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Smash! Stephen Philip Harvey and His Band of Superheroes Are Here

Stephen Philip Harvey

 

“I hate that a big band is so . . . big,” saxophonist, composer and arranger Stephen Philip Harvey said with a chuckle. “It’s financially a problem, but I just really like big band music.”

Harvey likes it so much that he’s putting aside the financial, organizational and logistical challenges of touring with a big band to bring the Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra (SPHJO) to Cleveland’s Bop Stop Thursday night to support the release two weeks ago of the band’s debut recording, Smash! (Next Level, 2022).

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Andy Milne & Unison Offer a Perfect Way To End Cleveland’s Perfect Jazz Weekend

Andy Milne and Unison

Everywhere you look, there are signs that the local jazz scene might again look like the one that went on leave in March, 2020. Reading the tea leaves, the return of the Tri-C Jazz Fest to Playhouse Square is huge tell. That tentpole event needs no introduction from me, just a hope that you’ll go and enjoy the great music on offer.

But there’s one more jazz event you should make room for this weekend. It’s the return to Cleveland’s Bop Stop of pianist Andy Milne and his Unison trio for a welcome if long-overdue tour to support his latest recording The reMission (you can read my review of that record here).

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Roll Call, June 19: Dmitri Matheny, Bill Ortiz, Grant Stewart and Melissa Stylianou

I get a lot of music for my consideration, already 350 (!) new releases so far this year. Almost all of them are notable for something, and I’d like to give them their due. So, when I’m not previewing live events in Northeast Ohio, I’ll offer hot takes on the preceding week’s releases. Like these.

Portland is known for rain, artisanal coffee and thanks to Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, as the apotheosis of farm-to-table Millennial pretentiousness.

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Can We Talk? Gerald Clayton Comes to Bop Stop for Two Conversations on Improvisation

 

For generations, the jazz business has spent a lot of time and money looking for ways to grow the genre’s dedicated but comparatively small audience. Pianist Gerald Clayton has some advice for them: Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.

“That applies to how to approach playing the music, learning how to play the music, and also learning how to listen to it,” the 38-year-old Clayton said in a phone interview Tuesday. “If we just have folks listening to this music over and over and over, I think the process will come pretty naturally and take care of itself, but I think there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of a liaison, a tour guide pointing out some things to listen for.”

On June 1 and 2 that tour departs from Bop Stop sailing under the flag of Piano Cleveland’s Listening Series with Clayton as your guide.

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