I’ve been blessed with some free time this “Labor Day week,” so I’ve been able to get out for a series of fun Jazz Nights Out. On Friday the 1st, I made my first trip to the SCAT Experience the Avenue Long Street Project First Friday Happy Hour at Lincoln Cafe. It was great to meet and talk with SCAT President & CEO Connie Boykin about the important work he’s doing to preserve the rich jazz history of the city’s Near East Side. Of course, the band’s tribute to Rusty Bryant was excellent, and guest front men Eddie Bayard (tenor sax) and Lee Savory (trumpet) spurred each other to thrilling heights.
On Saturday, I finally heard jazz at Hyde Park Arlington for the first time. While two-thirds of the TRio band that plays most Saturdays was otherwise disposed, Dave DeWitt picked up his bass and played with pianist Erik Augis and drummer Matt Wagner. The three skilled veterans rendered a variety of material in kinetic beauty and filled the bar area with jazz trio splendor. On Sunday, I heard drummer Wally Mitchel’s Jazztet at their weekly Dick’s Den appearance in a “chordless” formation with Mark Donavan and Matt Adams both on tenor sax and Matt Paetsch on drums. Their two sets yielded exciting versions of classics like “Caravan,” great solos from all involved, and guest appearances from a young alto sax player and vocalist Jen Miller.
While the Labor Day Columbus jazz calendar was slim, I seized the opportunity to see Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra play Monday night, like they have weekly for over 20 years, at the Clintonville Woman’s Club. There was not a vocalist featured this week, so Wiester and crew dug deep into their charts and pulled out a wide range of rare and beautiful material. As Cleveland arranger and jazz great Paul Ferguson was in attendance, the band played a couple of his charts, including an arrangement of Moacir Santos’ “Coisa #1” with a rousing melody played by Bob LeBeau on baritone sax and Sean Maloney on tuba, plus a swinging solo from saxophonist Jay Miglia. A Chas Baker arrangement of “Fallout,” a Henry Mancini tune from Peter Gunn (and Wiester’s childhood), was another delight, with the big band putting its full force behind the riveting soundtrack material.
Tuesday meant an overdue visit to the Park Street Tavern Jazz Jam led by the Pete Mills Quartet. While there was no “official” guest, acclaimed trumpeter and OSU jazz professor Anthony Stanco appeared soon after the opening tune and delivered sizzling lines on standard “Speak Low” about as soon as he walked in! The band was in excellent form, and it was great to hear other area musicians like drummer Tommy Smith and bassist Paul Baker once the jam started. Look for more jazz show thoughts next week!
Shows To See This Week
Friday, September 8th (9pm – 2am): Chickenhawk Birdgetters & Us, Today at Brothers Drake Meadery. Cincinnati experimental post-rock trio Us, Today has been busy since releasing their T E N E N E M I E S in 2015. The band has been touring extensively, including an appearance at the Secret Stages Festival in Birmingham, Alabama that earned them acclaim in The Wall Street Journal. This show kicks off their September “busted mallet tour” and pairs the band with the Birdgetters, the Columbus “dangerous jazz” outfit that found itself in controversy over a song choice for their Comfest set. Bandleader Joey Gurwin promises that they’re “going to do our best to do a one hour jazz arrangement of a Chumbawumba tune,” so controversy may continue! Cover is $5.
Saturday, September 9th (8pm – midnight): Jazz & Wine at the HUB 1 Year Anniversary featuring the William Brady Project Band at HUB Community Development Corporation, Near East Side. A new addition to this weekend’s calendar is a celebration of the first anniversary of a mostly weekly series benefiting the community. The jazz and R&B flavored William Brady Project Band will be fronted by the soulful vocals of Columbus favorite Priscilla Woodson. The $15 cover includes an all you can eat spread provided by the Mallory Rib Shack and free wine, which sounds like quite a value. Have a great time and support the William Brady Charitable Organization’s mission of providing mental health and sobriety services to those in need.
Sunday, September 10th (2 – 5pm): Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society (COHJS): North Side Jazz Band at Makoy Center, Hilliard. COHJS kicks off another season of Sunday afternoon traditional jazz concerts/dances with the return of a Columbus favorite. From COHJS:
The North Side Jazz Band is among the area’s best-loved hot jazz shows, and in our opinion they’ve been way too hard to find lately, so we decided to do something about that. We’re very pleased indeed to kick off our new season with this great band.
Playing the Traditional/Classic hot jazz and dance music of the 1920s and ’30s, the band specializes in the delightful songs extracted from the time period before WWII for both listening and dancing. Their repertoire includes the music of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, and Jack Teagarden. Titles like “Everybody Loves My Baby,” “Basin Street Blues,” and “Caravan” are among the mix offered.
Personnel: David Steele- tuba; Phil Stone- cornet; Dave Pfeiffer- clarinet; Bob Butters- trombone; Larry Nusser- piano; Aaron C. Jackson- banjo & guitar; and the irrepressible Tommy Swisher on drums. Vocals by Phil Stone, Aaron C. Jackson, David Steele, and Dave Pfeiffer.
Tickets available at the door: $15 for COHJS members; $20 for non-members; $10 for dance club members, students, and music instructors. COHJS membership can be acquired at the door! Food and beverages available for purchase.
Have a great week! Get a taste of what’s in store via video: