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Joy To the World: Vocalist Samara Joy Returns to Cleveland This Week

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.

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Noah Haidu Returns to Bop Stop with a New Trio and a New CD

To the jazz fans of northeast Ohio, pianist Noah Haidu‘s September 28, 2020 appearance at Bop Stop was as important for its symbolism as for its musical interest.  The concert, which premiered his “Doctone” CD, was the first in six months at the Hingetown club by touring national musicians. The message was, emphatically, music is back.

“That was really a great gig,” Haidu said Sunday from his home in New York. “That was actually the first time the three of us got on stage together, [drummer] Rudy Royston and  [bassist] Eric Wheeler. We had a chance to record it and listen back. Yeah, it was a beautiful set.”

Fifty-nine weeks later, Haidu is back with a new trio of legendary bassist Buster Williams and drummer Carl Allen touring behind a new recording, “Slowly: Song For Keith Jarrett” (Sunnyside Records). It’s a record that was in the works at the time of his last Cleveland visit, though not exactly in the form that it eventually took.

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Joey De Francesco, Guitarist Shubh Saran and Maria Schneider Headline a Busy Week for NEO Jazz Stans

On any given day on any of the jazz fanboy groups on social media (and it’s overwhelmingly boys) you’re likely to run into images like this one.

They’re usually accompanied by a complaint that moans, essentially, “Why can’t things be like that again?” To which I might answer: have you looked at what’s happening in Cleveland this week?

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Chris Coles “Nine Lives Project” Offers Grace Through Music, Dance and Visuals

Chris Coles

When Akron saxophonist and educator Chris Coles composed his “Nine Lives Project” as a response to the 2015 murders by a white supremacist of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., anger was not on his mind. Even after the tumultuous events of 2020, “Nine Lives”chooses light over heat.

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