Here’s a rundown on what you can expect when you “do the Stroll” on Friday, June 15, in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Don’t worry about parking in Clarksburg cause there is plenty. From Interstate 79, take U.S. Route 50 W to the Second Street exit. From there, you can access the big public parking building, or just cruise the main streets and you’ll see empty lots with plenty of spaces. Park without worry after you’ve been careful to read the signs.
While there is no cover charge for the live jazz music, there may a food and drink minimum purchase expected by different venues. It is best to ask up front what the policy is so you are not surprised or unprepared. When you think about it, the minimum is completely fair. The venues are businesses and they don’t charge for the music because the music is provided to them. They do, however, need to pay staff and overhead, so pony up and spend some money. And don’t forget the servers when it’s time to leave a tip.
PARKER’s 4th Street Restaurant at 123 S. Fourth St. will host a Dizzy’s Redux (Return To Dizzy’s) with world-renowned clarinetist, Ken Peplowski, and Chuck Redd, drummer and master of the vibraphone, as they recreate their historic Thanksgiving Week concerts held for years in Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Columbus Circle in New York City. Joining Ken and Chuck are Steve Rudolph on piano, Eric Susoeff on guitar, and Lars Swanson on bass. If you don’t make a reservation for this show, you will likely not get in to hear it. They will get that busy on “Stroll night”, and when the band is as great as this one will be, Parker’s is a truly tough ticket. If they don’t have any seats left for the 7pm show, ask about the 9pm set.
WASHINGTON SQUARE 216 Washington Avenue, is a popular pizzeria that transforms itself into an intimate jazz haunt on Jazz Stroll night, or any night they host music. Lower lights, nice dark backdrop for the band, attentive and responsive audiences, and an understanding staff make for a truly jazz-focused experience. They’ve got a full bar too. At 5pm and 7pm, it will be the @Play Jazz Quintet from the Parkersburg/ Athens, Ohio jazz scene. These cats are veteran jazzers who swing like they’re going to be up all night. Kay Carter plays trumpet and sings, Terry Douds plays bass and Bob Mills plays piano, while Tim Marks is on saxes) and bandleader, Jeff Edman, plays drums. Playing the late sets at 9pm and 11pm, Rich Norwood’s Current Jazz Band with guest trombonist, Jeff Bush, are likely to burn the place down. Usually, the last set at Washington Square becomes one of the “just like in the movies” musical experiences that everyone remembers, but can’t seem to describe. The band is Norwood on alto sax, Adam Loudin on trumpet, Eli Weidman on drums, Chris McGraw on bass, Hunter Hirsch on guitar, and Bush on trombone.
“COFFEE HOUSE” STYLE VENUE
MY LITTLE CUPCAKE at 331 W. Main St. is what we’d call a “coffee house style” place. This is the only Jazz Stroll venue without a bar, but you are welcomed to bring your own. The two acts appearing there for the Stroll should fit in nicely with a laid back, family friendly atmosphere. The first band at 5pm, and then again at 6pm, is Kid Kurtis, a quartet led by Kurtis Richards, a recent grad of the Glenville State College music program. Kurtis is serious as can be about having a career as a jazz musician, and he has recruited a trio of like-minded young cats ready to make their statement. Kurtis is joined by Bobby Davis on bass, Jacob Shingler on drum kit, and Derrick Lowe on keyboard. The second act is a solo guitarist/ singer, Jeremy Soule, who does original and traditional Mexican folk music. Soule’s sets are at 7pm and 8pm. His high level of improvisation and his presentation of original music is how Soule meets muster with a jazz society, in case you wondered. This will be the kind of set you envision when you seek music that is both lively and relaxing, and you don’t need to speak Spanish.
KELLY’s IRISH PUB at 221 S. Third St. features a happy group of regulars who blend in with an even happier group of Jazz Stroll visitors (Strollers?) to have a wonderful and raucous celebration centered around the band of the moment. The headline band on Stroll night will be Decon Blues (that stands for “deconstructed”), a project of Clarksburg native, sax wizard, producer and music entrepreneur, Karen Greene, who will play the late sets at 9pm and 11pm. Green has recruited a band of cronies from her early career in central West Virginia, so this is very much a homecoming ensemble, finely tuned and mellowed out at the same time. They’ll be swingin’ (and rockin’ too). The band is Bob Workman on drums, Phil Wyatt on vocals and sax, Seth Maynard on vocals and guitar, Moffett Morris on bass, Terry Hotsinpiller on percussion and Davin Seamon on keyboards. Preceding Decon Blues at 5pm and 7pm will be The Hop, a classic jazz quartet led by drummer, Eric Cappellini, with Chad Williams on tenor sax, Ben Baresh on bass, and Brian Donaldson on keyboard.
FIFTH FLOOR LOUNGE at 134 S. Third St. will have Charleston’s Plus One Friends, a vibraphone quartet led by Scott Milam. The band is scheduled for one-hour sets at 6:30pm, 7:45pm and 9pm. Fifth Floor fills up early and stays full all night. A doorman will let you on the elevator only after someone else has left. This keeps the room upstairs from becoming too full to the point you can’t enjoy the music and conversation.