Scott Homewood’s Picks for February and March
by Scott Homewood
In my experience as a music journalist for national and regional magazines as well as working for several record labels along the way, I started to get a rep among people I met regarding my insight about incredible music. To that end, I figured I would talk about some Middle C Jazz shows I am particularly um…jazzed about over the next few weeks.
One of the shows I am most excited about is Chieli Minucci and Special EFX playing at Middle C for one night only, Wednesday February 19th for two shows! As a guitar player myself, I can attest to the fact that this gentleman is a monster on the instrument and his band is one of the tightest contemporary jazz bands you are ever going to see. Music has been in his blood forever, with his father having written songs for Nat King Cole. Besides his Grammy wins with Special EFX, he’s also won several Emmys for his composing for television. His shows are going to be amazing!
During CIAA we have an amazing set of shows that week including an open house on Wednesday February 26 followed on Thursday February 27 by singer Persona Bell earlier in the day and then Adrian Crutchfield in the evening who many may remember from playing on Prince’s last several albums. That connection is going to be key as he is bringing several alumni from the horn section of the NPG which was Prince’s band the New Power Generation! Expect plenty of Prince songs as well as more surprises. We also have Warren Sax and his band featuring singer Ashanti on Saturday February 29 who brought the house down a few weeks ago! Most of these artists have three shows a day during that week so plan your timing accordingly.
Another great set of shows is going to be the five Steve Tyrell shows taking place from March 5th to 7th. Even if you know his music, you may not know his extensive musical background. Moving to New York City as a teenager, he became head or A&R of Scepter Records during the Wild West days of the music business and suddenly became responsible for many hits by Dionne Warwick, produced classic with Burt Bacharach and Hal David and also was a big part of BJ Thomas’ hit Raindrops Keeps Falling on My Head among others. All that and more before the age of 25. As time went on, he contributed music to many movies, TV shows and eventually reinvented himself as a Sinatra-style crooner. He can be seen in the Steve Martin movie Father of The Bride which jumpstarted a great third act to his life that has included seven of his twelve albums topping the Billboard Jazz charts. Needless to say, this show is going to be amazing!
Also in March we have singer Jason Jet from Charlotte on the 12th who, if anyone is unfamiliar, has a voice like butter. If you like your music soulful and intense, and sung by a singer who knows how to use his voice to make you feel every emotion right down to your very core this is the show you’re going to want to see. It’s been said that listening to him sing is like an out-of-body experience. Come by Middle C and find out!
High-energy drummer Joe Barna visits Middle C direct from New York City, bringing his quartet with him for a show on March 14th that is going to be different than anything our audience has experienced yet. He is going to be recording his performance at Middle C for a live album to be released in the near future. Come and check out the show and be a part of this experience as history is made.
On March 20th we have amazing keyboardist Lao Tizer who is bringing his friend violinist Karen Briggs. If you have not seen the spellbinding Miss Briggs do her thing you are in for a treat. She will be doing things with her violin that fans of jazz have never heard violinists do before! This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for jazz fans!
Lets not forget legend and guitar innovator Stanley Jordan is going to bring his incredible groundbreaking guitarwork for five shows from April 2-4. Most will know Jordan from his technique of playing a guitar with two hands on the fretboard kind of like a piano player playing a keyboard, which allows for more harmonic possibilities since there are more fingers fretting the strings.
As always keep tabs on middlecjazz.com for the latest news about upcoming shows, which are being added constantly.