My run of October Jazz Nights Out (see last week’s column) continued on Tuesday the 8th with my inaugural visit to the Park Street Tavern Tuesday Jazz Jam. This weekly jam is now in its tenth year, and saxophonist Pete Mills leads the house band, which also includes keyboardist Erik Augis, bassist Greg Wolfram, and drummer Zach Compston. Augis had a schedule conflict, so the up and coming Danny Bauer held down his chair. The first set, which is always manned by the host band, featured several tunes with Mills’ warm tone upfront, including the lovely ballad “Star Crossed Lovers,” one of the saxophonist’s favorites (which he performed on his latest album Sweet Shadow). Vocalist Adrienne Hindmarsh, in a one-night stop in Columbus, sang several sunny standards to end the set, like “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “Corcovado.” The jam opened up to all the players in the audience for the second set, as guitarist Tom Davis joined the band and some younger musicians got a chance to take on some classics. The Jazz Jam is a great place for Tuesday night jazz in Columbus, where you can see current and future greats in a casual atmosphere.
On Wednesday, my friend Rick and I caught the second set of keyboardist Bauer’s tribute to Chris Potter’s Underground band at Brothers Drake. The quartet of Bauer, Compston, Bryan Olsheski (tenor sax), and Josh Hill (guitar) sounded great, and did an admirable job of honoring the innovative yet funky style of Potter’s group. The set opened with “Viva Las Vilnius,” which employed a mesmerizing groove that set the stage for a haunting solo by Olsheski before the band joined in a rousing finale jam. Next was “Pop Tune #1,” a smooth track featuring Hill, who slowly ascended into a rocking climax before Olsheski led the tune through soulful waters. Bauer rose to the forefront of the thrillingly uneven “Train,” which used restless repetition to great effect. After three great Potter tunes, my favorite of the set was likely the finale, a Bauer original, whose twinkling keys guided the song into some soaring electric blues from Hill and some soulful wailing from Olsheski before the group hit a unison groove to conclude.
On Thursday, I stopped in at Dicks Den to check out the Jumbo Chimps. The local quintet travels mostly in jam band circles, but carries a strong amount of modern groove in its wide-ranging repertoire. The band’s originals often feature the vocals of guitarist Mark Gonzalez and usually reside in rock territory. Mixed amongst these tunes and classic covers like “Bad Moon Rising” (which had a long, funky middle section of Maceo Parker’s “Shake Everything You Got”) and “The Harder They Come” were some modern jazz/fusion tunes that are rarely heard in town. Their take on Charlie Hunter’s “Rhythm Music Rides Again” (from Hunter’s Songs From The Analog Playground, which is also where fo/mo/deep found “Mitch Better Have My Bunny”) had more of a funk-rock style than the original, with a strong solo from saxophonist Joe Loyer. The band came through even funkier on Will Bernard’s “Close Shave,” with more blowing from Loyer and sparkly keys by Ryan Paradise. The Jumbo Chimps’ setlists are too varied to call them a “jazz band,” but they pack plenty of groove for the more open-minded, “genre-less” listener.
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, October 16th: Maxwell Button Presents The Music of Thelonious Monk at Dick’s Den. Drummer Button continues his monthly tribute series with a night dedicated to the songbook of the vastly influential piano player, in celebration of Monk’s 97th birthday on October 10th. Button will be joined in an all-star trio with Danny Bauer on piano and Derek DiCenzo on bass. Button posted an extensive list of the band’s favorite Monk tunes that they have prepared, which includes “Not Just Holidays,” an homage to Monk written by Mark Flugge. Judging by the resumes of those involved, and the list of classics that the band will tackle, this will be a special performance.
Saturday, October 18th: Stan Smith Trio at Rambling House Soda Pop, 310 E. Hudson Street. Since opening last year, Rambling House, a local maker of all-natural soda pop, has also become known for its lively shows, mostly in the Roots/Americana vein (including a weekly Old Time Jam). Local guitar legend Smith will be at the helm Saturday for one of the first jazz shows at this venue, with Steve Perakis (bass) and Maxwell Button (drums) in tow. Known as a great place to listen, Rambling House should be a fine setting for a night of originals and standards.
Sunday, October 19th (12 – 2pm): Tonos Triad at Natalie’s. This week’s brunch show at Natalie’s will be graced by the Indianapolis-based trio, with a style that’s been dubbed “Jazzpop Eurofolk” or “Progressive FolkJazz,” among other things. The group consists of Aaron Ransdell on upright bass, Luke Stanley on classical guitar, and multi-instrumentalist Rod Schindler, who rotates between accordion, mandolin and “the infamous suitcase/cardboard box drum kit,” and will provide a warm Sunday afternoon sound inspired by some less mainstream strains of American song.
Below is a Tonos Triad video to get you going. Have a great week!