Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Live Music in CT this First Weekend of December

Thanksgiving has passed (although we're now into the turkey soup phase) and we are into the holiday season.  The live music scene keeps on giving.  The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme welcomes drummer/composer Ulysses Owens Jr & his New Century Jazz Quintet on Friday December 4.  The ensemble features trumpeter Benny Benack III, saxophonist Tim Green, pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi and bassist Corcoran Holt. The drummer works in Kurt Elling's band and in bassist Christian McBride's trio plus has released a pair of CDs under his own name while the NCJQ has released 2 albums on the Japanese Spice of Life label.  If you like your jazz straight-ahead with a kick, this band and its music is right up your alley.

On Saturday night (12/05), CT native Mike DiRubbo takes The Side Door stage with his impressive Quintet.  Joining the alto saxophonist will be pianist Brian Charette, drummer Jonathan Barber, trumpeter Josh Evans, and bassist Ugonna Okwego (all CT natives save for the bassist!) DiRubbo is one of those saxophonists mentored by the late Jackie McLean and it shows in his approach to melody and in his quick yet emotionally rich solos. And, this band (all of whom, save for Barber, appeared on DiRubbo's exciting 2014 release "Threshold") knows how to bring the heat.  That said, the ballads also have great heart and soul.  This, too, should be a fine evening of music.

For more information, go to thesidedoorjazz.com or call 860-434-0886.

Firehouse 12 in New Haven continues its impressive Fall 2015 Concert Series with trumpeter Peter Evans & the Zebulon Trio. Evans, who was in the original lineup of Mostly Other People Do The Killing, is an exciting musician whose music goes in numerous directions, keeping the listener off-guard and challenged.  Joining him is the stalwart bassist John Hébert and drummer Kassa Overall. Another attractive aspect of this music is how the music embraces both composition and improvisation.

The Trio last appeared at the Firehouse in 2013 with special guests Dave Liebman and pianist Ron Stabinsky (who replaced Evans in MOPDTK).  For more information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.

I've been meaning to review the new (and impressive) album from the Aaron Irwin Quartet.  Until I do, here's the title track which features the leader on clarinet, Pete McCann (guitar), Matthew McDonald (trombone) and Thomson Kneeland (bass).

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