My Dad and I had a lovely Jazz Night Out when we saw the Columbus Jazz Orchestra’s “New Orleans One Mo’ Time” performance at the Southern Theatre on Thursday the 15th. After Byron Stripling sang a heartfelt rendition of “What A Wonderful World” against the backdrop of rare Louis Armstrong photos, this star-studded tribute to the music of the Big Easy moved quickly into a variety of tunes and styles. Chad Eby’s soprano sax was masterful on his own arrangement of Sidney Bechet’s “Petite Fleur,” giving a seductive personality to the entrancing tune. “Basin Street Blues” started with Stripling and the band singing a call and response with trio backing before the full band joined the action, a transition which brought guest trombonist Vaughn Wiester onstage for a lively solo. Wiester continued to add flavor to standards like “Blueberry Hill” and “Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight,” which found Bobby Floyd taking up the organ to add bubbling atmosphere and a testifying solo, Pete Mills delivering a blazing passage on a rare alto sax appearance, and the band jamming hard to end the first half. Keep reading for more on the show and previews of fun shows this week, including thoughts from Josh Heber on his new project Kinfolk!
“Basin Street Blues” returned to start the second set, but this version was a new arrangement by Wiester, inspired by Miles Davis’ rendition. Jim Powell’s trumpet glowed in the lead role, and Wiester’s chart was bursting with big band majesty. New Orleans drum maestro Herlin Riley then came on, second line style while working out his tambourine, to Ellis Marsalis’ “Twelve’s It,” which also featured hot tandem solos from trumpeter Dwight Adams and saxophonist Michael Cox. Eby’s masterful touch with Sidney Bechet again took the forefront on a wailing, hard-charging “Egyptian Fantasy,” followed by an Eby arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Bright Mississippi” that took the joyful tune to New Orleans with a rolling intro from Riley plus Eby and Cox trading intricate soprano sax licks. It was a treat to hear two tunes from Riley’s excellent 2016 album New Direction, especially the title track that found the drummer and his rhythm compatriots Floyd and bassist Chris Berg driving a passionate groove before Eby (tenor) and Mills (soprano) took the lead on the purposeful melody. The concert ended with “When The Saints Go Marching In,” kicking off with a drum battle between Riley and Bob Breithaupt and building into a grand finale blowing session. This was another exquisite presentation of essential American music by the talented ranks of the CJO and their guests – I think they should musically visit New Orleans every year!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, March 23rd (6 – 9pm): Jim Maneri at La Scala Restaurant. Veteran Columbus piano master Maneri recently started a weekly gig at this Dublin destination for great homemade Italian family dining. You now have a regular chance to hear his brand of solo piano “art music” on a beautiful Yamaha grand piano. Make plans now for a night of great food and drink bolstered by lively piano entertainment! Call (614) 889-9431 or click here for reservations.
Sunday, March 25th (3 – 4pm): Tea at Three: Pete Mills Quartet at Bexley Public Library. After hosting its latest Jazz at Lincoln Center Live-Stream – “Who is Mary Lou Williams” – Saturday, Bexley’s library continues its swingin’ weekend with a set by acclaimed tenor saxophonist Mills and his group. Mills will be joined by bassist John Allen, pianist Erik Augis and drummer Willie Barthel. As Mills tells me, “We will play some original music, maybe a couple new tunes of mine, and have some fun! With the dreary weather of late, we will totally play my tunes ‘Waiting for Spring’ and ‘Summer,’ my ode to my favorite season.” Grab the family for a fun free concert – Tea and cookies will be served and doors will open at 2:30pm.
Wednesday, March 28th (8 – 11pm): Kinfolk at Brothers Drake. The meadery’s Jazz Wednesday schedule continues to provide artful jazz by a variety of established and emerging outfits. Drummer Josh Heber’s new Kinfolk project enlists Stephanie “Ladybird” Rogers on Vocals, Faheem Najieb on Alto Sax, Hayden Huffman on Tenor Sax, Benjamin Crowder on Trombone, Robert Mason on Keys, Will Strickler on Bass and Heber on Drumset. The program for their debut performance Wednesday will include original tunes as well as pieces by Miles Davis, Marcus Strickland, Braxton Cook, D’Angelo, Joe Henderson, and Soweto Kinch. Heber was kind enough to provide insight into the background and vision of this exciting new band:
I organized this group of individuals based off of previous experiences with them in the projects I’ve worked in. In addition, working with people that went to school for music was also important to me. With this project I’ve have taken a step forward in organizing music as well as creating charts for the group to follow with the help and guidance of Faheem and Hayden. I feel as a drummer, it means a lot that I understand what the other instruments in the group need in order to perform a piece of music. So I have taken many steps in that direction, which has of course opened my eyes to the parts of music I do not understand. This is the overall goal of Kinfolk and that is very exciting to me. I intend on continuing booking this group and will be recording the first show to help along the way. Kinfolk will be at my residency at Dick’s Den in August. I want the focus of the project to continue to be playing beautiful challenging music!
Admission is free! Keep up with Kinfolk at their Facebook page.
Have a great week! Check out a range of videos from this week’s featured artists to prepare: