I had a fun Jazz Night Out when Richard Sanford and I saw The JazzPoetry Ensemble’s tribute to Hamiet Bluiett at Dick’s Den on Sunday the 28th. Joined by Mark Donavan on baritone sax, the band’s two sets of wide-ranging funky improvised tunes with poetry and insights from leader Michael Vander Does were indeed a loving homage to a true American jazz legend. Their rendition of “Footprints,” with thoughtful verses from Vander Does, bold and classic sounds from Donavan, a funky and jagged passage from guitarist Brett Burleson, and bright features from bassist Roger Hines and drummer Roger Myers, comprised a refreshing take on a well-worn standard. “Bluiett Bluiett Bluiett” placed a zesty lead from Burleson and Donavan in the forefront before more great solo work. Keep reading for more thoughts on the show, as well as previews of great live jazz in Columbus this week.
The second set opened with Bluiett’s “Blues For The People,” which Vander Does described as very timely for this current moment in history, was equally emphatic and loose-limbed, with spirited blowing from Donavan and Vander Does (on trombone) over a funky backdrop from the rhythm section. “La Cuenta” was an appeal to the president powered by a festive Latin feel, and Bluiett’s “Blues For A Warrior Spirit” was accented by Vander Does’ reading of a new poem from the great Oliver Lake in tribute to his dearly departed colleague Bluiett. This show was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on his passage in a laid-back environment. Hope to hear more from the Ensemble and Donavan soon!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, November 2nd (10pm – 2am): NOW! That’s What I Call The 90’s with Insane Jazz Posse & The Columbus Video Game Ensemble (CVGE) at Rumba Cafe. Two of Columbus’ best groups with a pronounced nostalgic bent have teamed up for a night paying homage to the decade of the 90’s. The night will open with CVGE “playing selections from your favorite 90s video games.” Having seen them in action recently, I can attest that Danny Bauer’s ensemble will indeed conjure fusion-laced memories of game playing gone by. The night ends with Insane Jazz Posse focusing on “destroying” 90’s pop classics. Tickets are available here. In the words of Insane Jazz Posse, “It’s gonna be rad dude, don’t be a poser.”
Wednesday, November 7th (8 – 11pm): Billy Wolfe Octet & Animal Mother at Brothers Drake. This special installment of Jazz Wednesday will present two touring modern jazz acts for your mead-drinking enjoyment. Comprised of Josh Cline – Tenor Saxophone, Jon Massey – Bass, and Matt McAllister – Drums, Cincinnati’s Animal Mother’s brand of garage jazz is always striking, and I particularly enjoyed their 2017 release Golf – read my review here and listen/buy here. Led by Capital grad Billy Wolfe, the Billy Wolfe Octet will feature a variety of talented Columbus and visiting/returning musicians including Alex Burgoyne – Alto Saxophone, Clarinet; Wolfe – Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Oboe, Compositions; Joe Herrera – Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Jason Branscum – Trombone; Dylan Bram – Vibraphone; Aaron Quinn – Guitar & Effects, Compositions; Jon Massey – Bass; and Matt McAllister – Drums. Wolfe always presents an exciting program when he returns to town, and this looks to be no exception! More details on this FREE show here.
Thursday, November 8th (7 – 9pm): Vail Series Presents: Dee Dee Bridgewater at Swasey Chapel, Denison University, Granville. Denison’s Vail Series regularly brings outstanding jazz, classical, international, and beyond artists to Granville, and their 2018-19 season is kicking off with a bang! Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz giant Bridgewater (photo by Mark Higashino) has “ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics.” Her latest release is 2017’s Memphis …Yes, I’m Ready, “with which she returned to her birth city to continue the musical exploration of her roots and influences.” $15 tickets are available (as of press time) to the general public here, so get yours now to see a living legend of vocal jazz!
Have a great week! Prepare for the above shows with videos from the artists: