Queen Saba's Birthday Groove

Queen Saba's Birthday Groove

Sat, Jul 20

Camille Saba Smith — vocalist Erwin Stuckey — piano Jack Early — bass Isaiah Cook — drums Sassy, irrepressible, and wonderfully profound…Cleveland native Camille “Saba” Smith—is a FORCE. A powerhouse of talent, Smith is the quintessential slash artist. Blessed with a five-octave range—she is a self-taught vocalist. Singing brings her joy and has fascinated her for over twenty years! Camille founded the musical ensemble “Saba Jazz” and other groups. She is in demand as an accomplished, versatile studio vocalist and band leader. She has also worked with several well-known artists around the globe. Smith believes that the key to making great music—is diversity. Being well-versed in a variety of genres has taken her far. She has an acute ability to sense the changing needs of her listeners. She considers her performances—a vehicle to connect with the divine while sharing inspiring messages with the world. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Paul Patterson & Friends

Paul Patterson & Friends

Tue, Jul 23

Paul Patterson — classical/12-string guitars Justin Dawson — bass Dan Dorff — drums/percussion Sylvia Mitchell — violin/accordion A night of Paul’s original music with flavors of Brazilian jazz guitar and ambient 12-string guitar. If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Original Farm League Big Band

Original Farm League Big Band

Wed, Jul 24

The Original Farm League Big Band is a 17-piece Jazz Orchestra dedicated to expanding the modern big band repertoire while featuring the work of local arrangers/composers. Formed in 2015, the ensemble comprises many of the Cincinnati/Dayton area's most exciting up-and-coming Jazz players and performs entirely original material. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Dominick Farinacci and TRIAD: Album Release Concert with Christian Tamburr and Michael Ward-Bergeman

Dominick Farinacci and TRIAD: Album Release Concert with Christian Tamburr and Michael Ward-Bergeman

Thu, Jul 25

Dominick Farinacci — trumpet Christian Tamburr — vibraphone Michael Ward-Bergeman — accordion TRIAD, led by Dominick Farinacci (Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center, TED Speaker), Michael Ward-Bergeman (Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble; soloist with NY Philharmonic), and Christian Tamburr (musical director and composer for Cirque du Soleil, Penn & Teller), brings together a unique instrumentation of trumpet, vibes, marimba and accordion. Their repertoire weaves together deep South American, New Orleans, and European musical influences through originals alongside songs reimagined by Astor Piazzolla, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Kurt Weill, John Mayer, and others. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch

Fri, Jul 26

A jazz piano pantheon member, Fred Hersch has been an influential creative force over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator, and recording artist. Vanity Fair has proclaimed him “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” and “a living legend” by The New Yorker. A seventeen-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has garnered jazz’s most prestigious awards, including a Doris Duke Artist (2016), Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association (2011, 2016, 2018), and the Jazz Magazine (France) International Artist of the Year (2021). The Fred Hersch Trio was voted the #1 Jazz Group in the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll. An acclaimed and influential solo pianist, he has twelve solo recordings in his catalog, including the 2024 release Silent, Listening, which collaborates with legendary producer Manfred Eicher for the ECM label. All About Jazz has remarked that “when it comes to the art of solo piano in jazz, there are two classes of performers: Fred Hersch and everybody else,” The New York Times calls him “a master who plays it his way.” The Fred Hersch Trio has remained at the pinnacle of modern jazz through more than twelve albums, venerated as the epitome of thrilling interplay and dynamic spontaneity. The Wall Street Journal calls the trio “one of the major ensembles of our time,” while The New Yorker has applauded it for playing with “high lyricism and high danger.” They were named the #1 Jazz Group of the Year by DownBeat magazine. And appeared at major European and US jazz festivals and have regularly headlined at the legendary Village Vanguard since 1997. Hersch has more than sixty albums to his credit as leader or co-leader. His 2022 Breath By Breath features him playing his compositions inspired by his insight meditation practice with his trio and the Crosby Street String Quartet. A 2022 duo project with Italian trumpet maestro Enrico Rava, The Song Is You (ECM), was followed by the 2023 release of Alive at the Village Vanguard, a duo with dazzling jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding that was named a 2023 Top Ten Jazz Album by DownBeat and was nominated for two 2024 Grammy Awards. His last album with his long-standing trio, 2018’s Live in Europe (Palmetto), documents one remarkable evening in Brussels and has been hailed as its best to date. An exceptionally responsive and intuitive collaborator, Hersch has engaged in duo partnerships with several spirited artists, including clarinetist Anat Cohen; guitarists Bill Frisell, Gilad Hekselman and Julian Lage; saxophonists Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, and Miguel Zenon; trumpeters Avishai Cohen and Enrico Rava; and vocalists Kurt Elling, esperanza spalding, Kate McGarry, Audra McDonald, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Renée Fleming. His many sideman credits include Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Charlie Haden, and other jazz legends. Hersch’s memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly (Crown Archetype), compellingly reveals the story of his life in music along with a frank recounting of his health struggles and triumphs as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician. The book was named one of 2017’s Five Best Memoirs by the Washington Post and the New York Times and acclaimed as 2018’s Book on Jazz of the Year by the JJA. His story has also been told in a feature documentary by filmmakers Carrie Lozano and Charlotte Lagarde, The Ballad of Fred Hersch, which premiered to a sold-out house at the Full Frame Film Festival in 2016 and is now streaming. His acclaimed jazz/theater piece My Coma Dreams, created with librettist/director Herschel Garfein for actor/singer, eleven musicians and immersive video, premiered in 2011 and is also available online. While widely renowned for his playing, Hersch has earned similar distinction with his composing, garnering a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition, among other awards. His large-scale setting of Walt Whitman’s poetry for two voices and instrumental octet, Leaves of Grass, was selected to open the 2017 Jazz at Lincoln Center season at the Appel Room. He has received commissions from Roomful of Teeth, Igor Levit, the Lucerne Festival, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Doris Duke Millennium Fund, and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. He has been awarded ten composition residencies at MacDowell and one at Bellagio. For two decades, Hersch has been a passionate spokesman and fundraiser for AIDS services and education agencies. He has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and in numerous concerts for charities; to date, his efforts have raised more than $300,000. He has also been a keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe. In 2020, he raised $50,000 for the Jazz Foundation of America with a live duo EP with vocalist Esperanza Spalding and Eight x 88, a streaming event featuring eight of New York’s greatest jazz pianists in solo and duo formats. A committed educator, Hersch has taught at the New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, the New School, Rutgers University, and the Manhattan School of Music and has given master classes worldwide. Hersch’s influence has been widely felt by a new generation of jazz pianists, from former students Brad Mehldau, Sullivan Fortner, Dan Tepfer, and Ethan Iverson to his piano colleague Jason Moran, who has said, “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.” If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch

