Our Scene // Your Scene

Hello! In the 3 weeks we’ve been at the helm, we’ve both had great conversations with lots of folks in our community. Musicians, listeners, venue owners, marketing experts, and historians. It’s been incredible to hear so many different perspectives, and genuinely inspiring to talk to you about what you use the site for, what you’re looking for, and what you’re excited about. Please keep it up!

You may have noticed a bit of a face-lift recently. We hope you like it, and find navigating the site easy and clear. HOWEVER, neither of us are experts with web-design, so if you notice something wonky, let us know! We’ve been regularly adding and subtracting to what the site looks like, as well as changing the geography, so if there is any unclarity, we’d like to hear about!

On that note, check out the new CALENDAR. We hope this makes finding the events you’re interested in even easier. We’ll be adding tags and categories to further hone in on what you like, and someday (when we can raise some money!) we’re working on adding a map function to the calendar. Look out!

One final note: nearly everything we’re posting in Our Scene // Your Scene is someone’s opinion. You may occasionally have something to say about what’s going on in town, a particularly delightful performance you saw, or something less savory (or sweet!). Send it over! We’re looking for folks to tell us what they think, and what life looks like in their corner of the scene.

One more once:
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 – or what you don’t!) 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.

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

I’m writing to you all from beautiful Seaside, Florida, a small beach community located on the panhandle in between Panama City and Destin. Thanks to a series of fortunate events, I’ll be living here this entire month of February to write music, practice, record a bit and generally enjoy lots of free time with no major obligations besides to my craft. So how’d I get here? Well, I’ve had the great privilege of being a 2020 Escape2Create Artist. 

in 1993 a non-profit program called “Escape2Create” was created to provide a multi-disciplinary creative retreat for artists from all walks of life. From composers, poets, playwrights, historians, and visual artists, everyone gets a month (January or February) to spend completely devoted to their work, with little obligations necessary. It’s extremely rare for anyone in the arts to get the chance to spend an entire month off focusing on their work, and this opportunity is one I’ll cherish probably for the rest of my life. 

It’s only been a couple full days here and I’ve already written a bevy of new music, in addition to learning the ropes with some recording equipment and enjoying the scenic bike trails. Some of my bigger goals are to write more for my trio plus chamber orchestra…stay tuned for a few dates with that project later this year!!! As well as music for solo guitar, and string quartet. I will definitely be working on updating and curating more content for this site, so be on the lookout every WEDNESDAY for our editorial columns collectively called “Our Scene // Your Scene”

For now I’m going to enjoy the gorgeous mild and sunny weather (this side of Florida is not the typical “Miami” level of heat and humidity thankfully), and then shed with other E2C artist Jackie Meyers…a wonderful pianist from Kansas City, Missouri (not Kansas). I can’t wait to have a few performances with her in the local area, including an (already) sold out show at the REP Theatre Performing Arts Center. 

Until next time.

Zakk Jones, Co-Editor

Fourth Floor Live

This Thursday is the next 4th Floor Live performance, featuring the Alex Burgoyne // Stan Smith Quartet alongside Phil Maneri and Ryan Folger.

“4th Floor Live” is a series of free events about every three weeks running January – May that aims to bring new experiences to a variety of Columbus jazz audiences.

Curated by local musicians Zakk Jones and Terrance Farmer, the 2020 season will further highlight the talent found within the Central Ohio area and beyond, featuring artists that push boundaries while still fostering strong roots in tradition.

4th Floor Live creates a unique experience that showcases broad local offerings in a space that lets listeners actively participate through questions and discussion about the craft, process and aesthetic. With the generous support of the Jazz Arts Group, the artists don’t have to worry about promotion in order to get people in the door and make money, which affords them the opportunity to focus solely on bringing a high-level performance to a curious and inviting audience.

We hope the series will help solidify Columbus’ place as a musical hub for Jazz and beyond in the Midwest.”

Check out what Zakk had to say last in last year’s interview with former Editor, Andrew Patton HERE.

As Phil Sees It //

Columbus Jazz music has a long and rich heritage. I encourage the curious to seek out the Arcadia Publishing book “Columbus The Musical Crossroads” Published in 2008. It contains photos and stories that chronicle the rich history of Columbus music of all forms including jazz. What reminded me of it was the conversation elsewhere on this site today about Fritz the Night Owl. He is a mythical figure from Friday night local TV – when there still was such a thing as locally produced TV shows. The book does a nice job of documenting what was happening in music in Columbus over much of the 20th century. It documents people and players and long since gone scenes. For example, did you know the Grandview Cafe was a hotbed for traveling music performances? The east side was chock full of clubs busy with music every night of the week. Cadillac Club, Club 7-11, The Macon, Club Jamaica, The Carolyn Club. Downtown hotels like the Christopher Inn had music in the bar for decades, mostly with the same crew every night. My Brother’s Place. Scott’s Inn. Guido’s on High. 

There were scenes at each of these hot spots and there were ensembles and personalities that played there regularly that created the vibe of the room. In retrospect people wax poetic about these places and who they saw. The old characters that were there, remember them fondly and tell stories and quote songs and mythologize the player’ personalities. They talk about how things have changed and how music in this town is nothing like it used to be. And it is true that those days are in the rear view mirror, and there isn’t anything like that today.

But there is something happening today and it’s current and new. It’s a reflection of what’s happening now. There’s always something happening around town every night. Today the current scene is being built and new stories are being told. Songs are being played and people are talking. Some day years from now there will be a new book with pictures and tales from Dicks Den, Brothers Drake, Hyde Park, Rumba, Natalie’s, Rehab Tavern, The Lincoln. New joints are springing up all the time. The Blue Velvet Room, Streetlight Guild, and Filament. Pick your current hot spot. There are many and there’s stuff happening in there all the time. Take pictures, tell stories, create legends. There’s always a “golden years” being created. Remember. Then write Columbus The Musical Crossroads version 2.0.

