I had a wonderful Jazz Night Out on Friday the 6th, starting with Kneedelus at the Wexner Center. While the collaboration between Kneebody and Daedelus dates back several years, and has roots as far back as Kneebody saxophonist Ben Wendel’s and Daedelus’ Alfred Darlington’s high school days in San Diego, Friday’s performance marked the live debut of this set, centered around the forthcoming self-titled album on Brainfeeder Records. Most of the set felt like a live mix, with Daedelus providing sampled interludes, so other than the announced single “Drum Battle,” the show was largely an unnamed collage of tunes explosive, intricate, and transcendent. One of the things that struck me was the intense “percussiveness” of the set without an overwhelming amount of percussion volume.
Drummer Nate Wood was a frenzy of activity, but the results were very nuanced and delicate. Daedelus’ pronounced movements coordinated with his beats, his flopping hair providing its own silent rhythm. This perfectly synced pair set the stage for the rest of the ensemble, as Wendel’s sax and Shane Endsley’s trumpet traded and shared the spotlight whether effected or untouched, Adam Benjamin’s Rhodes elicited a range of emotions from triumph to dread, and bassist Kavesh Ravtegar provided a pulsing homebase that occasionally throbbed into the forefront. The well-honed combination of these elements led to thrilling dynamics, and a sound that ranged from a futuristic maelstrom to an organic gathering of instrumental voices. For the appreciative audience, this artful amalgam of jazz, electronica, and rock was an industrially blissful experience that was another feather in the cap of this fall’s excellent Wexner jazz season.
Later in the evening, I stopped by Dick’s Den to check out a quartet led by pianist Bob Mills. While he’s a veteran of the Columbus scene, I was largely unfamiliar with his work, and was very glad to discover a robustly swinging group of Columbus all-stars. Mills was joined on the bandstand by guitarist Don Hales, CJO bassist Chris Berg, and drummer Joe Ong, forming a quartet with an extensive resume that includes playing with many of the area’s greats. My favorite part of the night (and for much of the audience, judging by their reactions) was Berg’s work on his solos. He mixed virtuosity with warm expressiveness and a visible joy to be playing music, and was rewarded with big applause. Mills and Hales also shone in the spotlight, and Ong provided a rocksteady foundation, with occasional flash. Mills’ group provided top-notch straight ahead jazz that local fans should seek out whenever possible.
Shows To See This Week
Saturday, November 14th (7 – 9pm): Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort at Swasey Chapel, Denison University, Granville. Denison’s Vail Series is presenting a performance by Carter, one of the world’s preeminent jazz violinists, along with her talented backing band, in a program delving into her acclaimed 2014 album Southern Comfort. This release explored the folk music of the south, continuing a thread from previous releases that examined other aspects of Carter’s roots. This rare glimpse at a true international talent is free to Denison students, faculty, and staff – click here or call (740) 587-6557 for more details on admission for the public.
Sunday, November 15th (7 – 9pm): Chip Stephens, Glenn Wilson and Jim Rupp at Bungalow Jazz. This trio of piano, baritone saxophone, and drums (respectively) brings together three great musicians and educators for a special show at the bungalow. More from Becky Ogden:
Each successful bandleaders and recording artists in their own right, Chip Stephens and Glenn Wilson have been playing together for nearly 15 years since they both landed in Illinois. As jazz educators, they have nurtured a new generation of jazz musicians as well as keeping up their own busy touring and recording schedules. They are also both from NE Ohio – Chip from Ashland and Glenn from Youngstown – so they are always excited to play in Ohio. They have both played and recorded with everyone!
Chip and Glenn are working with Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra students during their regular Sunday afternoon rehearsal at the Jazz Academy and are including the Bungalow in their day. Chip visited Columbus Music Hall several times as he passed through Columbus and is a favorite! Don’t miss this session!
Monday, November 16th (7:30 – 10pm): Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra with the OSU Jazz Ensemble at Clintonville Woman’s Club. This week’s installment of this weekly big band institution brings together a band of some of the area’s finest professionals and a band of some great up-and-coming talent. Now under the direction of Kris Keith, the OSU Jazz Ensemble is recognized as a top collegiate ensemble, winning awards at regional festivals and touring internationally in recent years. This is the first of three weeks that find OSU jazz big bands joining the FJO in concert: The Jazz Lab Ensemble will play on November 23rd, and the Jazz Workshop Ensemble will play on November 30th. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.