Sat, Jul 27

A jazz piano pantheon member, Fred Hersch has been an influential creative force over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator, and recording artist. Vanity Fair has proclaimed him “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” and “a living legend” by The New Yorker. A seventeen-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has garnered jazz’s most prestigious awards, including a Doris Duke Artist (2016), Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association (2011, 2016, 2018), and the Jazz Magazine (France) International Artist of the Year (2021). The Fred Hersch Trio was voted the #1 Jazz Group in the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll. An acclaimed and influential solo pianist, he has twelve solo recordings in his catalog, including the 2024 release Silent, Listening, which collaborates with legendary producer Manfred Eicher for the ECM label. All About Jazz has remarked that “when it comes to the art of solo piano in jazz, there are two classes of performers: Fred Hersch and everybody else,” The New York Times calls him “a master who plays it his way.” The Fred Hersch Trio has remained at the pinnacle of modern jazz through more than twelve albums, venerated as the epitome of thrilling interplay and dynamic spontaneity. The Wall Street Journal calls the trio “one of the major ensembles of our time,” while The New Yorker has applauded it for playing with “high lyricism and high danger.” They were named the #1 Jazz Group of the Year by DownBeat magazine. And appeared at major European and US jazz festivals and have regularly headlined at the legendary Village Vanguard since 1997. Hersch has more than sixty albums to his credit as leader or co-leader. His 2022 Breath By Breath features him playing his compositions inspired by his insight meditation practice with his trio and the Crosby Street String Quartet. A 2022 duo project with Italian trumpet maestro Enrico Rava, The Song Is You (ECM), was followed by the 2023 release of Alive at the Village Vanguard, a duo with dazzling jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding that was named a 2023 Top Ten Jazz Album by DownBeat and was nominated for two 2024 Grammy Awards. His last album with his long-standing trio, 2018’s Live in Europe (Palmetto), documents one remarkable evening in Brussels and has been hailed as its best to date. An exceptionally responsive and intuitive collaborator, Hersch has engaged in duo partnerships with several spirited artists, including clarinetist Anat Cohen; guitarists Bill Frisell, Gilad Hekselman and Julian Lage; saxophonists Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, and Miguel Zenon; trumpeters Avishai Cohen and Enrico Rava; and vocalists Kurt Elling, esperanza spalding, Kate McGarry, Audra McDonald, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Renée Fleming. His many sideman credits include Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Charlie Haden, and other jazz legends. Hersch’s memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly (Crown Archetype), compellingly reveals the story of his life in music along with a frank recounting of his health struggles and triumphs as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician. The book was named one of 2017’s Five Best Memoirs by the Washington Post and the New York Times and acclaimed as 2018’s Book on Jazz of the Year by the JJA. His story has also been told in a feature documentary by filmmakers Carrie Lozano and Charlotte Lagarde, The Ballad of Fred Hersch, which premiered to a sold-out house at the Full Frame Film Festival in 2016 and is now streaming. His acclaimed jazz/theater piece My Coma Dreams, created with librettist/director Herschel Garfein for actor/singer, eleven musicians and immersive video, premiered in 2011 and is also available online. While widely renowned for his playing, Hersch has earned similar distinction with his composing, garnering a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition, among other awards. His large-scale setting of Walt Whitman’s poetry for two voices and instrumental octet, Leaves of Grass, was selected to open the 2017 Jazz at Lincoln Center season at the Appel Room. He has received commissions from Roomful of Teeth, Igor Levit, the Lucerne Festival, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Doris Duke Millennium Fund, and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. He has been awarded ten composition residencies at MacDowell and one at Bellagio. For two decades, Hersch has been a passionate spokesman and fundraiser for AIDS services and education agencies. He has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and in numerous concerts for charities; to date, his efforts have raised more than $300,000. He has also been a keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe. In 2020, he raised $50,000 for the Jazz Foundation of America with a live duo EP with vocalist Esperanza Spalding and Eight x 88, a streaming event featuring eight of New York’s greatest jazz pianists in solo and duo formats. A committed educator, Hersch has taught at the New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, the New School, Rutgers University, and the Manhattan School of Music and has given master classes worldwide. Hersch’s influence has been widely felt by a new generation of jazz pianists, from former students Brad Mehldau, Sullivan Fortner, Dan Tepfer, and Ethan Iverson to his piano colleague Jason Moran, who has said, “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.” If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Sylvain Acher's Transatlantis

Sylvain Acher's Transatlantis

Tue, Jul 30

Sylvain Acher — guitar/ vocals Rob Allgeyer — accordion Nick Fryer — bass John Zappa — drums Transatlanits is a Mélange of original French compositions combined with world rhythms, which, in the hands of four accomplished musicians, results in a new and exciting multicultural experience. Drawing from genres such as traditional French songs, Gypsy, Jazz, Brazilian (and even a little Cajun), their music transports listeners and transforms events into a musical journey worldwide. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Jul 31

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley and Chris Caporale

Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley and Chris Caporale

Thu, Aug 01

Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley — vocalist Chris Caporale — piano Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has sung in operas, musicals, cabarets, festivals, and concerts throughout the United States, Australia, Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Germany, including performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall, Harlech Castle in North Wales, and the Sydney Opera House. Kelly has been on the voice faculty at NKU’s School of the Arts for nine years and has also run voice studios in Sydney, London & Cincinnati, where she worked with private students, recording studios, and vocal ensembles and was recently invited to join the voice faculty of the University of Dayton. In 2018, she became the NKU Vocal Jazz Ensemble director and continued her studies with Darmon Meader of New York Voices. In October 2021, Kelly served as a Jazz Ambassador for the Cincinnati-Nancy Sister Jazz Initiative in Nancy, France, and Kelly continues to perform regularly throughout Southwest Ohio. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Plays Bacharach and Steely Dan

Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Plays Bacharach and Steely Dan

Fri, Aug 02

Steve Schmidt — Hammond organ Brad Myers — guitar Jason Smart — drums Embark on a captivating musical odyssey as Hammond organist Steve Schmidt graces the stage, delivering an exquisite jazz concert that pays tribute to the indelible legacies of Steely Dan, the brainchild of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, alongside the timeless melodies of Burt Bacharach. Prepare to be enthralled by an evening of masterful interpretations and soul-stirring performances. With keyboard virtuosity that knows no bounds, Steve Schmidt brilliantly captures the intricate essence of Steely Dan's iconic fusion of jazz, rock, and pop. Under Schmidt's skillful touch, classics like "Reelin' in the Years" and "Deacon Blues" are revitalized, evoking the spirit that Walter Becker and Donald Fagen infused into their legendary compositions. Transitioning seamlessly between the worlds of Steely Dan and Burt Bacharach, Schmidt's Hammond organ weaves a seamless tapestry of sound that resonates with both nostalgia and innovation. The smooth melodies of Bacharach's timeless hits, such as "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and "What the World Needs Now Is Love," are reimagined with a fresh jazz perspective, offering a breathtaking homage to the master of romantic harmonies. As Schmidt and his ensemble take you on a musical voyage, the symbiotic interplay of instruments will enchant and captivate, celebrating Steely Dan's and Burt Bacharach's genius. This tribute concert is a heartfelt recognition of the brilliance that Walter Becker, Donald Fagen, and Burt Bacharach have brought to the music world. Join us for an evening that bridges eras and genres as Steve Schmidt's remarkable tribute to Steely Dan and Burt Bacharach unfolds. Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies and innovative arrangements that honor the contributions of these musical luminaries, and prepare to be swept away by a symphony of emotions that truly embody the essence of jazz. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Jane Monheit Quartet

Jane Monheit Quartet

Sat, Aug 03

Jane Monheit is a jazz and adult contemporary vocalist passionate about the Great American Songbook. With many highly acclaimed solo albums, countless awards and accolades, and over two decades of international touring experience, Jane has not only been an extremely successful bandleader but has had the privilege of making music with some of the greatest musicians, arrangers, and producers in jazz. During her childhood, Jane studied woodwinds and piano, spent a decade performing in award-winning choirs, and participated in community theater on Long Island. Throughout this, her focus remained on jazz, especially her interpretation of the Songbook. At 20, during her senior year at the prestigious Manhattan School Of Music, Jane placed second in the Thelonious Monk Competition, now known as the Hancock Competition. This led to an incredible career trajectory, catapulting Jane into the jazz stratosphere nearly overnight. By 22, Jane worked with legends such as Tommy Flanagan, Ron Carter, and Kenny Barron, recording her first albums and touring the planet. This led to collaborations with jazz luminaries such as Terence Blanchard, Ivan Lins, Tom Harrell, John Pizzarelli, Christian McBride, Vince Mendoza, Jorge Calandrelli, and many more. Countless television appearances followed, including David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, The View, and many popular international talk shows. Several successful film soundtracks have also included Jane’s music, including Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow and Never Let Me Go. After more than twenty years, twelve studio albums, and countless recorded guest appearances, Jane has continued to tour the world nearly nonstop, including playing iconic venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl and headlining at nearly every legendary jazz club on the planet, most notably NY stalwarts such as the Village Vanguard and Birdland. In addition to touring, she also writes English lyrics for Ivan Lins. She uses the knowledge and experience she has gained at the Manhattan School Of Music and on the legendary bandstands of the world to educate and uplift students worldwide. Jane resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Rick Montalbano, and their son, who has been a drummer for over twenty years. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Brent Gallaher Quartet featuring Matt Harris

