marty Quinn took the stage. Joined by pianist Danny Bauer and drummer Ryan Folger, Quinn, the 2016 Capital University Mark Flugge Jazz Award winner, opened their version of Flugge’s “February’s Promise” with a broad and expressive solo, and the piece expanded into some dynamic group playing. Later, Patrick Overturf’s solo vibraphone rendition of the same tune reflected different angles of the composition with vibrant colors, earning a hearty response from the audience. The first half ended with a three song “mini-set” by a quartet led by saxophonist Michael Cox. Vocalist Lisa Clark gave a light and theatrical treatment to Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It,” and “Yarnek,” the Flugge tune that ended the set, featured a mystic and rumbling intro from bassist Andy Woodson and a muscular solo from drummer Louis Tsamous. The song will be one of four Flugge pieces on Cox’s forthcoming album, which should be quite the release.
The second set was performed by Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra, and included three new arrangements commissioned by the Mark Flugge Memorial Fund for the concert. Bookended with orchestral passages brightened by Jelle’s flute, the FJO showed its strength and flair for the dramatic in the body of Bill Evans’ “Waltz for Debby.” John Fedchock’s new arrangement of Flugge’s “The Borderland” showcased the band’s sections working in powerful congress, and the rhythm section’s Terry Douds (bass) and Jim Luellen (piano) contributed top-flight solo work. Finale “Action Planet,” another new arrangement by the FJO’s Bob Larson, took an impressive concert to another level with a fiery interpretation of the piece’s Latin feel, powered by solos from guest tenor saxophonist Rich Shanklin and Jelle and concluding with a towering full band groove. This was another great showcase of Flugge’s compositions and influence along with the deep roster of talented performers whose lives Flugge touched. Planning is underway for another concert next year and A Chamber Jazz Christmas: Mark Flugge Remembered this holiday season – stay tuned for more details!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, June 10th (10pm – 2am): Doug Neel 5tet at Dick’s Den. Guitarist (and trombonist, etc.) Neel returns to the leader slot at Dick’s for a night presenting original compositions by Neel and saxophonist Matt Adams. The all-star quintet also features Tony Bonardi on keyboards, Jeff Bass on electric bass, and Reggie Jackson on drums. Ring in your weekend right with a $4 display of new music by some of the area’s best musicians.
Saturday, June 11th (6:30 – 9pm): Rick Brunetto Big Band at Alum Creek Amphitheater, Westerville. The long-running big band will be initiating the new Jazz At The Amp Outdoor Jazz Series presented by Jazz 98.5FM and the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department. Dedicated to exposing local audiences to the wide range of great jazz styles that can be heard in town (and around the world), this monthly series will bring top-notch live jazz to the pleasant open air environs of the Westerville amphitheater. Fronted by the classy vocals of Michael Phillips and Tia Harris, expect the Brunetto band to put on a great display of classic jazz and pop tunes played by an excellent cast.
Wednesday, June 15th (6pm – 9pm): The ES Quintet at Easton Town Center. This new quintet kicks off a three week run of great outdoor jazz as part of the Easton Sounds On The Town summer concert series. Vocalist Emily Syring leads a group that will include Andrew Willard on keyboards, Jeff Bass on bass and Matthiessen Nisch Quan on drums along with guests Dennis Hodges (guitar), Kevin O’Neill (saxophone/flute) and Aroh Pandit on trumpet. The band will perform “great traditional jazz standards, mixed with latin & contemporary arrangements of modern and classic tunes.” This free concert is another great way to enjoy almost-summer weather and outstanding live jazz.
Have a great week! Here is a preview of some of these upcoming shows: