Coming this Month:

The Jazz Beat: April 2024

Hello, all, and welcome back to this regular column here at Music City Review. Here, we will update you with the most can’t-miss jazz events happening in Music City, so you can be sure to catch all your favorites, as well as discover new ones along the way. Get out there and support your local musicians and keep Music City thriving! We are always looking to promote great music that may not get the attention it deserves. Have an event you think should be included in the next issue? Email me at [email protected]

This Month’s Highlights

Here you’ll find the shows and events this month that I think are the real standouts, unique events that you won’t find every day in the city.

Establishment Big Band w/ Guest Artist Jamey Simmons – Tuesday, April 2 – 7:30 PM (W.O. Smith Music School)

Establishment Big Band is a 21-piece band that performs big band and dance music all throughout the Mid-South region, generating scholarships for talented children to receive musical instruction as a non-profit organization. Jamey Simmons, composer, arranger, trumpeter, and educator is the special guest artist for this show. Simmons is accomplished in all of these fields, having written compositions performed by top names in jazz and teaching jazz and directing ensembles as Director of Jazz Studies at MTSU. Having dedicated his entire career to this music, this collaboration with the Establishment Big Band should no doubt prove to be a very special performance.

Come Fly With Me: A Rat Pack Rendezvous – Sunday, April 7 – 8:00 PM (Franklin Theatre)

Led by Sinatra Bar & Lounge headliner Richard Jacques, an ensemble of some of Nashville’s most talented jazz musicians will pay tribute to Sinatra and the Rat Pack, taking you through a night of Sinatra’s iconic hits, as well as classic tunes from the Great American Songbook. Along with Jacques, you’ll also be treated to the vocal talents of former Las Vegas performer Keith Sargent, and popular Nashville singers Kyle Henry and Michelle Murray. The band features some of Nashville’s top jazz talent, including Scott Ducaj, Todd Parks, Paul Winkler, and more. Tickets can be purchased through the Franklin Theatre website.

Kevin Gastonguay – Friday, April 19 – 7:30 PM (Jazz Cave)

Kevin Gastonguay has become known for his work recording and touring with Cory Wong, a jazz fusion and funk superstar. Now, in his Nashville debut, he presents his own music, seamlessly blending the classic sound of Minneapolis soul with modern funk and jazz, creating a versatile mix of genres that is easily accessible to both jazz lovers and general music audiences alike. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through the NJW website.

Laufey – Tuesday, April 23 – 7:30 PM (Ryman Auditorium)

Jazz audiences, and lovers of jazz vocal music in particular, have an incredible opportunity this month to see Laufey at the iconic Ryman Auditorium. The young Icelandic-Chinese singer and multi-instrumentalist has made it her mission “to bring jazz and classical music to [her] generation.” It’s fair to say she has succeeded spectacularly, as she has finished sold-out tours on three continents and was the most streamed jazz artist on Spotify. Laufey has an incredible, intoxicating voice that will hold your ear all evening long. Though tickets will be difficult to get, any jazz fan should seriously consider this amazing opportunity.

Jazz Jam Presented by Nashville Women in Jazz – Tuesday, April 30 – 7:00 PM (Doors 6:30) (Sangtuary)

Though this is a regular event and not something you may expect to appear in this section, I wanted to call out this jazz jam because I think it’s an important piece of the Nashville jazz scene. Nashville Women in Jazz was created to encourage and promote women and other underrepresented people in Nashville’s jazz scene. Hosted at the Sangtuary, a non-denominational church which seeks to highlight social issues, this jam creates an open space for all types to come and celebrate the true diversity of Nashville Jazz. This event is free and open to all.

Rudy’s Jazz Room

We of course must begin with Nashville’s premier jazz club, with its cozy, intimate setting. I’ll start with some of the unique highlights for this month, then follow up with the great regular acts performing. Please note that some shows are one dollar cheaper if you purchase advance tickets. I have listed the door price for all shows.

Rudy’s Highlights

Below are the performances for this month that I’ve picked out as the real can’t-miss shows, some featuring touring artists from out of state, others featuring local artists giving specialized, unique performances.

Dana Robbins Quintet – Friday, April 5 – 5:30 PM ($15)

GRAMMY-winning saxophonist Dana Robbins pays tribute to the Soul Jazz sound of the late 60’s and early 70’s, celebrating artists such as Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Jimmy Smith, and more. Robbins has either recorded or performed with many artists, including Keb’ Mo’, Aretha Franklin, Taj Mahal, Keith Urban, and more. Her band features David Santos (bass), Wes Little (drums), Phil Hughley (guitar), and Darius Mines (piano/B3 organ).

Green Box Release Party – Friday, April 5 – 8:00 PM ($22)

Three young jazz talents will present material from their recent recording projects with Green Box Music, representing three full albums. Vocalist Jireh Calo hails from Manila and is now based in Boston. Her music draws on a wide range of influences, from traditional jazz to indigenous oral traditions, creating a unique sound like no other. Jacob Jezioro, owner of Green Box Music, is also one of Nashville’s top bass talents, performing regularly with Pat Coil as well as his own bands. Evan Main is a New York City-based pianist who has studied under some of the most well-known pianists today. The performance will also feature special guests Jordan Perlson on drums and Nicholas Gold on cello.

Jeff Berlin – Friday, April 12 – 5:30 PM ($14)

Widely considered to be one of the greatest innovators of the electric bass in the world, even associated with the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Jeff Berlin performed with Bill Burford, Allan Holdsworth, and Frank Zappa, and is cited by Geddy Lee as the “the greatest bass player in the world.” His group this night features some of Nashville’s top talent, including Jacob Jezioro on bass and Bob Harsen on drums.

Ari Hoenig Trio – Saturday, April 13 (two sets) – 5:30 PM ($25) & 8:00 PM ($30)

Philadelphia-born, NYC-based drummer Ari Hoenig will stop by Rudy’s for two Saturday performances. Hoenig has been widely praised by publications such as the New York Times, Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Times, and more for his innovation as a jazz drummer, treating the instrument as equal to all the others in a group, creating a modern jazz sound. Though he has led a variety of different groups, from quartets to big bands, Hoenig now performs with the stripped-down trio, featuring Gadi Lehavi and Ben Tiberio.

Christine Parri – Thursday, April 18 – 9:00 PM ($12)

Australian-born powerhouse vocalist has been a Nashville resident since 2009, and has since made quite a name for herself as a solo artist. Her songwriting is rooted in the blues, but also features unmistakable influences from jazz, soul, and pop.

The Kelli Cox Collaborative – Friday, April 19 – 5:30 PM ($15)

Kelli Cox, one of Nashville’s most active musicians, brings back her sextet Collaborative for an evening featuring music from a wide variety of styles, so there will be sure to be something from everyone. The Collaborative features Jack Wengrosky, Greg Cox, Dan Hitchcock, Chris Autry, and Chris Brown.

Judith Owen & Her Gentleman Callers – Saturday, April 20 – 8:00 PM ($26)

Rolling Stone described Judith and Owen and her band as “an exercise in style.” In her Rudy’s performance this month, Owen celebrates the unapologetic and often unsung women heroes of 1940’s and 50’s jazz and blues music at the head of her all-star New Orleans band.

Caravan Tales – Friday, April 26 – 5:30 PM ($14)

Caravan Tales is a unique ensemble featuring some of Nashville’s top talent, embracing each member’s diverse background to form a group celebrating music from around the world. Guitarist Jerome Degey is originally from Paris and has also had a long exposure to South American culture. Multi-instrumentalist Giovanni Rodriguez was born in Italy to Dominican parents and leads several Latin ensembles in Music City. Memphis-born drummer Marcus Finnie has toured the world with countless huge acts, including Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’, Donna Summer, Billy Preston, to name only a few. Organist Charles Treadway is widely considered the top organist in Nashville, and has performed with some of the finest jazz musicians.

Pascal Le Boeuf’s “Ritual Being” Jazz + Classical Ensemble – Friday, April 26 – 8:00 PM ($25)

Pascal le Boeuf, GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer presents his latest project, a 5-piece jazz/classical crossover ensemble, featuring top Nashville talent Annaliese Kowert (violin), Ian Robertson (cello), Ethan Jodziewicz (bass), and Jordan Perlson (drums).

Rudy’s Regulars

Don Aliquo Trio – Multiple Performances – Friday, April 5 – 11:00 PM & Saturday, April 27 – 11:00 PM ($10)

One of Nashville’s most active and accomplished saxophonists, Aliquo will be performing with his trio on two occasions this month.

Jody Nardone Trio – Saturday, April 6 – 5:30 PM ($16 Cover) & Saturday, April 27 – 8:00 PM ($21)

Prominent Nashville pianist Jody Nardone brings his trio to Rudy’s for a classic jazz set. With a growing national reputation, Nardone seamlessly shifts from the “whispered beauty of Bill Evans to the percussive flights of McCoy Tyner.” (Michael McCall, Nashville Scene)

Geoff Pfeifer Quartet – Friday, April 12 & Friday, April 26 – 11:00 PM ($10)

Playing a mix of Wayne Shorter tunes and originals, Geoff Pfeifer brings gritty, edgy, genuine NYC-style jazz to Rudy’s stage with his Quartet.

