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Tag: Mike Sopko

At 70, Cleveland’s Jamey Haddad Keeps The Music On Its Feet

At 70, you would think drummer and percussionist Jamey Haddad would be ready to slow down. After all, he’s toured the world with artists such as Paul Simon, Sting and Yo-Yo Ma. Yet he’s equally excited to play this weekend’s pair of gigs at Bop Stop with a trio of accomplished Ohioans. To Haddad, only the music matters.

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Rabbit, Rabbit! Owen Broder Puts Johnny Hodges Front and Center at BLU Jazz+

Owen Broder
photo by Adrien H. Tillman

Johnny Hodges is widely acknowledged as perhaps the preeminent alto saxophone player in the decades before Charlie Parker’s emergence. Yet unlike Parker, whose influence on saxophonists is apparent 68 years after his death, Hodges’ style is almost universally celebrated in print and online yet never heard on the bandstand.

Until now. Saxophonist Owen Broder is putting Hodges where he rightfully belongs: front and center with an ambitious recording project and a new band that swoops into BLU Jazz+ on Friday.

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Re-Birth: The Iconic Cleveland Improvising Trio Returns to the Happy Dog

Birth Josh Smith, Jeremy Bleich Joe Tomino
from left: Josh Smith, Jeremy Bleich, Joe Tomino

If you were born any time after 1975, you couldn’t avoid Jefferson Starship’s spectacularly dreadful “We Built This City on Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Even if that lyrical flex were true, it pales before the real-life exploits of the band Birth, who built the stage at one of the city’s great rock landmarks, literally. Next Saturday, the Cleveland-born band will return to that stage for the first time in many years, not with power tools, but with their instruments, for a long-overdue homecoming gig at the Happy Dog.

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Chestnuts Roasting When They Open Fire: A Togishi Seasonal Spectacular Returns

TogishiIn Japan the togishi is the skilled craftsman who polishes and sharpens the nihonto, the deadly sword used by samurai warriors to cut their enemies to pieces.

In Cleveland, Togishi is a trio of saxophonist Dan Wenninger, Mike Sopko on guitar and electronics, and Joe Tomino on drums and electronics whose improvised music cuts to pieces various genres including jazz, rock, contemporary classical and noise and reassembles them in a glorious freewheeling clatter.

Togishi will bring their usual sonic maelstrom to the Bop Stop stage Tuesday, December 21, but the trio will drop down the Hingetown club’s chimney with a surprise in their sack: tunes–and not just tunes, but some of the most recognizable, widely loved and, yes, even sentimental tunes.

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