Thursday, February 16, 2012
As a mild winter turns into, hopefully, an early spring, our local concert clubs and small hall venues have a variety of great shows in almost any genre for music fans to enjoy as the seasons change.
The House of Blues welcomes the coming of spring with a line up of classic rockers and singers with Eddie Money on the March 1st; Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes on March 2nd; Boys II Men on the 16th; the Saw Doctors on March 23rd; and blues guitarist extraordinaire Johnny Lang on May 13. For info on these shows and all the stuff going on at the HOB on Euclid and East 4th go to www.houseofblues.com/tickets.
The next several weeks Nighttown on the top of Cedar Hill has a stellar lineup of shows, starting with Boston jazz vocalist Michelle Wilson, backed by Cleveland bluesmen Blue Lunch, on February 25th. The next night February 26th Manhattan Transfer original member Janis Siegel does a solo show. Comedian and social activist Dick Gregory stops in for two nights, on February 29th and March 2nd. On March 7th guitarist Murali Coryell (son of Larry) brings his trio in for a show. For more info about everything that is Nighttown go to www.nighttowncleveland.com.
The Beachland Ballroom will soon be celebration its 12th Anniversary with a whole menu of great shows over the next several months. On February 23 its Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires; on February 24th it is the Del Fuegos on a small mini-reunion tour; the Greenhorns on March 12th; Dave Alvin, once of the Blasters, on March 7th; the Reverend Horton Heat returns March 15th; Loudon Wainwright III returns April 19; Jonathon Edwards will take the audience back to Athens on April 27; and Sonny Landreth and the Brickhouse Blues Band will play May 17th. This is just a small sampling of the shows on tap at the Beachland in the coming months, get the full calendar of events at www.beachlandballroom.com.
If you love guitarists and rock legends, the Winchester is the place to be this spring. Starting with Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials in February 25th; followed by Denny Lane (of Wings amongst other bands) on March 9;blues legends Savoy Brown, with original lead guitarist and founder Kim Simmonds, takes the stage on March 10; and bluesmen Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers play on March 23. In April local legends take over the stage, with the Wally Bryson Group playing April 13, and Jonah Koslen’s Stagepass Now coming back for a return engagement on April 20. April closes out with Kelly Richey and her Band on the 28th.
And, finally, don’t forget about all the good things happening south of town at the Kent Stage in downtown Kent. On March 2nd they too host the Del Fuegos on their reunion tour; followed the next night by blue grass legends Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys. Guitar virtuoso Neil Zaza has a CD release show on March 16; Greg Brown returns on March 31st; Leon Redbone appears on April 27th; and the beautiful Judy Collins returns on April 28th. For more information about all of the shows at the Kent Stage visit www.thekentstage.org.
Recently, some of the best, if not the best, news about a local musician has been about trumpet player Josh Rzepka and his new CD Into the Night, which is currently making some noise on the national jazz charts (currently #14 on Jazzweek’s chart) and is being played on over seventy jazz stations across the country. It is quite unusual for a self produced and released album to get this much national attention in the jazz world.
Rzepka recorded the CD at Oberlin’s new jazz recording studio, and it features a solid group of musicians, all with Oberlin and/or Cleveland roots, including Jackie Warren on piano, Peter Dominguez on bass, Ron Godale on drums, Andy Hunter on Trombone, and Steve Kortyka on sax. The best thing about the album is that it not only shows off Rzepka’s talents, but also the talents of this band. Over the course of the disk they all do their part on numerous solos.
The CD has a real 60’s jazz feel to it, with a touch of Latin rhythms and features numbers with catchy titles like “Blues for C.T.,” “Sarah’s Samba,” and “When I’m with You.” I really like the title tune, which has a real Dave Bruebek feel to it, and “Salsa Queen,” which could have fit in nicely on an old Herb Albert record.
Rzepka has two shows coming up in the Akron area, February 25, he will be performing at Winter Dance Showcase at the Akron Civic Theater, with both Verb Ballets and the University of Akron Dance Company. On Saturday, March 3, along with fellow musician Scott Stein, will be doing a benefit show at the Tangiers to benefit both the Copley and Firestone high schools’ music programs. For more information on both of these shows go to www.joshrzepka.com.