Jazz Wednesday at Brothers Drake is always a great place to hear innovative live jazz, but next week’s event ups the ante with the debut of a new Central Ohio big band. Drummer Zach Compston, who serves as the Director of Education and Community Engagement for Jazz Arts Group, leads the Zach Compston Big Band at Brothers Drake on Wednesday, May 16th at 8pm. As always, admission is free! Compston was kind enough to share some thoughts on this new project – Keep reading to learn more about its background and its all-star lineup.
Zach Compston: “The big band is a bucket-list experience for me. I grew up watching my father perform in big bands, and became addicted to the adrenaline rush of that music. I’ve come full circle in the sense that when I think of my musical personality behind the drums, it’s in this setting – contemporary big band charts with lots of fire and personality from within the band. We will be playing the music of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, and we’re fortunate to have Jim Powell in the band. Jim played trumpet with the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (after Thad passed away) in the late 80’s, and just sitting next to him in the band in rehearsal, I was blown away by the fire that he plays this music with; it’s truly a part of him and his presence in this band lifts everything to a new level.
The rest of the program will consist of charts by Ryan Hamilton, Sam Blakeslee, and Jay Miglia, all members of the band. Additionally, we’ll play charts by Cleveland-area saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio and a dear friend of mine from graduate school, Keith Karns, who has a killer big band in the Dallas area right now. We’re also doing a chart by William England, another great saxophonist from here in Columbus.
When you listen to the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, you can hear the love and admiration among the band members, and the commitment to bringing the audience into that big crazy hug. I have so much admiration my friends in this band as well, and we hope to recreate the feeling that Thad and Mel were able to accomplish in what was truly one of the most important big bands in history.”
Trumpets: Rob Parton, Ben Huntoon, Jim Powell, Anthony Stanco, Tim Perdue
Trombones: Ryan Hamilton, Sam Blakeslee, Elaine Mylius, Matt Smith
Rhythm Section: Tom Davis, Danny Bauer, John Philip Allen, Zach Compston