Being a creative musician in Chicago almost demands a willingness to play anything, everywhere with everybody. Percussionist Tim Daisy and saxophonist Ken Vandermark, who will appear at Convivium 33 Friday, Jan. 13, embody that imperative as well as anyone, having collaborated with hundreds of musicians, movement and visual artists on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet despite lengthy resumes that suggest an affinity with musical speed dating, the two are just as committed to long-term relationships, especially their own.
When he was a student at the Hartt School of Music, trumpeter Tommy Lehman occasionally joined the legendary late-night jam sessions at Small’s jazz club in Manhattan. One night immersed in a solo with his eyes closed he opened his eyes for a moment and found himself face-to-face with the late trumpet player Roy Hargrove, who was sitting in the second row.
Remembering the solo, Lehman said with a laugh, “It sounded terrible,” adding, “I’ll always try my best though. Even if I’m sounding sad, I’m gonna give it everything I have.”
Back in his native northeast Ohio, Lehman is giving it everything he has these days, seemingly playing with everyone everywhere. His latest venture is a new recording, Uplift, which be available on Dec. 21 on Lehman’s Bandcamp page and which he’ll celebrate with a release show at BLU Jazz+ in Akron.
It’s pretty common these days to find jazz instrumentalists who were classically trained before beginning to improvise. Not Holly Hofmann. The Painesville-born flutist who will appear this weekend with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra studied with the legendary Walter Mayhall at Youngstown State University and with former Cleveland Orchestra principal flutist Maurice Sharp at the Cleveland Institute of Music. But her first teacher was her father, Nelson.
Dan Weiss talks a lot like he plays the drums. When I spoke with him about his Sunday concert at Bop Stop, his answers to my interview questions were short. To the point. Nothing wasted. Next question?
Yet forward momentum, essential for any drummer, is just one part of his game. Color, an original voice as a composer and a keen ear for texture are in there. They’re all present on Dedication (Cygnus Records), the stunning new release by Weiss’ longstanding trio with pianist Jacob Sacks and bassist Thomas Morgan.
Given his many musical associations with artists as diverse as the saxophonists Jon Irabagon and Lee Konitz, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu, it’s kind of amazing that he’s only appeared in Cleveland twice. The trio played Bop Stop in November 2019, and 19 months earlier he was at the Hingetown club with saxophonist Chris Potter band.