Brent Gallaher Quartet featuring Matt Harris

Tue, Aug 06

Brent Gallaher — tenor saxophone Matt Harris — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass Philip Tiption — drums Join us for an evening of soulful jazz at Caffe Vivace on April 30th, 2024, featuring the renowned tenor saxophonist Brent Gallaher. As the owner of Caffe Vivace, Gallaher brings his passion for jazz to life, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for music enthusiasts to enjoy. Accompanying him is the talented pianist Matt Harris, whose refined style and innovative arrangements will add depth and sophistication to the evening's ambiance. Join us for an intimate night of exceptional music as Gallaher and Harris take the stage together, weaving a captivating tapestry of jazz melodies that will linger long after the night ends. If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Aug 07

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Cincinnati Jazz Messengers

Cincinnati Jazz Messengers

Thu, Aug 08

Ralph DiSylvestro — trumpet Eric Wurzelbacher — tenor saxophone Joe Duran — alto saxophone Garett Arrowood — trombone Ben Tweedt — piano Justin Dawson — bass Alex Merk — drums The Cincinnati Jazz Messengers are a 7-piece ensemble assembled by trumpeter Ralph DiSylvestro to celebrate the iconic and exciting music of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers from the 1950s through the 1980s. Art Blakey’s band featured some of the most influential composers and instrumentalists of the 20th century such as Benny Golson, Cedar Walton, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Watson. The goal of the Cincinnati Jazz Messengers is to keep the music of these jazz titans alive, and in the spirit of the Jazz Messengers, contribute their own compositions to the diverse and rich songbook. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Bill Cunliffe Trio

Bill Cunliffe Trio

Fri, Aug 09

Bill Cunliffe — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass Jim Leslie — drums Jazz pianist, composer, and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Bill began his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with over a dozen albums under his name. Bill currently plays with his trio, big band, Latin band Imaginación, and classical-jazz ensemble Trimotif. He performs in the U.S. and around the world as a leader, sideman, and soloist with symphony orchestras. His latest recording is the Bill Cunliffe Trio album “River Edge, New Jersey,” which was released in April by Azica Records. It features bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner. Recent releases include his Overture, Waltz, and Rondo for jazz piano, trumpet, and orchestra (BCM+D Records, 2012). Bill performed the work with trumpeter Terell Stafford and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luis Biava. The recording won Bill his fifth Grammy nomination in the Best Instrumental Composition category. Also released in 2012 was his Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, with tubist Jim Self and the Hollywood Ensemble, with Bill conducting (Metre Records, 2012). Bill’s album of solo improvisations on Christmas carols, “That Time of Year” (Metre Records, 2011), was described as a “tour de force” in the Los Angeles Times. Bill’s other recordings show his affinity for Latin rhythms (“Bill in Brazil,” Imaginación” and his Grammy-nominated trumpet concerto “Fourth Stream… La Banda”) and pay tribute to some of his musical heroes, including Bud Powell, Oliver Nelson, and Paul Simon. Bill wrote the score for the film “On the Shoulders of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s homage to the Harlem Rens basketball team of the 1920s and ’30s. The movie recently received an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. Bill’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Album. He recently completed scoring a film noir by Singaporean director Ying J. Tan and is producing a jazz album for singer Freda Payne. Bill’s books “Jazz Keyboard Toolbox” and “Jazz Inventions for Keyboard” (Alfred Music Publishing) have become standard reference works. His most recent publications are “Uniquely Christmas” (2012), a book of arrangements inspired by his CD “That Time of Year,” and “Uniquely Familiar: Standards for Advanced Solo Piano” (2010). Bill was awarded a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for “West Side Story Medley” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson” (Resonance Records, 2009). In addition to receiving five Grammy nominations, he is a two-time Emmy nominee. The Los Angeles Jazz Society honored Bill with its Composer/Arranger Award in 2010. That year, he was also named a Distinguished Faculty Member of the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton, where he is a jazz studies professor. He also teaches at the Skidmore Jazz Institute and the Vail Jazz Workshop. Bill grew up in Andover, Mass. He studied jazz at Duke University with pianist Mary Lou Williams and received his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. He was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Bill Cunliffe Trio w/Kathy Wade

Bill Cunliffe Trio w/Kathy Wade

Sat, Aug 10

Bill Cunliffe — piano Kathy Wade — vocalist Aaron Jacobs — bass Jim Leslie — drums Jazz pianist, composer, and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Bill began his career as a pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with over a dozen albums under his name. Bill plays with his trio, big band, Latin band Imaginación, and classical-jazz ensemble Trimotif. He performs in the U.S. and worldwide as a leader, sideman, and soloist with symphony orchestras. His latest recording is the Bill Cunliffe Trio album “River Edge, New Jersey,” which was released in April by Azica Records. It features bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner. Recent releases include his Overture, Waltz, and Rondo for jazz piano, trumpet, and orchestra (BCM+D Records, 2012). Bill performed the work with trumpeter Terell Stafford and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luis Biava. The recording won Bill his fifth Grammy nomination in the Best Instrumental Composition category. Also released in 2012 was his Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, with tubist Jim Self and the Hollywood Ensemble, with Bill conducting (Metre Records, 2012). Bill’s album of solo improvisations on Christmas carols, “That Time of Year” (Metre Records, 2011), was described as a “tour de force” in the Los Angeles Times. Bill’s other recordings show his affinity for Latin rhythms (“Bill in Brazil,” Imaginación” and his Grammy-nominated trumpet concerto “Fourth Stream… La Banda”) and pay tribute to some of his musical heroes, including Bud Powell, Oliver Nelson, and Paul Simon. Bill wrote the score for the film “On the Shoulders of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s homage to the Harlem Rens basketball team of the 1920s and ’30s. The movie recently received an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. Bill’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Album. He recently completed scoring a film noir by Singaporean director Ying J. Tan and is producing a jazz album for singer Freda Payne. Bill’s books “Jazz Keyboard Toolbox” and “Jazz Inventions for Keyboard” (Alfred Music Publishing) have become standard reference works. His most recent publications are “Uniquely Christmas” (2012), a book of arrangements inspired by his CD “That Time of Year,” and “Uniquely Familiar: Standards for Advanced Solo Piano” (2010). Bill was awarded a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for “West Side Story Medley” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson” (Resonance Records, 2009). In addition to receiving five Grammy nominations, he is a two-time Emmy nominee. The Los Angeles Jazz Society honored Bill with its Composer/Arranger Award in 2010. That year, he was named a Distinguished Faculty Member of the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton, a jazz studies professor. He also teaches at the Skidmore Jazz Institute and the Vail Jazz Workshop. Bill grew up in Andover, Mass. He studied jazz at Duke University with pianist Mary Lou Williams and received his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. He was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

The Interstate Commerce Commission Organ Quartet

The Interstate Commerce Commission Organ Quartet

Tue, Aug 13

Alex Nicodemus — Hammond organ Jack Mansfield — drums Tristen Krueger — guitar Keith Humphrey — guitar The Interstate Commerce Commission Organ Quartet comprises your traditional organ trio with an extra guitar player! Hear a nice blend of funk, standards, fusion, and originals on any night out with the I.C.C! A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

David & The HeartStrings + the HeartBeat

David & The HeartStrings + the HeartBeat

Wed, Aug 14

David S. Burk — vocals and harmonica David Lloyd — bass Greg Chako — guitar Mike Meloy — drums David & The HeartStrings perform a mix of original & covers of blues/swing, plus songs from the Great America Songbook such as This Time the Dream’s on Me, It’s Easy to Remember, On the Street Where You Live, The Night They Called it a Day, and the Ray Charles classic, You Don’t Know Me. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Hydrophonics

