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Countdown: Your Planning Guide for Music, Sept. 14-20


The Bay City Rollers might look forward all week to S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night, but for jazz fans in NEO, Sunday is the night to dance to the rhythm in your heart and soul. I previewed the BOP STOP hit by the Chris Speed Trio here, but there’s a lot more happening Sunday–and all weekend long.

Kathy Kosins, Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., BOP STOP Cleveland

Because vocalist Kathy Kosins has been on the Detroit scene for a minute, you can assume a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of soul, R&B and jazz as table stakes. For her BOP STOP debut, she climbs into a classic Cadillac for an evening of cruising the satiny, midnight-blue boulevard traveled by ’50s vocalists such as Anita O’Day, Chris Connor, Julie London and June Christy. Riding shotgun on the program drawn from her recent release To The Ladies Of Cool are pros Joe Leaman on piano, bassist Jordan McBride and drummer, Scott Kretzer. And if you can’t make Thursday’s hit, they’ll do it again Friday night at Akron’s BLU Jazz+.

dragonchild x Sunken Cages, Saturday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m., Convivium 33 Gallery, Cleveland

DA Mekonnen grew up in Texas as a first-generation Ethiopian-American, an experience that flowered in his funk/rock/jazz/soul Debo Band. Yet despite the many strands of melody and rhythm that he brought together in that project, Mekonnen’s musical curiosity pushed him to seek out new sounds. What he found can be heard in dragonchild, the Boston-based saxophonist, composer and ethnomusicologist’s latest project that comes to Convivium 33 Sunday presented by Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project. Like Mekonnen, Indian-born drummer and producer Sunken Cages (a/k/a Ravish Momin), his fellow traveler in the project, is another seeker with one foot in jazz (he was a student of drum magus Andrew Cyrille) and the other on the path to new musical worlds, especially those enabled by electronic means. The promise of Ethio-jazz saxophone, field recordings and lots of Ableton-assisted sounds make this an unusually intriguing concert. Akron’s Lemon Quartet, on the heels of a new album release, will pitch in.

Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra, Sunday, Sept. 17 , 8 p.m., BLU Jazz+, Akron

Saxophonist, composer and arranger Stephen Philip Harvey is a native of Columbus, but lived briefly in Cleveland and Youngstown before his family settled in Rochester, Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh. So which jersey he’ll wear while watching Monday night’s game is anyone’s guess. The big band that he’ll convene at BLU Jazz+ on Sunday night is likewise split between the black and gold and the brown and orange, but it’s not likely to matter once they get into gear. Since his last visit to the Akron room last year, SPH has been busy writing a book of new music that the band will air out. Much of it is inspired by the superheroes that the composer counts as muses. If you’re betting on extroversion and feats of virtuosic derring-do, be advised to take the over.

Silvia Bolognesi’s Young Shouts, Sunday, Sept. 17 , 8 p.m., Waterloo Arts Cafe, Cleveland

The 20th edition of New York’s Vision Festival in 2015 was an overwhelming torrent of musical greatness where I heard giants such as Matthew Shipp, Ingrid Laubrock, Wadada Leo Smith and an all-star big band led by Hamiett Bluiett. Yet the performance that has persisted in memory was a brief but ear-opening set by HEAR in NOW, a string trio comprising violinist Mazz Swift, Tomeka Reid on cello and the Italian bassist Silvia Bolognesi. The latter might be the least-known of the three, at least on this side of the Atlantic, but she is a formidable improvisor and a compelling bandleader. Kudos, then-or maybe bravos–to New Ghosts for bringing her latest project, Young Shouts, to Waterloo. A preview of the band’s Chicago residency, which will follow Sunday’s concert, promises an intriguing program including a suite, “Storia di un femminiello,” inspired by the people who embody a third gender role in traditional Neapolitan popular culture and who are thought to bring good luck. Let’s hope the luck of the femminielli can inspire the Shouts to bring this music to Cleveland, too.

I couldn’t live without Jim Szabo’s essential, weekly Northeast Ohio jazz calendar, NEO’s most complete list of jazz and jazz-adjacent events. If you haven’t visited it lately, what are you waiting for?

NOTE: This article was written by a real human being. No artificial intelligence or generative language models were used in its creation

Red beans and ricely yours,


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