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The Jazz Times of Nashville 4/10

The Jazz Times of Nashville is a bi-monthly column from editor and jazz writer Wyatt Parks that provides the reader with a streamlined medium for important Nashville jazz news and insights, including major events and appearances, album releases, and more. The column will put an emphasis on major local and national acts, but also attempts to cultivate the jazz scene by including information about university groups and up-and-coming jazz acts. 

The next couple weeks are packed with some great jazz concerts, led mostly by Nashville's vanguard of local greats. From tribute bands to original artists, there's a concert for everyone and music you won't want to miss. Click on each event for details about tickets and location!

The Nashville Jazz Workshop

Rod McGaha

Friday, April 12 8:00 PM - Rod McGaha 
Rod McGaha has become a familiar face to many local jazz fans. An incredibly accomplished musician, McGaha started playing cornet in grade school and dove head first into jazz while at Northeastern University. He studied with the legendary Clark Terry, and has performed with groups of many genres, including jazz, R&B, gospel and even country. He even performed with jazz legend Max Roach. This time in the Jazz Cave, he'll be performing with longtime collaborators Don Aliquo (saxophone), Jody Nardone (piano), Jonathan Wires (bass), and Justin Varnes (drums).

Before the show, there will be a reception to mark the opening of McGaha's art show entitled "Reflections." This will take place in the gallery at the NJW.

Sunday, April 14 3:00 PM - Jazz on the Move at the Frist: the Music of Stan Getz featuring Don Aliquo
The Jazz on the Move series returns for its final concert and presentation of the season. Longtime Jazz Studies professor at MTSU and frequent Jazz on the Move presenter Don Aliquo will give a presentation and concert dedicated to the music of saxophone legend Stan Getz. Getz had a long and successful career that spanned almost four decades. He was noted for his warm tone and light touch, clearly showing his inspiration from legendary players like Lester Young. Getz was instrumental in popularizing Bossa Nova music in the US in the '60s. He recorded over 150 albums during his forty-year career.

Saturday, April 20 8:00 PM - Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra
In its first Jazz Cave performance, Ryan Middagh and his Jazz Orchestra bring top-tier jazz musicians presenting music from across the musical spectrum. Middagh, Director of Jazz Studies at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music, has called Nashville home since 2007, and his goal with this ensemble is to show that Music City is a perfect home for the large jazz orchestra. Members of the ensemble include some of Nashville's most accomplished players, educators, studio musicians, composers and arrangers, including longtime jazz educator and MTSU faculty Don Aliquo, Nashville jazz legend Jeff Coffin, and local favorite vocalist Bethany Merritt. Middagh founded the orchestra early last  year, representing a life long dream as well as a vehicle for his compositional experimentation.

Rudy's Jazz Room

Thursday, April 11
6:00 PM - The Gypsy Hombres 

If you haven't experienced this group yet, you are missing out on an incredible experience. The trio offers an authentic Gypsy Jazz experience, playing standards of the genre as well as original music in that vein. Led by violinist Peter Hyrka, the group also includes Nashville multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Rory Hoffman on guitar and accordion. Hoffman's performance is an experience all its own. I had the opportunity to review one of the Hombres' last performances at Rudy's. Check it out here.

9:00 PM - Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers
Led by the charming and enigmatic Sweet Megg, the Wayfarers re-imagine a world in which all of the jazz greats are playing together, side-by-side. The band incorporates elements of many of jazz's classic genres, from New Orleans swing to Harlem swing to Parisian cabaret to gut bucket blues.

Saturday, April 13
8:00 PM - Jody Nardone Trio
Prominent Nashville pianist Jody Nardone performs with his trio. Nardone has been lauded for his versatility and wide range of style influences from Bill Evans to McCoy Tyner.

11:30 PM - Geoff Pfeifer 
Nashville-based saxophonist Geoff Pfeifer and his quartet are a gritty, edgy, group offering real New York City-style jazz. Playing a mix of original tunes and Wayne Shorter music, listeners will be sure to feel the energy with this group.

Tuesday, April 16 9:00 PM - MILEStones 
Nashville-based group MILEStones serves as a musical homage to jazz legend Miles Davis and his contributions to the collective body of jazz music. Focusing on his work with the two "great quintets," the band utilizes the exact arrangements and instrumentation that Miles featured on those records. The group keeps alive the tradition the late great trumpeter began so many years ago.

Guitar legend Robben Ford

Friday, April 19 - Saturday, April 20 - ROBBEN FORD
An incredible treat and opportunity awaits Nashvillians as absolute guitar legend Robben Ford will perform four sets at Rudy's over these two days. Ford was named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" by Musician magazine and is a recipient of Guitar Player magazine's Lifetime Achievement Legend award. Ford is a five-time Grammy nominee, bandleader, and prolific composer. Over his long career he has collaborated with a wide array of artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis. Ford will perform two sets each day, Friday at 8:00 PM and 9:45 PM, and Saturday at 8:00 PM and 9:45 PM.

Other Venues

Sunday April 14 7:00 PM - TJBS Great Albums Concert: Tales from the Hudson by Michael Brecker performed by Rahsaan Barber
The Tennessee Jazz and Blues Society presents another installment of the Great Albums series, this time presenting Tales from the Hudson by Michael Brecker. The performance will be led by saxophonist Rahsaan Barber and feature pianist Matt Endahl, guitarist Lindsey Miller, bassist Brain Allen and drummer Bob Harsen.

Barber earned a Master of Music in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School in 2005, and since then has had a successful career performing and recording in an ever-expanding pool of musical genres, from jazz to funk to blues to Latin and World music. He has shared the stage with industry giants like Meghan Trainor, Martina McBride, Chris Stapleton, and the Wooten Brothers.

University Jazz Life


Tuesday, April 16 5:00 PM and Tuesday, April 23 6:30 PM - Student Jazz Combos
Nashville's next generation of jazz musicians present jazz combo concerts featuring standards as well as original compositions and arrangements. Led by Nashville jazz educators and prolific performers Jim Ferguson and Jonathan Wires respectively, these concerts can often represent the direction in which this music is headed.

Monday, April 22 - Jazz Arranger/Composer Concert
Students of Jazz Composition and Arranging will present the works they have prepared over the course of the semester. Featuring big band music as well as small ensemble, the concert will showcase the original talent MTSU has to offer.


Sunday, April 14 7:30 PM - Vanderbilt Steel Bands
While not explicitly jazz, steel band music features genres of music at the very foundation of jazz itself, including calypso and other Caribbean and West African genres.

As always, if you have an event you would like to get publicized, feel free to contact us at and I will try to add it in.

Thanks so much for reading and remember to always check back for more content!

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