May Columns

Wedded Bliss Department: Jon-Erik Kellso married his Muse, Jackie Bennett, on March 30 and celebrated with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. We wish them every happiness.

You Can Depend On Them: Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks have found a home in midtown! Starting May 5, they will hold forth every Monday (three sets) at Sofia's Restaurant, located in Club Cache downstairs at the Edison Hotel, 221 West 46th St., New York City. Call (212) 719-5799 for reservations, (718) 376-3489, e-mail Vince at or visit http://www.myspace.comVinceGiordanotheNighthawks.

David Ostwald's Gully Low Jazz Band/Louis Armstrong Centennial Band is still playing good old good ones and some rewarding surprises -- "Mississippi Basin" and "Maybe You'll Be There" -- Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. at Birdland. To get on David's mailing list and find out who's playing on which Wednesday, check in at

The Ear Regulars (that shape-changing quartet created by Jon-Erik Kellso and Matt Munisteri, whose guests of late have included everyone from Stanley King to Orange Kellin to Grant Stewart) is at The Ear Inn, 326 Spring St., every Sunday from 8-11 p.m. Details from

Bill Dunham's Grove Street Stompers continue their extended run (a half-century gig is certainly notable) at Arthur's Tavern at 57 Grove St. every Monday from 8-11 p.m. Info at Les Paul, John Colianni, Lou Pallo, and Nicki Parrott show off their teamwork Mondays at 8 and 10 p.m. at the Iridium,

In April, banjo sage, home-grown vocalist, composer and connoisseur of rare tunes Eddy Davis (with, among others, washboard guru Stanley King) hosted several Thursday "New Orleans Nights" at the downtown club National Underground, 159 East Houston St. Check out the club's MySpace page for more information.

Peripatetic Dan Levinson has gigs in Germany, New Orleans, and California, but we like it best when he's within easy reach. In May, he'll be playing with the Nighthawks on the 12th, with the Stan Rubin Orchestra at The Carnegie Club in Manhattan (156 West 56th St.) from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. on May 13 and 27. He'll also be appearing with the Tom Landman Trio at Metisse Bistro (, 239 West 105th St.) from 7-10 p.m. on May 21st and 28th. And for something pleasant in the daytime, he will be joining the Banjo Rascals (that's Jim and Geri Rheel) and bassist Brian Nalepka from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, for "Pleasantville Day" in Pleasantville, New York.

Mark Your Calendars: The Borderline Jazz Band, featuring Bria Skonberg and Jim Fryer, trumpet and trombone virtuosi, respectively, began their 2008 tour in mid-April. Visit Fryer's site (www.jfryer) for specifics.

May 2-3, Jazz at Lincoln Center ( celebrated the induction of Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame with two concerts featuring, among others, Birelli Lagrene, Frank Vignola, Russell Malone, and Frank Wess.

The New Jersey Jazz Society ( continues to sponsor a cornucopia of concerts, including Dan Levinson, Mark Shane, Kevin Dorn, Bob Seeley, Paris Washboard, and many others. On May 7, Bucky Pizzarelli and bassist Jerry Bruno will perform; on May 12, Derek Smith will give a solo recital at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown. And look for information about their excellent June 7-8 Jazzfest, to be held at Drew University.

The Tri-State Jazz Society ( is hosting two May concerts: the Midiri Brothers Septet with Joe Holt (May 4, St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, Cherry Hill, N.J.), and stride master Neville Dickie on May 29 at The Porch Club, Riverton, N.J. Visit their site for directions.

Barbara Rosene ( and Her New Yorkers (Kevin Dorn, Jesse Gelber, Simon Wettenhall, and Conal Fowkes) will star at the Cabaret Night held at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (138 Jerusalem Ave.) in Hicksville, N.Y., on May 10.

Thursday, May 15 (an unusual night for a jazz concert) will find Ken Peplowski in duet with bassist Greg Cohen at Barge Music in Brooklyn, located at Fulton Ferry Landing (718-624-2083). Both players have exploring minds, so the evening might wander far afield, but this duo is worth the trip.

Kevin Dorn and the Traditional Jazz Collective will be playing a late night gig (beginning at 10:30 or so) at The Garage (www.garagerest,com) at 99 Seventh Ave. So., on May 9, as well as appearing at the Lincoln Triangle (66th Street and Broadway) Barnes and Noble on Wednesday, May 19, as part of the "Any Wednesday" series that has featured Barbara Rosene and (Jesse) Gelber and (Kate) Manning. Seats go fast for this free half-hour event, so get there early.

On May 29, the 7th annual "Great Night in Harlem" concert will be held at the Apollo Theatre to benefit the Jazz Foundation of America ( Participants will include Bill Cosby, Thais Clark, and Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Brass Band.

Before the NJJS Jazzfest (June 7-8), the American Federation of Jazz Societies will host its own "Jazz Crossroads 2008" on June 5-6, at the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, N.J. Details from

Symphony Space, at 95th and Broadway in Manhattan, will be home to hot jazz and wistful original compositions with the Sidney Bechet Society's three 2008 concerts, the first on Wednesday, June 11: Dan Levinson's tribute to the music of Soprano Summit, featuring Bob Wilber, Dick Hyman, Nik Payton, Matt Munisteri, Vince Giordano, and Kevin Dorn. For details:

And if you're still looking for your very own copy of "Zulus Ball," what better place to find it than at the 37th Annual Jazz Record Collectors' Bash, June 13-14, at the Hilton Woodbridge ( in Iselin, New Jersey? Recordings of every shape and speed, as well as rare jazz films introduced by the engaging scholars Dave Weiner (a comrade from 'way back) and Ron Hutchinson of the Vitaphone Project.

They Weren't New Yorkers: But we lament the deaths of heroically idiosyncratic Chicago clarinetist Frank Chace (December 2007) and the Canadian guitarist, singer, trumpeter, and jazz scholar Jeff Healey (March 2008) not an iota less.

To all musicians, promoters, and enlightened listeners: thanks for sending me information about upcoming gigs last month. All relevant jazz news is welcome, so keep in touch with me at But all information has to reach me before the tenth of the preceding month to be included in the next column.

Check out my blog at for more jazz news and on-the-spot photos.

Click ads to enlarge

May 2008 issue | © 2008 The Mississippi Rag

P.O. Box 19068, Minneapolis, MN 55419.