I had a very enjoyable Jazz Night Out when I saw Columbus Jazz Orchestra’s “Standards & Strings” program on Saturday, March 19th. This was the first CJO show I had seen in some time, and I was immediately reminded of the breadth of talent that I had been missing. The first half of the program was a varied presentation of instrumentals and vocal standards, the latter employing leads from bandleader Byron Stripling and local CEO George Barrett. The orchestra’s spirited rendition of “Sunny” featured Stripling’s trumpet in the forefront, with Bobby Floyd’s organ adding a soulful edge, especially on his cooking solo. Jelly Roll Morton’s “Black Bottom Stomp” spread the spotlight, with Stripling’s trumpet, Hal Melia’s clarinet, Linda Landis’ trombone, and the string ensemble all getting time to shine. A fiery take on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night In Tunisia” ended the first half, with an intro by the strings, including bassist Chris Berg, giving way to trumpeter Dwight Adams and saxophonist Shawn “Thunder” Wallace trading leads and solos before an explosive conclusion.
The second half of the show put Count Basie Orchestra vocalist Carmen Bradford in the limelight, and she was a wonderful treat. She ripped into “Honeysuckle Rose” right out of the gate with a smoking scat solo, and didn’t look back. The call and response between Bradford and the orchestra on “A Tisket, A Tasket” was very entertaining, and the combination of Adams’ simmering flugelhorn and Bradford’s sustained lead on “Young and Foolish” was an excellent pairing. My favorite tune of the night was likely the showstopping “You Don’t Know Me,” an unaccompanied duet between Floyd’s gritty, gospel-drenched organ and Bradford’s powerful vocals. Beyond her vocal offerings, Bradford also shared some great stories of her time with Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. After a great concert, the crowd begged for an encore and received a vocal duet of “Sweet Georgia Brown,” with Stripling and Bradford trading fiery vocals and Pete Mills contributing a swinging clarinet solo. This was a great show, and a great refresher on the world-class music available from the CJO.
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, March 24th (8pm – 11pm): Diego Figueiredo and Moises Borges at Sidebar Columbus. While Richard Lopez’s weekly duo gig continues on the first floor – he will be joined this week by bassist Doug Richeson – there is another great show being held on the second floor of the bar and restaurant. Brazilian guitarist Figueiredo is in the middle of an American tour and stopping in town to show why he’s a rising star of the jazz world. At the age of 35, he has already released 23 albums and played with greats including Gilberto Gil, João Bosco, Roberto Menescal, Larry Coryell, Ken Peplowski, Lewis Nash, John Clayton, Cyrille Aimée and more. Figueiredo has recently been performing a program entitled “From the Classical to the Jazz,” which explores a fusion between jazz, bossa nova and classical music. He will be joined by Borges, another native Brazilian guitarist now based in Cleveland. Tickets are $30 at the door.
Friday, March 25th (8pm – 10pm): Christopher Hoyte’s 614 Trio at New Harvest Cafe & Urban Arts Center, 1675 Arlington Ave, Linden. In the first jazz show at this Linden soul food restaurant and arts center in 2016, saxophonist Hoyte (The Jazz Experiment) will be joined by a top-notch rhythm section of bassist Jeff Bass and drummer Justin Campbell, who is Hoyte’s younger brother. Campbell tells me that the band “will be playing a wide variety of tunes from Joe Henderson, Jaco Pastorius, and Herbie Hancock all the way to The Beatles.” Admission is $6.
Saturday, March 26th (10pm – 2am): Billy Wolfe‘s Tristano School Project at Dick’s Den. Saxophonist Wolfe is returning to Columbus for the weekend and reuniting a band in the process. More from Wolfe:
I’m reviving a project I brought to Columbus back in 2011 & 2012 by doing a concert of music that celebrates the Tristano School (the music of pianist Lennie Tristano and his students – Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Ted Brown). In addition, we will be performing some original compositions in that vein by Mark Turner, Mark Flugge, and myself. It’s a great band featuring some outstanding players, including my good friend David McDonald who is the current drummer for The Airmen of Note.
The band is:
Corbin Andrick – Alto Saxophone (Chicago)
Billy Wolfe – Tenor Saxophone (Washington, DC)
Joey Skoch – Piano (Chicago/formerly Columbus)
Zakk Jones – Guitar (Columbus)
Roger Hines – Bass (Columbus)
David McDonald – Drums (Washington, DC)
An amazing amount of talent for a mere $4 cover!
Have a great week! Here’s video of some of these artists in action: