Our Scene // Your Scene


You’ll notice we’re a bit short on content this week. That’s where you come in. We want to hear from YOU!

If you are a musician (tell us about your life!), writer (write something!), reviewer (go to a show and tell us about it), graphic designer (you’ve seen what we have going on…), social media expert (jazz musicians are the worst at this!), web developer (we are also not good at this), artist (let’s collaborate on a show!), or listener (thank you! tell us what you like!) who’s interested in helping us grow this site and our community, check out THIS post and think about what you might want to share! Our scene IS your scene.

Email us at info@jazzcolumbus.com

(not a letter) From (an) Editor //

Encouragement For Those Stuck In Their Heads:
Prose On Going To Stuff

Come listen, have a drink, chat with your pals, with strangers, sit outside, sit inside, listen some more, ask questions, commit to being uncomfortable, allow yourself to enjoy it, allow yourself to get comfortable, listen even more, figure it out, ask questions, listen again, realize the things that are holding you back from enjoying yourself are all made up and completely in your head, listen, sit, be.

Thoroughly dissect why you’d rather listen to your headphones or watch TV or play video games or read the news or do anything on your phone than engage with the world. Wonder about alcohol and the effect it has on your social inhibition, fully engage in the effect it has on your social inhibition, listen, engage in the space you’re in, enjoy the people around you, appreciate the beauty of conversations strangers are having, listen again.

Check-in with how you’re feeling, talk to a stranger, get over the fact that it’s awkward and realize that awkwardness is a really terrible reason to avoid something and a completely normalized thing that is actually made up and is really just a completely detrimental construct that’s also completely unnecessary, realize that your whole life has been filtered through a screen meant to avoid awkwardness and if you could get rid of the screen who knows what could happen, have another drink, contemplate further the effect of alcohol on your social inhibition, wonder about why you might need anything to affect your social inhibition, listen.

Wonder about the music, ask more questions, appreciate the members of your species who go out of their way to make hunks of metal and wood sing, check-in again, listen.

Appreciate the moment you shared with the people around you, appreciate the people on stage, appreciate what we’ve done as a species to make life more important than it was, appreciate the space, appreciate the sounds, listen, close your tab, tip better than normal, thank the people on stage, say goodbye to the strangers and the space and the night you had, check-in with how you feel, go home (get a ride if you need to), and bask in the glory of a night spent doing something in your community, with your community.

Or stay at home and watch season 4 of the Office all the way through for the 11th time. You do have Cheez-Its.

adapted from the past

by Alex Burgoyne, Co-Editor

As Phil Sees It //

What the hell are they doing?

I stepped off the bandstand the other night at Dicks Den, and a patron asked me “what is going on up there? “ She was visiting her son at OSU, and the whole family had stepped out for some “local color” before heading back home later in the weekend. 

They loved what they were hearing but “What the hell are you doing? This is jazz right?” Yes, indeed. That particular night, half of what she heard was free improvisation where one person would start something and everyone would pile in and find some way to contribute. We listen to each other and respond, either in sympathy or contrast to what we heard. Some of what we played were compositions from one player or another that were written out in lead sheets, which are short papers that describe the chord changes and the melody line that goes along with it. Those particular compositions had a lot of free space in them where the ensemble could “make stuff up” for a while before moving to the next composed section. 

The rapid fire questions continued. Did we plan any of that? What was accidental? How do we know what the other people would be doing? The patron loved what she was hearing, but said that it couldn’t possibly be composed, because it seemed almost random at times. I told her that yes, indeed, it was often random sounding because we responded to each other in real time, creating a composition on the spot, or at least a sound painting with no apparent structure. 

This is certainly one form of jazz. There are so many things musicians do that have been called jazz. In this case there was some form in some pieces, others was fluid and dynamic without a clear sense of form. In this essay I’ll stop short of defining jazz, although it might be fun to discuss in a later article. What I will say is that they loved what they were hearing, and what they were hearing prompted lots of questions.

And that’s what I really want to mention here. I loved the questions and spent half my break answering them in as much detail as I could. I believe the more the patrons understand what they are experiencing, the more they are likely to come back and dig even deeper. I want to encourage everyone who sees live jazz around Columbus to approach the players and ask questions. Find out what they are doing, and why they make the choices they make. Ask questions to get a deeper understanding of it and tell your friends. You’ll enjoy it better and so will the musicians, because when the audience understands what is happening on the bandstand, it creates a kind of synchronicity between the player and the listener that you can’t duplicate any other way.

Likewise, musicians, when people ask questions take the time to answer them in detail, kindly, and with precision. The smarter the audience is, the more likely they are to enjoy the experience, and the more likely they are to come back and see you next time. More people at the gig means more gigs for you. Because that’s the goal, right? More people enjoying the music live means more opportunities to play live.

by Phil Maneri

What’re You Spinning //

I can’t get enough of this record and in particular this track. Nancy Wilson (Chillicothe born and Columbus raised!) is the absolute coolest singer on the planet. I don’t think she swings like anyone else, and she phrases so strangely that it almost always surprises me, even after repeated listening. And Cannonball sounds like a million dollars wrapped in two million dollars. Plus the arrangements are top notch, and there’s a handful of instrumentals to highlight Nat and Cannonball (also Joe Zawinul!) Just listen to it.

by Alex Burgoyne

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