When this writer worked in the hospitality industry, we had a name for Halloween: Amateur Night. Normally this would serve as a warning to pursue domestic entertainments until it’s safe to go out again. But what if “going out” is more treat than trick? This week’s candy necklace of events will test that notion with a variety of fun-size gigs and not a kernel of candy corn among them (though the late Carla Bley’s “King Korn” would be great addition to a spooky setlist).
Bryan Kennard Quintet, Friday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m., BLU Jazz+, Akron
By day, Bryan Kennard is the director of BOP STOP, the Hingetown boîte that is Cleveland’s de-facto jazz clubhouse (make that “by night; by day he’s the father of a newborn). So what does he do on his night off? Of course, go to a jazz club. So file this one under busman’s holiday—but this time, he’ll be on the other end of the paycheck as the leader of a quintet featuring Pittsburgh saxophonist Clint Bliel, Dan Bruce on guitar, bassist Taylor Arbogast and Jeremy McCabe on drums. Those guys are monsters on their respective instruments, and not the Halloween kind. Expect Kennard’s book of charts (he somehow also finds time to compose) to give them a workout. (note: personnel has been updated per information supplied by Bryan).
Edmar Castañeda Saturday, Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m., Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space, 10 E. College St., Oberlin
Making a career as an improvising harpist practically demands a stratospheric level of versatility as well as virtuosity. To see that Colombian-born Edmar Castañeda has both, you need to look no further than two his last two NEO appearances: 2021’s duo with harmonica master Gregoire Maret at the Tri-C JazzFest and last year’s Blossom appearance playing the live score to the Disney film “Encanto” with his sister-in-law Veronica Tierra. He returns Saturday in yet another setting, this time with the Oberlin Performance and Improvisation Ensemble at a free concert.
The Uninvited, Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m., The Treelawn Social Club & Music Hall, Cleveland
This Halloween weekend, you could watch either of the two horror films called “The Uninvited” or you could hear The Uninvited at The Treelawn. With three of the best ever to ascend the drum thrones in northeast Ohio, Carmen Castaldi, Jamey Haddad and Joe Tomino, and the always outward-bound saxophonist Howie Smith, this band should have an open invitation among listeners with open ears. It hardly needs to be said, but these four masters are scary good.
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