JazzColumbus Weekly ā€“ October 15, 2015

I had a great Jazz Night Out when I saw the first night of Huntertones’ two-night live recording performance at Natalie’s on October 7th. The band was very vocal about their joy in returning to their Columbus roots, and the packed house returned the love enthusiastically. The two sets ran the gamut of the band’s recorded history, going back to their “Heart of Gold/Two Step” mashup and “Hot Sauce Williams” from 2012’s New York Sessions, the latter of which featured a scorching solo from Akron’s Theron Brown, and forward to tracks from their brand new self-titled EP, which will be released on November 20th (a JazzColumbus review of the EP is forthcoming). Of the new batch, “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” composed by trombonist Chris Ott, was an excellent exploration of the band’s styles and influences, mixing sultry soul-jazz, slinky horn lines, and some rock flavors brought forth by guitarist Joshua Hill and bassist Jeff Bass. Another Ott piece, “Hip Mr. Hampton,” found the horn players converting to their saxophone, sousaphone, and beatbox trio formation to bombastic results. It was a terrific night of world-wise modern jazz, and should produce a great live album!

Shows To See This Week

Thursday, October 15th (9 – 11pm): Greg Abate Quartet with Bobby Floyd at Natalie’s. A rich October jazz calendar at one of Columbus’ finest live music venues continues with this appearance by a renowned hero of modern jazz saxophone. Abate’s well-received 2014 quartet album Motif presents him on alto sax, for which he is best known, but also on soprano and baritone saxophones as well as flute, showcasing his wide woodwind expertise. His next album, slated for release in January on the Whaling City Sound label, is a double album pairing Abate with alto legend Phil Woods, who unfortunately passed away on September 29th, and the Tim Ray Trio. For this special Columbus performance, Abate will be joined by a group of Ohio all-stars, including Floyd on piano, CJO’s Chris Berg on bass, and Lee McKinney on drums. Advance tickets are highly recommended, and available here.

Thursday, October 15th (9 – midnight): The Claudettes at The Walrus. Founded in 2010 when Miss Claudette of Claudette’s Bar in Oglesby, Illinois booked them for a show that became a house band gig, the Chicago-based duo of Johnny Iguana (piano) and Michael Caskey (drums) has a broad collective resume in blues, jazz, and more. Iguana was in the Junior Wells band for several years, starting at the age of 23, and toured with Otis Rush amongst others; Caskey is a Downbeat magazine award winner and played with everyone from Koko Taylor to Chuck Mangione to Marvin Hamlisch to John Sinclair. The duo’s core instrumental sound is said to be inspired by the piano-drums blues of Otis Spann and S.P. Leary – my personal take is something like early 1960s Ramsey Lewis piano-driven soul jazz, if he was raised in a saloon. The band recently expanded to a trio with the addition of singer/dancer Yana – on their new album No Hotel, she contributes some 1960s French “ye-ye” songs, like the immortal “Laissez Tomber Les Filles” (aka “Chick Habit”), for some other-worldly sex appeal. This should be a unique performance and another great opportunity to check out this new downtown hotspot.

Sunday, October 18th (3 – 5pm): Jazz At The MAC: 100 Years of Billie Holiday at the McConnell Arts Center. Drummer Aaron Scott is inaugurating an exciting new series at the Worthington arts complex with this performance honoring the centennial of both Holiday’s birth and the construction of the building that became the McConnell Arts Center. Veteran local vocalist Jeannette Williams, who worked with Hank Marr and once performed with Sarah Vaughan at the Palace Theatre, will front a top-notch band that features Bobby Floyd on piano, Derek DiCenzo on bass, and Scott on drums. I hear tickets are moving fast – click here for more info. The next installment of Jazz At The MAC will be a very special From The Five Jazztet Tribute To The Music of Mark Flugge performance on Sunday, March 6th, at 3pm. As Scott told me, “Iā€™m excited to present local and regional musicians in a great concert environment at the MAC,” so stay tuned for more great shows to come!

Have a great week! Here’s a video sampler of the wonderful artists performing this weekend:

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