I had a fantastic Jazz Night Out when I saw the Vijay Iyer Sextet play the Wexner Center season finale on Saturday the 20th with my wife and friends. Joined by a world-class band, the pianist led the group through compositions from its forthcoming debut for ECM Records. Iyer’s solo introduction to opener “Far From Over” was aptly reminiscent of a gathering storm, as the front line horns (Graham Haynes on cornet, Steve Lehman on alto sax, and Mark Shim on tenor sax) soon unleashed a broad and menacing chorus. The trio then played short solos in a round, before providing rugged backing for a wide-ranging flurry of chords from Iyer, and the tune ended with an explosive solo by drummer Justin Brown. While elements of improvised free jazz were expected by yours truly, I was pleasantly surprised by the funky overtones of several tunes and passages, and the versatile unit was certainly ready to tackle shifting styles. Prolific bassist Stephan Crump was an unstoppable musical and visual force, as his steadfast and creative rhythms guided the proceedings and his joyful energy was impossible to miss. This was an excellent end to a thrilling season – can’t wait for next year, and Iyer’s new album!
Shows To See This Week
Saturday, May 27th: Liquid Crystal Project and The Trio at Melanincholy Festival, Milo-Grogan Community Recreation Center, 862 E 2nd Avenue. The second installment of this bi-annual festival, whose mission is “to showcase and support artists and musicians of color” features three days of music, film, poetry, fine arts, workshops, and family centered activities. The music lineup includes a wide variety of local and regional acts, covering many genres including rock, soul, hip-hop, funk, blues and more. Jazz is represented by two acts with added soul, hip-hop and electronic elements. “Jazzhop Movement” veterans Liquid Crystal Project play Saturday at 1:45pm for a set of high-powered grooves, and Mansfield’s The Trio, whose 2016 mixtape HYPE is certainly worth a listen, bring their own organic blend of jazz, hip-hop and electronic sounds to the stage at 6:45pm. Admission is free for all ages, but donations are encouraged at the door and online here to support the performing artists. Check out the full lineup of this exciting community event here.
Sunday, May 28th (6:30 – 10:30pm): NiNi Love JazzySide Quintet Memorial Day Celebration, Nathan’s Main Street Pub, Reynoldsburg. After a Saturday night show at The Savoy Club, the NiNi Love JazzySide Quintet play again Sunday to celebrate the holiday weekend and a new location for their weekly Sunday night session. Vocalist Nini Love and her JazzySide group, which counts Mr. Fidor (keyboards, music director), Cleve Brown (drums), Doc (bass), Eddie McNeal (guitar) and John Carson (saxophone) among its members, will be putting their jazzy twist on a range of great tunes, like favorite jazz standards, 70s, 80s, 90s and current R&B, classic rock hits, and even a few originals. Dewayne Cupe will DJ the festivities, the pub offers great food, and guitarist McNeal will be celebrating a birthday! A great occasion to party on the holiday weekend – As the band says, “It’s not just Jazz – It’s Jazz-y…and Funky…and Sultry…and…”
Thursday, June 1st (7:30 – 9:30pm): Erin Bode Group at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Powell. St. Louis vocalist Bode and her family-friendly group will stop through the area on a regional tour. Bode’s discography now includes her seventh album, 2016’s Here and Now, where she took on standards from writers like Irving Berlin and Frank Loesser, Rickie Lee Jones and Gerry Rafferty with sophisticated arrangements and Midwestern charm. Her band often includes pianist Adam Maness, drummer Derrek Phillips and bassist Syd Rodway, Bode’s husband. Ticket info is available here.
Have a great week! Check out this week’s featured artists via video: