I had a fine Jazz Night Out when I saw a set of the Rorschach Quartet at Brothers Drake on March 18th. The group of Brian Lang (tenor and soprano sax), Dean Marcellana (keyboards), Greg Wolfram (upright bass) and Ryan Jewell (drums) hit hard out of the gate with an introduction of the Star Wars “Imperial March” that led into a full-on jazz-funk jam with some heavy keys by Marcellana. Lang told me later that this original tune is the band’s intro/outro theme, a la the Miles Davis Quintet of yesteryear – I wish I could have stayed to hear it again. The band’s continuing mission of reaching a broader audience through usage of popular (and popular culture) tunes was in full force (well, for me, at least) with their swirling rendition of the Game of Thrones theme, with strong soprano by Lang and another serious solo by Marcellana. The rest of the set was just as eclectic, as the band revisited Nirvana, Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd (an excellently relaxed take on “Money”) and more. The band plays around town often, so look out for another gig in the near future to hear some great modern jazz imbued with nostalgia.
Shows To See This Week
Friday, March 27th: Ishmael Ali’s Zebec at Dick’s Den. In similar fashion to the November tour that brought this modern jazz collective to town, Chicago-based guitarist/composer Ali and crew have hit the road again now that spring is upon us. The Columbus native will be joined on stage by Thom Caminito (soprano sax), Natalie Lande (alto sax), Billy Wolfe (tenor sax), David Fletcher (trombone), Mike Humpherys (bass), and Matt Carroll (drum set). Ali tells me that the band has worked up some new material in preparation for the tour, and more recording is anticipated for the near future. This show serves as Wolfe’s birthday bash, so come out for a party!
Sunday, March 29th (5 – 7pm): Brazilian Jazz featuring Stan Smith and Danny Aguiar at T.Y. Fine Furniture, 106 East Moler Street. This latest installment of the 2015 Merion Village Music Series brings some warm Brazilian jazz to this intimate furniture showroom. Guitarist Smith and drummer Aguiar, along with Jeff Bass on bass and Kris Keith on woodwinds, will be delving into styles like maracatu, samba, and bossa nova weaved together with jazz fusion. Click here for advance tickets and get there early – seats are limited to 50, available on a first come first served basis.
Wednesday, April 1st: knots at Brothers Drake. Earlier this year, with little fanfare, the duo of keyboardist Caleb Miller and drummer Troy Kunkler released an EP entitled Doesn’t Do Anything Around the End, a six song release recorded at Oranjudio Recording Studio last summer. The collection is a good roundup of their frenetic style to date, including personal favorites like “What You Can Always Hold” and “From Nowhere.” Miller filled me in on the band’s recent undertakings:
As of lately Troy and I have been working mainly on writing new tunes (ones written together and separately, which is a new combination of writing for us, together and individually), preparing to record this summer (date/time-frame to be determined, really looking to make this our first real record, something that is not just a “collection of recordings” but something that has more of an intention/more material behind it), adding/evolving older material (some of the material now has new sections/material added and taken away from it) and experimenting with new sounds for the ensemble (I’ve been using a new MS-20 synth I recently got, Troy’s been playing more melodic material on glockenspiel).
Look out for more from them in the near future. knots is also playing Carabar on Thursday, April 9th.
Have a great week! Here is a Zebec track off of their latest album: