JazzColumbus Weekly – September 11, 2014

On Wednesday, September 3rd, I had a great Jazz Night Out hearing local quartet Radarhill at Brothers Drake for Jazz Wednesday. The two sets I heard showed a band that had grown by leaps and bounds since I heard their brief live debut 3 months earlier. Of course, they played close to 10 gigs and recorded an album (plus videos) in the meantime, so that was to be expected. The band’s sound is wide-ranging, drawing influence from a variety of genres and touchstones. However, they often sounded to me like a modern NYC-style group, but with many time changes and added elements that took the music to a different place.

The songs for the evening included some brand new tunes, some of the tracks from the forthcoming album (that are still rather new themselves), and a handful of covers ranging from alternative rock to modern jazz. “I Could Float Here Forever,” a new song written by saxophonist Jordan Reed, was my highlight of the first set, veering into some heavy head-nodding fusion guided by Eli Chambers’ crunchy bass and flavored by Caleb Miller’s glimmering work on the keyboard. All members of the band were involved in generating the energy and urgency of the material, but drummer Troy Kunkler’s ability to shift from a robotic rhythm to a more complex pattern and then into a righteous jam kept the spirit flowing in the same direction. Reed thought that the band was a bit rusty in the first set, which I didn’t notice, but midway through the second set, I found that they had risen to another level. The band’s rendition of Ben Allison’s “Riding The Nuclear Tiger” was a magical fireball, colored by Reed’s sustained attack on tenor sax and Miller’s nasty keyboard solo. Radarhill has gelled quickly, and will be a force to be reckoned with on the fringes of the local jazz scene. To that end, the band recently announced that it will be hosting a quarterly concert/art show/party series at Wild Goose Creative in the North Campus area. The first show is Saturday, November 22nd – more details to come!

Shows To See This Week

Friday, September 12th: Urban Jazz Coalition at Natalie’s. Columbus’ top smooth jazz band makes its debut at the Worthington music and pizza hotspot. This is a rare chance to see this national force in such an intimate environment. The band will also play a jazz brunch session at the new Verne’s Grill (formerly Verne’s on 161) on Sunday (2-6pm) for some soulful afternoon jazz.

Saturday, September 13th: Pauly & The Foundations at Brothers Drake. Though their big album celebration is Friday night, the NYC-based members of DW6 are not in a hurry to leave town. After playing a set at noon to wrap up the 2014 PBJ & Jazz Summer Concert Series at the Topiary Park downtown, much of the band will be joining Paul Selner’s R&B/Soul cover band at the meadery. This performance will feature DW6 members Dan White on saxophone, Chris Ott on trombone, and Adam DeAscentis on bass, as well as part-time members Theron Brown on keyboards and John Suntken on drums. Should be a raucous party to see the guys off once again.

Monday, September 15th: Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra featuring Jeff Hamilton and Ed Morrison at Clintonville Woman’s Club. This weekly Clintonville big band performance often features special guests, but this week’s slate is a big one. Drummer Jeff Hamilton (Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) and screaming trumpeter Ed Morrison (A Touch of Brass Big Band) will both be visiting from the West Coast to lend their talents to the party. Expect fiery renditions of the big band library and maybe even some dancing!

Have a great week!

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