As part of a jazz-filled “staycation,” I had two wonderful Jazz Nights Out last week. On Thursday the 10th, my dad and I went to see Hamiet Bluiett and Kidd Jordan with the Jazz Poetry Ensemble at Dick’s Den. The 30 minute opening set was an effective summary/mission statement for the entire performance, revealing the breadth of interest, material and ability of the assembled group. The opening tune was a free jazz ensemble piece, and the second was a more traditional jazz tune, with some rough edges and an excellent solo by Bluiett. The third piece, however, was a jaw-dropping 15-minute improvised free duet between Jordan and Bluiett, with alternating raw blowing/shrieking and call-and-response grooves that established the tone of adventure.
The second set opened with “Wait,” featuring poet Michael Vander Does over a funky groove, leading him to introduce solos by the remaining band members, including a passage by Bluiett that opened with a lengthy sustained note. When the horn section of Jordan, Bluiett, and Vander Does (on trombone) united, they struck with a passionate force, and that only increased as the night went on, because of the eventual additions of Michael Goecke on trombone and Matt Adams on tenor sax. Seeing the spiritual improvisation (and humor!) of two saxophone legends up close and personal, in front of a world-class supporting cast, was quite the experience. I hope you saw one of this group’s appearances if you had the chance!
On Friday the 11th, I greatly enjoyed a rare show by Billy Wolfe’s Composers’ Tetradectet at Brothers Drake. This happy hour performance featured a 15-piece ensemble playing modern compositions and arrangements by the band’s members and their friends. The material used was very diverse, but the band ably shifted from big band grooves to free jazz bombast to even a swinging bit of Bach. Ryan Erik Adamsons’ arrangement of Rage Against The Machine’s “Bombtrack” was a thunderous early highlight, with the menacing bassline provided by baritone saxophonist Eric Churchill leading to excellent solos from saxophonist Jay Miglia and vibraphonist Ted Royalty. Visiting guitarist Aaron Quinn had several compositions featured, including “Over and Under,” which opened with unaccompanied “didgeridoo-esque” verbal improvisations from Tony Zilincik on tuba and progressed to an arranged full band noise freakout. Saxophonist Wolfe’s tune “Amethyst” was a mysterious piece of funky big band, with the composer wailing to the point of exhaustion. The finale of an arrangement of a Regina Spektor tune was a perfect conclusion, with the piece culminating in a fiery high register duel between trumpeters Jason Ferrell and Joe Herrera. Witnessing such a large group in a relatively small space was a treat, as the force of such an assembly of talent was palpable, and it was great to see the homecoming of Columbus expatriates like Quinn and Wolfe.
Shows To See This Week
Thursday, September 17th (6:30 – 9:30pm): Kate Ross at SuperChef’s, Gahanna. In the middle of preparing to record a new album, vocalist Ross is bringing a great group to the weekly jazz dinner show at this popular Gahanna restaurant. More details from Ross:
This will be my first time performing at SuperChef’s. My band for the night will be Craig McMullen – guitar, The Governor – drums and Jon Eshelman will be laying down some B3 sounds and handling the Bass as well. We will be performing some original music from my CD People Make the World Go Round, which can be purchased through my website, katerossmusic.com, or through Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. We will also be performing some popular jazz tunes from the 1920’s and up, done our way. We expect to have a great time and encourage everyone to come out and join us. We start at 6:30.
Friday, September 18th (10pm – 2am): Seth Daily at Dick’s Den. Drummer Daily (Billy Wolfe’s groups, Liver Quiver, Oliver Oak, Fields & Planes) is debuting a new group and some new tunes at Dick’s Friday. The unique instrumentation is: Devin Copfer – violin, Alex Burgoyne – sax, Andrew Sais – guitar, Zakk Jones – guitar, John Allen – bass, Nate Smith – bass, and Seth Daily – drums. As Daily told me: “We will be playing mostly original music of mine and other members of the group, as well as a few arrangements of songs that are important to me. Everything will focus on improvisation, interaction, and spontaneity.” Looks to be an exciting performance somewhat in the vein of the Tetradectet show described above.
Sunday, September 20th (6 – 9pm): Center Trio at Bungalow Jazz. In a late schedule shift, drummer Joe Nelson is bringing his group to the Bungalow for a special benefit show. While there is no official cover charge, the suggested donation of $20 per person will go directly to the Mid Ohio Food Bank. Joining Nelson, keyboardist Tony Bonardi, and bassist Steve Perakis will be vocalists Carisa Holmes and Don Ervin, and the evening’s program will celebrate the equinox with jazz and soul tunes, featuring hits by Earth Wind & Fire. Sounds like a soulful party for a good cause!
Have a great week! Here’s video of Kate Ross performing the title track from her current album: