Part of our Memorial Day Jazz Guide is info on a sad occasion in the Columbus jazz community. Beyond being a welcoming institution at the bar, Richard Conner served as doorman at Dick’s Den for over 20 years before he recently passed away. Dick’s Den invites his family and friends to a celebration of his life at the bar on Sunday, May 26th from 6pm until midnight. The event is a potluck, and the program includes storytellers from 6-7pm; solo rock sets from 7-9; stories, poems and dedications from 9-10; and an open jazz jam from 10pm onward. The house band will feature Brett Burleson on guitar, Joe Nelson on drums, Jim Maneri on keys, and Matt Paetsch on bass. Grab your horn and come down to honor a welcoming presence in the jazz scene and the neighborhood. Rest in Peace Richard. Keep reading for info on many more great jazz options for the holiday weekend.
Friday, May 24th: The weekend kicks off with reliable weekly and monthly gigs, including saxophonist Anthony Jackson with guests Grant Kendricks on drums and Richard Hennacey on guitar at Two Truths (Short North) at 5pm, smooth jazz saxophonist Andrew Waters at Vittoria Ristorante at 6pm, Danny Bauer Trio at Black Point at 6:30pm, and violinist Stephen Spottswood & The Symphonic Soul at The Westin Great Southern Columbus Bar Downtown at 6:30pm. The Feel Good Fridays series at The Idle-A-While Supper Club on the East Side presents funky smooth jazz titans NexLevel at 8pm – info here. Keyboardist Paul Strawser makes his debut as a bandleader, leading a Quartet “playing music by Wayne Shorter, Hermeto Pascoal, Eric Dolphy, David Murray, and much more” at Filament at The Vanderelli Room in Franklinton at 9pm – info here. Jazz fusion supergroup returns to Natalie’s for their always popular two-night tribute to jazz-rock icons Steely Dan at 9:30pm – info here – table seats are sold out. And organ maestro Tony Monaco brings a Quartet of Randy Mather on sax, Tony McClung on drums and Zakk Jones on guitar to Dick’s Den at 10pm – cover is $5.
Saturday, May 25th: Daytime family friendly options include an appearance by Anna & The Consequences at Clintonville Farmers’ Market at 10am, and the Ogun Meji Duo of Eddie Bayard & Mark Lomax (1:30pm) followed by a “So you want REVOLUTION” keynote speech by Lomax (3pm) at the Malcolm X Revolutionary Festival at the Millennium Community School (3250 Refugee Road, East Side). Dining and drinking options abound, like: guitarist Gabe Koempel at Camelot Cellars (Olde Towne East) at 6pm, the trio of Lucas Holmes, Addison Smith & Bradley Mellen at Market District Kitchen & Bar (Bexley) at 6pm, Swingin’ Saturdays with hot jazz outfit RedHotBux at Basil Thai Restaurant Upper Arlington at 6pm, the evergreen Dave DeWitt TRio at Hyde Park Arlington at 7pm, cool Brazilian-inflected vocals from Maggie Green Trio at Black Point at 7pm, and the rock-infused Doug Hare Trio at The Olde Oak in Olde Towne East at 7:30pm. “Interface No. 5,” the next installment of Turner Matthews’ Residency Series presented by Fuse Factory at It Looks Like It’s Open Studio in Clintonville, features Matthews with Indianapolis-based composer, performer, and instrument builder Rob Funkhouser and more local musicians at 8pm – info here. The Velvet Sirens continue their monthly residency with great jazz and swing standards highlighting the ukulele at Club Diversity at 9pm. FLIPPO plays the second night of its Tribute to Steely Dan at Natalie’s at 9:30pm – info here – table seats are sold out. And the soulful collective of Jcam (Justin Campbell) & Friends entertain at The Walrus Downtown at 10pm.
Sunday, May 26th: Guitarist Doug Neel continues his brunch duo series with the great Stan Smith at Market District Kitchen & Bar in Bexley at 11:30am, which is also when Erik Augis Trio kicks off their long-running brunch gig at Third and Hollywood. The fourth annual Jeni’s Strawberry Jam at Land-Grant Brewing Company in Franklinton presents a varied lineup that includes Razzamatazz & Jazz at 12:45pm and Waves de Ache at 4pm – info here. For great local brews with jazz, 3pm brings an Open Jazz Jam at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Taproom (Downtown) and the final weekly May appearance by the Tom Davis Duo at Loose Rail Brewing (Canal Winchester). The Idle-A-While Supper Club presents its Jazz Brunch & Buffet starting at 2pm, with the soulful Hosea’s State of Mind playing at 4pm – info here. The Bobby Floyd Showcase at Notes continues with Baton Rouge, LA trumpeter George Bell accompanied by the Bobby Floyd Trio at 6pm – tickets here. The two floors of Natalie’s will be filled with jazz Sunday night, as the classic vocals of Dick Mackey and his Quintet hit Natalie’s – info here – and the monthly Whiskey and Jazz series featuring The Pocketbooks returns to The Light of Seven Matchsticks basement speakeasy – info here, both starting at 8pm.
Monday, May 27th – Memorial Day: While the jazz schedule on the holiday proper is lighter, there are still two robust options that we know of. The 2019 Bexley Jazz in the Park Series at Havenwood Park kicks off with Tony Monaco Trio and a Food Truck Festival at 4:30pm. And Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra’s weekly stand continues with another great night of timeless big band jazz at Clintonville Woman’s Club at 7:30pm.
Have a great week and a safe Memorial Day holiday!