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Countdown: Where To Go & What To Hear In NEO June 6-13

photocredit: Thom Kerr

Friendly experiencers,

Forget the headline of this post. The question this week is how to decide where to go & what to hear Friday night. Between an A-list Jamey Haddad quartet hit, a night of Roma jazz in beautiful CVNP and a powerhouse band led by saxophonist John Petrucelli, that’s a tall order. And that’s only if you won’t be at The Treelawn for Fred Hersch (see you there?). Still, this is a good problem to have and there is no wrong answer to this question. Whichever you choose, let me know what you heard and how you liked it. I’ll open the comments to this post, but please keep it clean and respectful.

Jamey Haddad Quartet, Fri. June 7, 7 p.m., BOP STOP, 2920 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, tickets $20 available here

By now, it should surprise no one that Jamey Haddad is a busy guy. Between touring with Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, high-profile session work and a full teaching schedule at Oberlin Conservatory, Haddad’s Google Calendar probably looks like a Mondrian painting with a lot less white space. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for playing jazz, so when he gets the chance Haddad doesn’t mess around. And when the call goes out, top-shelf players answer. This weekend, they are bassist Ian Ashby, saxophonist Chris Coles and guitarist John Shannon. They’ll conclude a two-night BOP STOP residency Friday before heading to Shannon’s Con Alma club in Pittsburgh for a Sunday hit.

“Roma Jazz on a Starry Night” with Olli Soikkeli Band, Fri., June 7, 7:30 p.m., Kendall Lake Shelter at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 1000 Truxell Rd., Peninsula, tickets $20 available here 

“I love Paris in the springtime,” Cole Porter wrote in 1953 for the musical “Can Can.” Now, it’s many charms notwithstanding, Cuyahoga Valley National Park bears little resemblance to the City of Lights, but Friday night, you could squint and imagine that you’re in a café in the 7th Arrondissement as the sounds of the Olli Soikkeli Band take you to a distant place. Olli Soikkeli is a Finn by birth, but he plays Manouche jazz with conviction and evident skill and he’s no slouch on straightahead tunes either, as the vid above proves. He also has an ace band of players not often heard around here, even in NEO’s more urban precincts: Evan Arntzen on clarinet and saxophone, rhythm guitarist Brad Brose and the wonderfully supple bassist Paul Sikivie. The performance is part of the ENCORE-Gates Mills Music & Ideas Festival, a summer season of arts-inspired learning through chamber music.

John Petrucelli Quartet, Fri., June 7, 8 p.m., BLU Jazz+47 E. Market St., Akron, tickets $20 available here

John Petrucelli was chosen as the first James R. and Susan Neumann Postdoctoral Fellow of Jazz History at Oberlin Conservatory in 2022. With a list of responsibilities almost as long as that title, Petrucelli’s presence on NEO bandstands has been limited. And that’s a shame because he plays powerhouse tenor in the Michael Brecker/Chris Potter mold. Fans of will not want to miss this engagement, especially because the trio of Theron Brown on keys, bassist Jordan McBride and Zaire Darden on drums, can match him flex for flex. Plan on a Top Thrill 2-level ride.

Jacob Collier, Wed., June 12, 7 p.m., Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, 2014 Sycamore St., Cleveland tickets $44-979 available here

Jacob Collier burst on to the scene in 2013 with a series of split-screen YouTube video covers of pop tunes. Even at 19 years old, he was an extravagantly, almost preternaturally gifted musician. There seemed to be little he couldn’t do. His subsequent career has found him trying to do everything possible. The skills are there. On his Substack, journalist Nate Chinen has written of Collier,  “He has an incredible knack for streamlining musical complexities so that they feel natural. He’s cultivated a robust, rainbow-coalition fan base that flips out over the inside game: an elegant modulation, a left-field chord voicing.” Chinen titled that “My Jacob Collier Problem.” As Collier’s Djesse World Tour (the name comes from a series of four albums with that title) comes to the Flats, you might not have a problem with any of this (though the Jacobs Pavilion ticket price might present another sort of challenge). If you go, enjoy the ride and make sure you’ve downloaded your “Audience Choir” app. Who knows? Your vocals might make it on to Djesse Vol. 5.

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,


JJA bug
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