Stephanie Adlington – Friday, April 19 – 8:00 PM ($23 Cover)

Another frequent visitor to the Rudy’s stage, award-winning vocalist, songwriter and vocal coach Stephanie Adlington is known as the “Siren of the South,” with an “unrivaled” take on the Great American Songbook.

Sully’s Swingin’ Sunday Supper – Sunday, April 14 & Sunday, April 28 – 6:00 PM ($12)

Every other Sunday, Rudy’s features a Sunday dinner, with one of Music City’s top bassists Jimmy Sullivan leading a swingin’ jazz band featuring rotating special guests, for which a unique dinner special is served just for the show.

Re-Evolution – First Three Mondays (1, 8, 15) – 6:00 PM ($12 Cover)

This five-piece band is heavily influenced by classic jazz cutting-edge artists like Thelonius Monk, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and more. The band consists of Brian Cornish on saxophone, Regi Wooten on bass, Daryl Johnson on drums, Adam Charney on guitar and Alex Murphy on piano.

Pat Coil Trio w/ Special Guest Joel Frahm – Saturday, April 20 – 5:30 PM ($17)

Widely accomplished Pat Coil performs with his trio featuring Marc Widenhofer on drums and Rob Linton on bass, with special guest NYC tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm. All musicians involved are highly accomplished in their own rights, guaranteeing a stellar performance.

Regi Wooten & Friends – Every Wednesday – 9:00 PM ($15 Cover)

Coming from a distinctly talented musical family, Regi Wooten is one of the most innovative and dynamic musicians on the scene today, pushing the boundaries of the traditional genres. Equally at home playing Hendrix as Wes Montgomery, Wooten assembles a group of some of Nashville’s best musicians to offer a night steeped in funk, jazz, soul, blues and rock.

Giovanni Rodriguez & 12 Manos – Every Monday – 9:00 PM ($15)

A favorite on the Nashville Latin and jazz scene, multi-instrumentalist Giovanni Rodriguez presents an electric night of salsa, along with his band consisting of Rodriguez (bass/vocals), Melvin Macias (piano/vocals), Jesus Agreda (Timbales), Lorenzo Molina Ruiz (Trumpet), and Manuel ‘Manotas’ Ramierez (multi-Percussion).

Hot Club Gypsy Jazz – Every Thursday – 6:00 PM ($12)

Every Thursday night, Rudy’s honors its New Orleans and French roots by celebrating the vibrant music of Gypsy Jazz. These nights feature a variety of small groups either led or curated by New Orleans native Brook Sutton, all performing music in the style of the great Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. The bar will feature French Quarter-inspired cocktails as well as gumbo and beignets. Come out for as authentic a night as you can get without a trip to the French Quarter.

Rudy’s Jazz Jam – Every Sunday – 9:00 PM ($10)

I couldn’t make a list of Rudy’s events without including a shout-out for the regular weekly Jazz Jam the club hosts every Sunday night. Whether you are a jazz musician and you want to jam with your fellow artists, or you just want to come and enjoy what the local talent has to offer, the Jazz Jam is a great way to end your weekend.

The Nashville Jazz Workshop

Moving on to Music City’s other great jazz venue, the Jazz Cave at the NJW is a venue with world-class acoustics, which consistently ranks in Downbeat Magazine’s list of Great Jazz Venues in the world. Tickets can be purchased through the Workshop website.

Jazz Cave

Erik Essix – WFSK Concert Series – Friday, April 5 – 7:00 PM ($35)

A new series of concerts curated by Sharon Kay, General Manager of WFSK-FM Jazzy 88 and presented by the Nashville Jazz Workshop commences with contemporary jazz guitarist Erik Essix, whose career has spanned 34 years and 28 albums. Inspired by jazz legends like Jaco Pastorius and Wes Montgomery and yet innovating for the modern era, Essix’s playing pushes the boundaries of contemporary jazz.

Alex Graham: A Tribute to Coltrane & Cannonball – Friday, April 12 – 7:30 PM ($35)

Preeminent Nashville saxophonist Alex Graham will lead a stellar ensemble to pay tribute to two of the most colossal figures in the history of jazz saxophone, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. Graham will be accompanied by fellow saxophonist Dol Aliquo, and backed up by a band featuring David Rodgers (piano), Jack Aylor (bass), and Jordan Perlson (drums).

Kevin Gastonguay – Friday, April 19 – 7:30 PM (detailed above)


Ty Bailie: Tribute to Dr. Lonnie Smith and Joey DeFrancesco – Saturday, April 20 – 7:30 PM ($35)

Following the theme of paying tribute to the greats, organist Ty Bailie will pay homage to two of the greatest jazz Hammond organ masters, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Joey DeFrancesco. The Hammond organ is a rare sight at the Jazz Cave, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear the timeless, swinging music of two all-time jazz greats.

