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Lazaro Vega

Jazz in Michigan (Grand Rapids and more)

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January 29, 2015

The Jazz Datebook:

Regular Hits:

Mondays from 6 to 10 p.m., Fridays 7 – 11 p.m. and Saturdays 6-10 p.m. The What Not Inn features a revolving cast of local musicians each weekend and Mondays hosts a jam session open to musicians and vocalists. They have two good jazz shows coming up in. See the full schedule here: The What Not Inn is located at M89 and the Blue Star Highway, 2405 68th Street, Fennville, MI. (269) 543-3341.

Mondays from 8 to 11 p.m. with low lighting and an inviting closeness to the band, pianist/vocalist John Shea holds for with real jazz played by unshakeable sidement, bassist Warren Jones III and drummer Fred Knapp, at The Republic, 45 South Division.

Monday night at 8 p.m. Swingtooth hosts the open mic jam at the Rockford Brewing Company, 12 E Bridge St, Rockford, Michigan, (616) 951-4677. Swingtooth includes two acoustic hand-built guitars played by Lee and David Middleman, with Chris Cudworth on bass.

Tuesdays at 7 p.m. it is diva time at Bar Divani, 15 Ionia Ave. N.W., Grand Rapids, as the finest female singers in the area step up and swing. For a full schedule: Phone (616) 774 – 9463.

Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. The Tom Hagen Trio with vocalist Rick Reuther at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining, 6600 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids. (616) 493 – 6686, or

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday live piano jazz is heard from 7 to 10 p.m. at Mangiamo, 1033 Lake Drive S.E., Grand Rapids. Information from (616) 742 – 0600.

Thursdays at 7 p.m. a variety of jazz bands rotate the schedule at The Book Nook and Java Shop, 8744 Ferry Street in Montague. The last Thursday of the month belongs to trumpeter Brad Fritcher and Trios. See and click on the calendar for Thursday night.

Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., pianist-vocalist Robin Connell plays in the Lumber Baron Bar at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Avenue N.W., Grand Rapids. See

Fridays, 7 p.m. the John Shea Trio plays at the J.W. Marriot Hotel, 235 Louis Street N.W., Grand Rapids. (616) 242 – 1448.

Saturdays at 7:30, pianist John Shea leads his trio at Noto’s Old World Italian Dining, 6600 28th Street S.E., Grand Rapids. See or call (616) 493 – 6686.

On the Third Saturday of each month, Hope Church, 2010 Kalamazoo, SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507, presents “Jazz and Justice” with jazz from 6 to 7:15 p.m. and a Justice conversation from 7:20 to 8 p.m.

Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. guitarist Greg Miller brings his 6-1-6 guitar concept to the J.W. Marriot Hotel, 235 Louis Street N.W., Grand Rapids. (616) 242 – 1448.

Sundays, Randy Marsh’s Sunday Night Jazz Hang at The Speak EZ Lounge, 600 Monroe Avenue N.W., Grand Rapids, is a fun jam session. Information from (616) 458 – 2689. Student musicians under 21 with a parent or legal guardian will have a chance to play with Marsh from 7 to 9; the host trio plays from 9 p.m. – 10 p.m.

First Sunday of every month from 5 to 7 p.m. the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra plays Founders Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Avenue S.W., downtown Grand Rapids. The GRJO is the region’s premier professional jazz orchestra. Information from

Timely Hits:

Thursday, February 5th at 7:30 p.m. six time Grammy award winning trumpeter Randy Brecker is Western Michigan University’s 2015 Jazz Masters Artist. He’s joined by guest pianist Edward Simon in concert with The Western Jazz Quartet, the WMU Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Lab Band at The Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Tickets from (800) 228 – 9858.

Friday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. The Hart Community Performing Arts Series celebrates its 100th concert at Hart Public Schools Auditorium, 308 W. Johnson Street, Hart, MI 49420: This special event features guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniola, accordionist Julien Labro, saxophonist Carl Cafagna, bassist Tom Knific and drummer Tim Froncek. More information about the Hart Community Performing Arts Series available from Tom Kirk, (231) 873 – 6270.

Sunday, February 8th at 3 p.m. the new series of piano concerts in Grand Rapids features Xavier Davis with bassist Matt Brewer. “Jazz in the Sanctuary” is held at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids 49503Information from or (616) 459 – 8386.

Thursday, February 12th at 8 p.m. Western Michigan University Jams with drummer Keith Hall at The Union Cabaret and Grille, 125 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. This is an Open Jam Session. (269) 384- 6756 or .

Sunday, February 15th at 3 p.m. The LaFontsee Galleries in conjunction with presents a new series of improvised music concerts, “The Underground Concert Series,” with Grand Rapids’ first poet Laureate Linda Nemec Foster accompanied by music from composer/pianist Steve Talaga’s Nonet. Together they’ll perform Linda Nemec Foster’s poem cycle “Contemplating the Heavens.” A string quartet plus jazz quintet join Linda Nemec Foster as she reads from her 2001 chapbook “Contemplating the Heavens” published by Ridgeway Press, in the unique surroundings of LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506; (616) 451-9820. Ticket are $20 in advance, $10 for students with a student I.D. and $25 at the door. Advance tickets available only from .