Hydrophonics

Thu, Aug 15

Andy Smith — Hammond organ Daniel Nail — tenor saxophone Carlos Vargas-Ortíz — guitar Isaiah Cook — drums Hydrophonics is a funk and soul organ quartet based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their sound is a melting pot of styles reflecting the different musical backgrounds of the band members, with priority always given to danceable grooves and tasteful melodies. Hydrophonics’ catalog includes original music and arrangements of the works of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, and more. If you like Soulive, Medeski, Martin, Scofield & Wood, Jimmy Smith, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, then you’ll enjoy the soulful sounds of Hydrophonics. A $15 food/drink minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Eugene Goss and Keppler II — A Stevie Wonder Celebration

Eugene Goss and Keppler II — A Stevie Wonder Celebration

Fri, Aug 16

Eugene Goss — vocalist Steve Schmidt — keyboards Sam Reuscher — bass Francis Wyatt — drums Get ready to groove and sing along as Eugene Goss, the acclaimed jazz vocalist, pays a heartfelt tribute to the living legend Stevie Wonder. In an evening filled with passion and musical mastery, Goss will captivate the audience with his soul-stirring interpretations of Stevie Wonder's most beloved hits. From "My Cherie Amour" to "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Goss brings a unique blend of jazz and soul to these timeless classics, creating a performance that resonates with the soul. Join us for a night of celebration and appreciation for the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, brought to life by the incomparable talent of Eugene Goss. It's an event you won't want to miss! A $15 food/drink minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Al West, Jr. and Friends

Al West, Jr. and Friends

Sat, Aug 17

Al West Jr. — vocalist Greg Chako — guitar David Lloyd — bass Michael Meloy — drums Al West Jr. featuring the Greg Chako Trio (Greg Chako-gt, David Lloyd-bass & Michael Meloy-drums), coming straight off their 1st album "I Wish You Love," will Live-Premier the songs for Al's 2nd album, “Hi-Fly,” scheduled to begin recording in late Aug. ’24 Al West, Jr., conceived in Mississippi, born in St. Louis, and raised in Chicago, is a jazz vocalist whose journey follows the genealogy and geography of this uniquely American musical art form. His silky smooth vocals and classic-man vibe naturally suit his expansive repertoire. Al interprets a broad range of selections from the Great American Songbook with emotion, sensitivity, and vitality that poignantly conveys each story. Straddling classic and contemporary jazz worlds, he easily moves from intimate lounge settings to larger performance halls. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Alex Merk's Higher Heights

Alex Merk's Higher Heights

Tue, Aug 20

Colin Palmieri — alto/soprano saxophones Alec Davis — tenor saxophone Spencer Merk — trombone Alex Nicodemus — piano Teddy Mechley — bass Alex Merk — drums Higher Heights is a sextet that performs original music and arrangements from their favorite modern jazz groups. The band consists of six classmates from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music and was formed under the concept of the members pushing each other through complex writing in a setting outside of school. Spearheaded by drummer Alex Merk, the group features original music from every member and seeks to push its musical boundaries continually. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Aug 21

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

The Five Little Bears

The Five Little Bears

Thu, Aug 22

Brent Gallaher — tenor saxophone Michael Mavridoglou — trumpet Steve Schmidt — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass Jim Leslie — drums You can expect to hear some classic and newer tunes, swinging and funky, by Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, and other jazz greats, as well as some original songs by some of the Bears! Please come and plan on having fun - without bearly trying! :) A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Spherical Agenda

Spherical Agenda

Fri, Aug 23

Brandon Coleman — guitar Ben Tweedt — keyboards Matt Wiles — bass Devon Leigh — drums SPHERICAL AGENDA is a jazz-rock fusion band comprising the Midwest region's top musicians. Hailing from Cincinnati, OH, their sound not only draws from the cutting edge of today's fusion but harkens back to the reckless abandon and pure energy of groups like Tony Williams Lifetime, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Return to Forever. Spherical Agenda is a powerhouse band whose unique chemistry gives rise to infectious grooves, daring solos, and captivating energy. ARCANE WISDOM, the band’s full-length debut album, is an eclectic assortment of compositions featuring diverse musical influences and a sharply-honed skill set. Whether it be their progressive rhythmic explorations or soul-infused grooves, Spherical Agenda consistently pushes the musical envelope while paying homage to their home state’s rich heritage of funk and soul. Despite the all-encompassing nature of their style and sound, the band maintains a singular, identifiable voice, proving themselves to be an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with. Despite the band being fairly young, the collective is cultivating an ever-growing list of accomplishments. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Mike Wade Sextet — Standard Time Tribute Show