Phil Maneri, Columnist

What’re You Spinning //

I’ve recently been listening to the album, Unity by Larry Young. It’s interesting to hear how experimental everything sounds. They definitely pushed some musical boundaries on this one. It was recorded in 1966 but it still sounds fresh and modern; recording quality is great and arrangements are all unique in a good way. I love Young’s approach on the organ; his left hand is completely independent and it really sounds like there’s a separate bass player on the album. Lots of quirky intervals and melodies that make you turn your head while listening. It’s rare to listen to an entire album top to bottom nowadays, and it’s cool to finish this and be feeling like, “Wow, I loved every song”. Happy listening!

Larry Young – Hammond B3
Woody Shaw – trumpet
Joe Henderson – tenor saxophone
Elvin Jones – drums

Robert Mason, Musician

Alex picked this track because it’s just the gonest.

Columbus Jazz: An Oral History //

Fritz The Night Owl, Pete Mills, & Honk, Wail, & Moan

“If you don’t find yourself tappin’ your foot to this one, check your pulse, you may have died.”

Fritz The Nite Owl is a Columbus legend. One of those local characters who belongs to a different era. There are a TON of interviews and articles about him (I’ll post a few of my favorites below), most about the two iterations of Nite Owl Theatre, which have bookended his career. BUT, I learned about him from the older cats in town, who would tell “back in the day” stories about his long-running show (17 years!) on what was CD101 (now CD102.5) “Nite Owl Jazz”.

I’ll let you do your own digging on Fritz (below and otherwise). There are a bunch of videos on youtube and otherwise of his “Nite Owl Theatre” show, and as far we know, you can still catch him on Fridays during the summer for Friday Nite With Fritz at the Ohio Theatre. Check-in with CAPA to see what’s up.

In my digging, I also found one other very interesting thing: an archive of record reviews by Fritz on the Short North Gazette website (I love historians!). Whenever I don’t have something to put in here, I’m going to post one. Mostly because they’re very good, but also because I think it’s important to remember the people who have done what we’re doing before us. It’s cool. It’s one of my favorite things about our city; there are jazz secrets everywhere.

614NOW // Columbus Navigator // Columbus Underground // Columbus Dispatch – There are so many more. Check it out!

Alex Burgoyne, Co-Editor


Short North Gazette

Some of the best jazz on the planet is made and played right here in Columbus. Two of the new CD’s I’m recommending this month are prime examples.

Pete Mills, a local tenorman, makes his CD debut as a leader on this hard-core, straight-ahead set, which features superb musicianship, an abundance of original compositions, and a diversity of styles and tempos.

Assisting Mills in this solid effort are locals Mark Flugge (piano), Doug Richeson (bass), Aaron Scott (drums), and Jim Powell (trumpet). Guest artists on a few tracks include Paul Tardiff (piano) and Ray Codrington (trumpet). All get ample solo space and use it impressively.

The CD is unusual in that every track is a winner and the selections are sequenced to build intensity while avoiding predictability. Thus the breezily swinging opener, “Waiting For Spring,” leads logically, but surprisingly, to the smooth Latin groove of “Nine Lives,” followed by “You’re The First,” a bluesy-but-walkin’ tune that conjures the compositional style of the legendary Thelonious Monk.

The title track, “Momentum,” is aptly named. You literally feel movement while the song plays. Intense, driving solos by Mills, Codrington, Tardiff, and Scott propel the song, start to finish.

A gentle, peaceful ballad, 3 Of Us, has all the guys playing pretty, which contrasts nicely with Mills’ uptempo version of Al’s Tune, which he dedicated to the memory of his compadre and fellow tenor sax player, Al Goelz.

Given the quality and diversity of the music it was hard to pick a favorite track, but since that’s a head game I’ve always enjoyed playing, I had to do it – and the nod went to an uptempo burner with bop overtones, “Is It The 3lst Yet?,” which generates heat thanks to Powell’s blazing trumpet.
This is Real Jazz at its best. Do your ears a favor and pick up a copy at Borders, Stanton Sheet Music or Columbus Percussion.

(You can still buy this album HERE – I’m sure Pete still has some copies in his trunk too.)

If it’s raunchy, good-time, jumpin’, jivin’ swing your body craves, let your CD-laser light shine on Saturn Swings, the latest from the creative minds, voices, and gear of Honk, Wail And Moan, one of the most inventive groups ever to make music.

Steve PerakisBrian Casey, and Mark Greenwood provide the bass, trombone, and vocals, aided substantially by Erik Augis (piano), Kris Keith (tenor), Larry Marotta (guitar), Tim Perdue (trumpet), Jim Seitz (bari and tenor), and Lisa Clark (background vocals).

“Real Jazz, Real Swing for the 21st Century” describes this hard-driving collection that’s equal parts swing, rickey-tickey, New Orleans Funeral, and “Hey Bob-A-Ree-Bop!”

Humor, sometimes as subtle as an anvil coming through a plate glass window, permeates the set in melody, lyric, instrumentation, and performance. Titles such as “These Drinks are Working,” “Don’t You Methyl With My Ethyl,” “Rat Finks,” and “Scientists Discover Nightlife on Mars,” give an idea of the mindset at work. Terrific musicianship and raucous vocals that invite you to sing along bring it all together as great jazz for listening, partying, and dancing.

If you don’t find yourself tappin’ your foot to this one, check your pulse, you may have died.

(Believe it or not, this album is available too! HERE! If you’re lucky, Steve still has some in a shed somewhere.)

Fritz The Nite Owl, Columbus Royalty

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.