Happy Thanksgiving jazz fans! I hope everyone is looking forward to meals, gathering with family and friends, and any other traditions you may enjoy. Of course, I know that people often need a break from extended family time, or just need options in general, so I’m coming to you a day early to make sure you know about your opportunities for live jazz over the weekend. In a break from my usual format, here are my picks for each night of the holiday weekend so you can plan your escape (or bring the family along) accordingly (All of your options are listed in our calendar):
Wednesday, November 26th: At 7:30pm, ragtime pianist Terry Waldo will be playing his annual Birthday Bash (amid his annual return home to Columbus from NYC) at Bungalow Jazz. A protege of the legendary Eubie Blake, Waldo is a can’t-miss performer for fans of traditional jazz. And for jazz with a (much) more modern bent, don’t forget about Ishmael Ali’s Zebec at Brothers Drake at 8pm.
Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 27th): As is traditionally the case, Dicks Den remains the best and only option for live jazz on Thanksgiving evening. This year’s band boasts an all-star lineup of Randy Mather (tenor sax), Jim Maneri (piano), Brett Burleson (guitar), Roger Hines (bass), and Aaron Scott (drums). The festivities start at 10pm and will go all night long.
Friday, November 28th: For those needing to work off some turkey, Friday offers the best combinations of jazz and exercise this weekend. The 17-piece Swing’s The Thing Big Band will be playing their monthly swing (plus foxtrot, tango, cha cha, waltz, mambo, etc.!) dance party at Emerald City Ballroom, starting at 8pm. But if your dance groove is more modern and electronic, veteran “jazz-tronica” band Playhouse will be throwing down their energetic blend of house music, jazz, and R&B at Brothers Drake starting around 10pm.
Saturday, November 29th: If you haven’t eaten enough yet at this point, the highlight of three quality “dinner jazz” options is the reestablishment of trio jazz at Hyde Park in Upper Arlington. After programming solo lounge piano on Saturdays for several months, the Dave DeWitt TRio (DeWitt on piano, Derek DiCenzo on bass, Aaron Scott on drums) has played a couple successful shows there in recent weeks and the restaurant has decided to make theirs a weekly gig, starting at 7pm. Keep that in mind for your holiday dining options!
If you’re looking to party later Saturday night, you can’t go wrong with either the festive New Orleans big band-styled jazz of the New Basics Brass Band at Natalie’s or Daddy Romance at Dick’s Den, both starting at 10pm. Daddy Romance is a reunion of one-time-or-another Dick’s regulars (Joe Crump on tenor sax, Jim Maneri on piano, Roger Hines on bass, and Jimmy Castoe on drums) paying tribute to a bygone era of Columbus nightlife. From Maneri:
Daddy Romance is a band named for the nickname of Alvin Valentine who was the last great Hammond B3 Organ guy who played nightly on Long St. – Mt. Vernon Ave and played that happy, groovin’, bluesy jazz that filled the bars with happy drunken working-class people. He worked out there through the ’90s and died just a few years ago. All of the members of Daddy Romance played with him in one fashion or another, and we do our darndest to recreate that happy magic of soulful rocking jazz to a new generation when we play – without the B3 though.
Sunday, November 30th: The Derek DiCenzo Trio plays their monthly brunch gig at Natalie’s from noon – 2pm, one of three fine choices for Sunday jazz brunch. At 5pm, pianist Dave Powers will lead the last 2014 show of his House Jazz Concert Series at Clintonville Woman’s Club. This concert is his annual holiday show, which will feature Powers with guitarist Dennis Hodges and drummer Louis Tsamous, along with some surprise special guests.
Have a great Thanksgiving! Here’s an educational performance from Terry Waldo: