Now that Halloween is over and it’s safe to go out again, a cornucopia of jazz and jazz-adjacent events awaits NEO music fans. Grab what’s left of those fun-sized chocolate treats and whatever money remains after Bandcamp Friday (yup, it’s that time again, maybe for the last time), and head out to hear a bountiful fall harvest of sound. Where do you start? Start below.
Cleveland Jazz Orchestra with Bria Skonberg, Friday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m., BLU Jazz+, 47 E. Market St., Akron and Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m., Maltz Performing Arts Center, 1855 Ansel Rd., Cleveland
What can’t Bria Skonberg do? When she last visited Cleveland at the 2021 Tri-C JazzFest, the Canadian-born trumpeter/vocalist/bandleader offered a set that careered from “Elbow,” a slow blues over a New Orleans parade beat to “High Hat, Trumpet and Rhythm,” a 1930s novelty number for Valaida Snow, another singing trumpeter, to “Villain Vanguard,” a burning post-bop vamp tune. That’s range. No wonder the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra chose her to kick of their 39th season in a pair of concerts this weekend in Akron and Cleveland. Choosing “Bria con Brio” as the show’s name seems almost inevitable, but Skonberg’s versatility, energy and charm should pay off the verbal conceit and then some.
Kevin Robert Martinez Reclamation Band album release party, Saturday, Nov. 4, 8 p.m., BOP STOP, 2920 Detroit Ave., Cleveland
Growing up in Cuyahoga Falls, bassist Kevin Robert Martinez’s first job was making pretzels at Blossom Music Center. These days he’s traded bending dough for bending notes—and ears. To celebrate the release of These Roads, their debut recording, Martinez’s Reclamation Band gathers, appropriately enough, during BOP STOP’s Bass Week. Aside from a guest spot by Chicago bass clarinetist Jason Stein, These Road is a local affair with guitarist Daniel Bruce, saxophonists Chris Coles and Tim McDonald, and the supremely musical percussionist Anthony Taddeo on hand. For Saturday’s hit, Garrett Folger’s trumpet will be in for Coles and Tony Spicer will take Stein’s role, but no matter who’s playing it, expect the music to beguile with a bracing, en plein air spaciousness that might make Hingetown feel like the wide-open spaces of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Tatsuya Nakatani wsg Bbob Drake, Max Hyde-Perry, Monday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m., The Treelawn Music Hall, 15335 Waterloo Rd. Cleveland
What Tatsuya Nakatani does is not jazz, exactly. It’s more like making an Alexander Calder mobile in sound. He hangs percussion sensations in midair and sets them in motion, sometimes with a whisper of mallet on brass, sometimes with a blast from one of the drums that form a part of his singular arsenal. You might remember his visit last year with his “big band,” the Nakatani Gong Orchestra, an all-comers event where local musicians were invited to sit in and hit something. This date, part of Nakatani-san’s epic annual continent-crossing tours, will be a more intimate affair, but no less mesmerizing.
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?