Sunday, February 15th at 4 p.m. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with 2011 NEA Jazz Master and 2014 UMS Distinguished Artist Award recipient, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor. Presented by the University Music Society,

Monday, February 16th at 6:30 p.m. the West Michigan Jazz Series, “Monday Night at The B.O.B.” presents the Tom Hagen Trio with vocalist Rick Reuther. Tom Hagen’s musical vitae is rich with performing, arranging and recording experience. With wife Cherie Hagen on drums and voice, the group includes the versatile saxophonist Mike Lutley and special guest vocalist Rick Reuther. See for more information.

Tuesday February 17th at 7:30 p.m. the Truth in Jazz Orchestra returns to Watermark 920, 920 Washington Avenue, Muskegon, 49441. Fronted by drummer Tim Froncek, TIJO brings big band jazz excitement to the lakeshore. See for more.

Thursday, February 19th at 7:30 p.m., world renowned bassist Christian McBride leads his trio with Christian Sands, piano, and Ulysses Owens Jr., drums, in the Jazz Series at St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, 49503. Information from or by calling (616) 459 – 2224.

Friday, February 20, the Kris Bowers Trio appears in “Dinner and a Show” presented by the Fontana Chamber Arts in Kalamazoo. 6:30 p.m. dinner and 8 p.m. performance at Cityscape at the City Centre, Kalamazoo. Information from or (269) 382-7774.

Friday, February 20that 8:00 p.m. at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater, a 50th Anniversary Celebration: The Campbell Brothers perform John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” The Campbell Brothers, whose unique sacred steel gospel music was created in African-American churches, revisit John Coltrane’s 4 part spiritual work on their signature slide guitars, marking the 50th anniversary of Coltrane’s great recording, paying particular attention to “A Love Supreme”’s transcendent spiritual message. With Chuck Campbell, pedal steel; Darick Campbell, lap steel; Phillip Campbell, electric guitar; Carlton Campbell, drums; Daric Bennett, bass

See more at: .

Saturday, February 21st at 8 p.m. trumpeter Brad Fritcher (see: and his band Moods appear at One Trick Pony, 136 Fulton Street East, Grand Rapids, 49503.

Thursday, March 12that 7:30 p.m. 2014 Grammy nominated vocalist Rene Marie visits the St. Cecilia Music Center to perform in the historic Royce Auditorium, 24 Ransom Ave. N.E., Grand Rapids, 49503. See .

Friday and Saturday, March 13th and 14th, Saxophonist Miguel Zenon is guest artist in residence for the 35th Annual Western Invitational Jazz Festival. On Friday, March 13th at 7:30 Miguel Zenon performs with the Western Jazz Quartet at the Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, Kalamazoo. Then, on Saturday, March 14th he’s heard at 7:30 p.m. with the Western Michigan University Big Band at the Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. On Saturday the 14 the Western Invitational Jazz Festival, featuring high school ensembles from across the region, begins at 8 a.m. Advance tickets available from Miller Auditorium (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858 & at the door.

Thursday, March 26that 8 p.m. Hammond organist Bill Heid headlines with guitarist Ralph Tope and drummer Jeff Shoup at The Tip Top Delux Bar, 760 Butterworth, Grand Rapids: (616) 272-3910.

Friday, March 20that 8:00 p.m. Steve Wilson and Wilsonian's Grain plays the Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Featuring Steve Wilson, saxophones;

Orrin Evans, piano; Ugonna Okegwo, bass; and Bill Stewart, drums. Advance tickets available from Miller Auditorium (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858 & at the door.

Sunday, March 22ndat 3 p.m. The LaFontsee Galleries in conjunction with presents “The Underground Concert Series” with Charlie Kohlhase's Chicago Explorers Club featuring the Boston/Cambridge area leader Charlie Kohlhase on alto, tenor & baritone saxophones; James Falzone, clarinet; Aaron Darrell, bass; Tim Daisy, drums; and Russ Johnson, trumpet. Ticket are $20 in advance, $10 for students with a student I.D. and $25 at the door. Advance tickets available only from The phone number at the LaFontsee Galleries is (616) 451 – 9820. The LaFontsee Galleries are wheel chair accessible.

Wednesday, March 25th The Bad Plus perform at The Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 East 8th Street, Holland, 49423. See or phone (616) 395 – 7890.

Thursday, April 16th at 7:30 p.m. an evening with pianists Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor.

Friday, April 17th at 8 p.m. the Austin-based Hot Club of Cowtown plays gypsy jazz at the Saugatuck Center Center for the Arts, 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI 49453, (269) 857 – 2399, or With fiddler Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Jake Erwin, the Hot Club of Cowtown plays off the legacies of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys as well as jazz legend Django Reinhardt.

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