Todd Marcus is the sort of guy who likes to walk an unconventional path. That path will bring him to BOP STOP on Wednesday with a unique quintet that features clarinetist Virginia MacDonald and Marcus’ bass clarinet on the frontline.
Saxophonist Jim Snidero was born in May, but a January birthdate would have provided an appropriate mythological backstory for his career. Like the two-faced god who gave the month its name, Snidero’s alto saxophone style looks forward and backward simultaneously.
Perhaps that is inevitable for the native of the Maryland suburbs who, at 65, has aged out of young-lion status but is a long way from being considered a wizened master. When he returns to the Bop Stop Saturday, Snidero will demonstrate how a mastery born of more than 40 years on the scene can be endlessly refreshed by restless musical curiosity.
“I hate that a big band is so . . . big,” saxophonist, composer and arranger Stephen Philip Harvey said with a chuckle. “It’s financially a problem, but I just really like big band music.”
Harvey likes it so much that he’s putting aside the financial, organizational and logistical challenges of touring with a big band to bring the Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra (SPHJO) to Cleveland’s Bop Stop Thursday night to support the release two weeks ago of the band’s debut recording, Smash! (Next Level, 2022).