JazzColumbus Weekly – May 1, 2014

Happy May! My last Jazzy Night Out for April was a good one. My friend Rick and I went to Rumba Cafe for Rebellum, which was billed as “Burnt Sugar Arkestra‘s Funk Splinter Cell.” The NYC-based outfit is in the middle of a tour including numerous Ohio appearances. Pictured at left are Dayton native bassist Jared Nickerson and keyboardist Leon Gruenbaum showing their Ohio love in front of Used Kids Records. With varying and lacking information across the web, I was unsure what to expect, but ended up with a huge dose of somewhat avant garde protest rockin’ jazz-funk. Or something like that. The 8-piece unit warmed up with some classic funk tunes before getting into new originals from their forthcoming debut album, The Darknuss. These songs mixed their influences with expressive social commentary, from the spiritual strut of “Who’s Loving You Now?” to the funky New Yawk slant of “Start Think­ing Like an African.” The horn players on tour were great, including “Moist” Paula Henderson belting out several mind-blowing baritone sax solos. Though the originals were impressive, my personal highlight was likely their smokin’ cover of Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” (evidence of Burnt Sugar’s Minneapolis gig for which the band was en route). Their performance also included a fun cover of Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” and rounded up with the “avant krunk” of “Spankalick.” This show was woefully under-attended, but those in the building got a thought-provoking spectacle.

Shows To See This Week

Thursday, May 1st: Tom Davis Quartet at Dicks Den. Guitarist Davis returned to Columbus earlier this year after some time abroad. As I mentioned here, his guitar and his compositions sounded great when he played with Aaron Quinn in March. He will be joined Thursday by saxophonist Eliot Scozzaro, bassist Nathan Smith, and drummer Maxwell Button, and they will aim for a “pleasing and unobtrusive” mix of originals and standards.

Friday, May 2nd: fo/mo/deep at Chez du Bon. The local explorers of all thing groove make their debut at the new downtown jazz spot. Their new album TheGroovyGoodness is scheduled for release on June 3rd, so come hear jams new, old and in between.

Wednesday, May 7th: From The Five Jazztet at Natalie’s. This new top-flight local quintet (well, four locals and trumpeter Rob Parton, who is local during the week) returns to Natalie’s with new originals and new arrangements of hard bop (and beyond) classics.

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