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.
If there were a Mount Rushmore of Cleveland jazz, maybe on the bluff overlooking the West Flats, who would be on it? Albert Ayler and Tadd Dameron for sure, and maybe Eddie Baccus, too. Joe Lovano is still very much with us, but it’s not too soon to reserve a place for him up there, too.
Lovano’s career accomplishments, including his tenure with Bill Frisell in Paul Motian’s enormously influential trio, loom so large that it’s easy to forget that the saxophonist’s first big gig was with the Woody Herman Orchestra.
Trombonist Scott Garlock, the executive director of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra with whom Lovano will play two concerts this weekend, remembers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: LET’S TRY THIS AGAIN. When my laptop was sent for emergency repairs last week, I lost access to my editorial calendar for this blog. For some reason, I assumed Samara Joy’s engagement at Bop Stop was December 10, and I rushed a post to preview the gig, never thinking that I could check Bop Stop’s site to confirm the date. The correct date, of course, is December 17, which gave me enough time to rewrite the preview to incorporate my conversation with Ms. Joy, and you can read it all below. Seriously folks, don’t miss this show. She’s extraordinary and you’ll be able to say you saw her when.
The walk to the stage at Cain Park for this year’s Tri-C JazzFest was longer than I expected, but I was still able to hear the opening act, albeit long before I could see the stage. The tricky changes of the verse of “Stardust” sailed out into the early autumn afternoon like a warm breeze, pitch-perfect and phrased with uncanny grace. Comparisons are invidious, but here was a singer with the vocal lushness of a young Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald’s preternatural musicality, as delusional as that description might sound.