Did you know that a jazz musician who has built a reputation around the world as one of the most talented and innovative players on the scene happens to live in Cincinnati? Saxophonist JD Allen is young enough to still be considered a rising star and old enough to have already built an impressive resume. He didn’t grow up in Cincinnati—Detroit was his hometown, and he’s lived in New York—but recently he moved here. Although, like other in-demand jazz musicians, he spends a lot of time playing and recording around the world, he is interested in putting something together locally, and the performance Saturday night at the New Prospect Baptist Church at 1821 Elm Street (the corner of Findlay and Elm) has the potential to be some pretty awesome music. The quartet includes Willie Smart on drums; Willie you may know from the years he spent busking next to Graeter’s with any number of percussion instruments as well as a multi-tiered drum set. If someone can make it happen as a solo percussionist—and Willie sho’ nuff does—imagine what he can do with a quartet. The guitarist will be Brendon Scott Coleman, an extremely active and versatile young player, and the bassist is John P.
As for the bandleader, JD Allen, I’ll simply say that he’s one of the shining lights among young jazz musicians right now. Listening to him, I hear echoes of earlier tenor players from the golden age of bebop (and earlier too), but I also hear a searcher, someone who’s not content to mimic other musicians. He has a robust sound on the horn, and he’s a quite lyrical player when the situation calls for it.
The show starts at 8pm. The cover is $10 prepay (call 513-787-7025), or $12 at the door—and there’s a discount for seniors. Here’s some live footage of JD performing in Spain (I told you he’s a world traveler):