Summer scenes with jazz on top

. May 29, 2012.

The buds have finally burst as Summer arrives in full bloom in Ann Arbor. We can transit to clubs and concerts in comfort. And we can gather, young and old, on the Ingalls Mall for the free Top of the Park events associated with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. It's the end of hibernation and the cause for celebration, as you will see and hear!

Summerfest Concerts

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is bringing Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue to the Power Center Tuesday, June 21 at 8pm. Troy “Trombone Shorty”Andrews is a top-notch trombonist and trumpeter. His band is tough and tight. A rare combination of skill and soul with a healthy dollop of big fun! Opening act is Ann Arbor's beloved jazz-rock lunatics, the Macpodz.

The kaleidoscopic cocktail of sound, Pink Martini, returns to play Hill Auditorium Saturday, July 9 at 8pm. This wild twelve-piece band brings Parisian café ambience to Brazilian samba sounds and ’30s dance music of Cuba, and seemingly, all musical points in between. Good singers with glamorous arrangements.

Free Top of the Park Events

Top of the Park events commence Friday, June 17 and run through Sunday, July 10. Highlight dates for jazz fans include The Sun Messengers  bringing horn-driven fun Friday, June 17 at 9pm. Spicy salsa with Orquesta Sensacional Saturday, June 18 at 9pm. Big Band swing with The Millionaires Fri. Jun. 24 at 9pm. Fabulous gypsy jazz with the Royal Garden Trio Sun. Jun. 25 at 6pm with NOMO bringing their powerful afrobeat sounds the same night at 9pm. Latin jazz for and from hep cats with Los Gatos Weds. Jun. 29 at 6:30pm. Joe Summers Gypsy Jazz Trio swings it Sat. Jul. 2 at 6pm. And the Saints of Soul hit with trombone and horns for dancing Sat. Jul. 9 at 7pm. Check the Current calendar for complete listings…

Summer Club Scenes

The Ark has a variety of fascinating dates including Lipbone Redding & the Lipbone Orchestra Sat. Jun. 4 at 8pm. This cat does Mills Brothers-like trombone and horn voicings – without any horn! Virtuoso guitarist and strange storyteller Leo Kottke returns Sun. Jun. 5 at 7:30pm. The Hot Club of Cowtown swings strings bucolic Tues. Jun. 14 at 8:00pm. They will offer up a new tribute to Western swing patriarch Bob Wills.  Along the same tangential jazz lines is the return of Country guitar maestro Junior Brown at the Ark Sun. Jul. 24 at 7:30pm.

The Kerrytown Concert House has eclectic and adventurous bookings for our Summer Eve's delight as well. They host the Middle West Trio Wednesday, June 8 at 8:00pm. The band features Ben Jansson on tenor sax, Duncan McMillan on organ, with David Brophy drumming. Ben is a fine player with a big sound — a tough swinger with a rare gift for ballads. Drummer RJ Spangler's Planet D Nonet is brewing up a horn storm at KCH Saturday, June 11 at 8:00pm. The band features Salim Washington on tenor sax and flute. And look out! Their space-age jazz program features music of South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and the supersonc sounds of Sun Ra! Calling all planets! From England comes avant saxcat Trevor Watts in duet performance with longtime pal Veryan Weston on piano. They bring "minimalist overtures, circular patterns, and flowing thematic initiatives" Monday, June 20 at 8:00pm. Whew! Sounds like a heady blend. Make mine a double-double! The Hot Club of Detroit hits with special guest saxcat Jon Irabagon Thursday, June 23 at 8pm. A great group with a vibrant modern take on Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz here hooks up with the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition.  And looking to July, KCH brings Manner Effect Friday, July 15 at 8:00pm.

Down by the Creekside

David Swain's II-V-I Orchestra continues their run at the Creekside Grill the last Sunday of each month with ambitious features and sweet music for dancing! They come out for the cool with the music of legendary arranger Gil Evans Sunday, June 26. And the soulful sonorities of "the mighty Ming," Charles Mingus, will be rolled out in style Sunday, July 31. Always reliable fun beginning at 6:30pm.
Be sure to check the Current calendar for the raft of other musical events with broad appeal for jazz hipsters. I'm looking forward to joining you out and about in Treetown! Adios, amigos!