When the members of the Cleveland Jazz Project, who came together at Cleveland Heights High School, scattered to go to college, it was natural to think the group’s days were numbered, and that its album Experiment #1, released last summer, might be its swan song. In fact, they’ve shown a persistence and dedication that bodes well for their future in music. The group played a sold-out show at Nighttown in January and they’re returning there at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $10. You can also check them out for free — in a somewhat less optimal environment for serious listening to their sophisticated modern jazz that’s influenced by the likes of John Coltrane — at the Coventry Arts Street Fair from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday.
Pianist Jacob Bergson, who attends the new School in New York along with drummer James Muschler, writes to update us on the band’s odyssey in the year since its CD was released:
“This past year has been a period of creative expansion and exploration for us. As you know, we played Nighttown in August with the group’s original lineup. Immediately afterwards, we all left for school, and James Muschler and I spent a lot of time networking and playing in NYC. [Sax player] Nathan Davis has been doing the same in Akron [where he attends the University of Akron]. We reunited in Ohio in January for a short tour that included stops in Cincinnati and Akron, as well as another sold-out Nighttown show. For those gigs, our band was augmented with two of our friends from New York, bassist Nick Jozwiak and tenor saxophonist Wenzl Mcgowen. In April, James and I, along with Nick and Wenzl, traveled to Switzerland to perform for five nights at the Bern International Jazz Festival. Mostly recently James, Nathan and I appeared at Nighttown in June to back up Hallie Sinclair, a young up-and-coming singer-songwriter. Over the past year or so, we’ve had many diverse musical experiences, both together and as individuals, that have reshaped our sound as a group. So this upcoming show will showcase a more evolved form of the group; it will not be a simple rehashing of old material.”
Go here for more information. —Anastasia Pantsios