City Winery Nashville

Nashville’s City Winery is a beautiful venue that consistently features top-talent acts that span genres from Jazz to Americana to Hip Hop. The below performances showcase a mix of several genres, but will certainly be of interest to any jazz audience. Enjoy these concerts accompanied by a stellar selection of wine and delicious bites.

The Lounge

Christie Lenée – Friday, April 12 – 6:00 PM ($20 advance/$25 day-of-show)

Though certainly not what I would consider jazz, Christie Lenée boasts a powerful voice and intricate guitar playing that I think would be of interest to those who love the technicality of jazz music.

Phillip-Michael Scales – Tuesday, April 23 – 6:00 PM ($17 advance/$22 day-of-show)

Having grown up close to the blues master B.B. King, a friend of his aunt, Phillip-Michael Scales initially shied away from the blues, knowing he could never equal the greatness of the legend. But over time he rediscovered it, and paired with his love of songwriting created a voice for himself in his own right.

Cheekwood Estates

Piano in the Mansion – Performances March 2, 3, 9, & 10 – 12:00-2:00 PM

On the dates above the superb and meticulously preserved Steinway piano at Cheekwood Estates will be graced by the talents of renowned and celebrated pianist Chris Walters. A New Orleans native, Walters has lived in Nashville since 1989, and in that time has enjoyed a storied career, recording and performing with a number of artists, including The Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, JD Souther, and The Peter Mayer Group.  The already stunning beauty of Cheekwood Estates will be elevated even more by the soothing melodies Walters provides.

This performance is accessible with “Gardens + Mansion” tickets and Cheekwood Estates.

Other Notables

One of the things I try to do with this column is to highlight not just straight-ahead jazz but also acts that are jazz-adjacent; blues, funk, etc. because Nashville is an eclectic place filled with all kinds of music, and jazz fans are sure to be interested in other genres.

The Underdog Nashville

The Guthrie Trapp Trio – Every Monday (except April 8) – 8:00 PM ($10)

One of Nashville’s preeminent guitar talents will perform several times at the Underdog. More blues and country than jazz, Trapp’s intricate and highly technical guitar playing will surely interest those who love the technicality of jazz music. His trio features Jordan Perlson on drums and Tim Marks on bass.

The Jack Ruch Organ Trio – Every Thursday – 8:00 PM ($10)

Guitarist Jack Ruch, organist Adam Wakefield, and drummer Nioshi Jackson make up this soul and blues trio. The music you’ll hear here makes up the core of jazz’s roots, so any jazz fan should feel right at home listening to this trio.

Corey Congilio & Friends – Friday, April 26 – 8:00 PM (Free)

A well-known guitar instructor who has produced over 15 instructional courses and countless lessons for outlets such as, Corey Congilio has spent the last twenty years mastering all contemporary styles, from jazz to country. Don’t miss this chance to see him perform his own music with special guests.

Arrington Vineyards

Music in the Vines Series – Every Saturday & Sunday

Starting in April, Arrington Vineyards will feature concerts of Jazz and Bluegrass every Saturday and Sunday. Acts range from Andrew Carney & the Essentials to Art Four Sale Band to the Reed Pittman Band. Saturday concerts are from 3:00-7:00 PM, and Sunday concerts are from 1:00-5:00 PM.

Sambuca Restaurant

Sambuca is a New American restaurant in the Nashville’s Gulch district, featuring nightly live music. Below are the appearances that will interest the jazz listener!

Leif Shires – Thursday, April 4 – 6:00 PM & Tuesday, April 23 – 6:00 PM

Modern jazz trumpeter Leif Shires will perform twice this month. Shires, who has performed with many artists including Tom Jones, the Secret Sisters, Kelly Lang, and many others, now presents a traditional, straight-ahead jazz sound that is sure to be a great accompaniment to a

Michael Fair – Friday, April 26 – 7:00 PM

Michael Fair is a smooth jazz artist known for the trumpet and flugelhorn. He has been performing for over 30 years, and has carved out a name for himself here in the Middle Tennessee area.

Stephanie Adlington – Saturday, April 27 – 11:30 AM

Featured above in the Rudy’s section, Adlington is an award-winning jazz vocalist.

Two Hands Restaurant

Sam Levine Trio – Every Saturday – 6:30-8:30 PM

Accomplished Nashville saxophonist and woodwind multi-instrumentalist Sam Levine performs with his trio at this Gulch café. Mel Deal on guitar, Charlie Chadwick on bass.

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