Mike Wade Sextet — Standard Time Tribute Show

Sat, Aug 24

Mike Wade — trumpet Eric Wurzelbacher — tenor saxophone Matt Green — piano Eric Sayer — bass Francis Wyatt — drums Craig Williams — percussion With the passing of one of Dayton, Ohio's precious Jazz GIANTS, Pianist/Composer Khalid Moss, in 2022, Mike Wade, Bandleader of the Ohio-based Jazz combo Standard Time, has decided to pay homage to the one band that brought the two of them together, The Standard Time Quintet. The band will feature original members Francis Wyatt on Drums, Eric Sayer on Bass, Craig Williams on Percussion from St. Louis, and joining the band for the Tribute is "Special Guest & former Band member" Matt Green on Piano from Las Vegas and Eric Wurzelbacher in Saxophones. During his career, Mike Wade was named one of the top ten unsigned jazz brass players, as rated by Jazziz Magazine (1997). His composition, “Blues for Shorty Bop,” was chosen for inclusion in the Jazziz on Disc collection. He has performed and/or recorded with such artists as David “Fathead” Newman, Clark Terry, Javon Jackson, Bobby Watson, Gary Bartz, Mulgrew Miller, Rene Marie, Don Braden, and Steve Wilson. Steve Wilson has said of Mike, “Mike Wade has secured his place among the legacy of great trumpeters…people get ready!” Mulgrew Miller has said of Mike, “Mike Wade is a very exciting and creative jazz trumpeter. He is also a very charismatic bandleader. He is dedicated and ambitious. It was a pleasure to play with him”. Craig Bailey has said of Mike, “Mike Wade is one the most inspiring musicians of the new millennium. He has the fire and energy that it takes to be a great leader as well as a great artist. His hustle ability on and off the horn will take him to many new horizons. He is a name not to forget and a trumpet player not to miss.” A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Monika Herzig's Sheroes — All In Good Time

Monika Herzig's Sheroes — All In Good Time

Tue, Aug 27

Jamie Baum — flute Reut Regev — trombone Monika Herzig — piano Gina Schwarz — bass Chelsea Hughey — drums This fourth project, under the banner of Sheroes, an all-female band spearheaded by pianist, prolific composer, and arranger Monika Herzig, simultaneously celebrates the group’s 10th anniversary and salutes its perseverance. Back in 2014, Herzig’s idea was to bring together fellow women jazz musicians to present powerful role models on stage to break some lingering stereotypes, a path initially paved by Sherri Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra in the ‘90s. That groups like Artemis and similar initiatives have since followed the trail that Sheroes helped blaze proves their efforts have paid off. Over time, the various Sheroes ensembles represent an extended family of bandleaders in their own right. All In Good Time is the latest step in their ongoing mission to elevate some of these iconic composers and players. “It was great having fellow bandleaders because they understand the challenges of leading projects and can provide moral support and sometimes share resources,” said Herzig of her fellow Sheroes bandmates. “We also understand that we face similar challenges, and it helps to have a community where you can talk and work towards similar goals.” If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Original Farm League Big Band

Original Farm League Big Band

Wed, Aug 28

The Original Farm League Big Band is a 17-piece Jazz Orchestra dedicated to expanding the modern big band repertoire while featuring the work of local arrangers/composers. Formed in 2015, the ensemble comprises many of the Cincinnati/Dayton area's most exciting up-and-coming Jazz players and performs entirely original material. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Miki Yamanaka Trio

Miki Yamanaka Trio

Fri, Aug 30

Miki Yamanaka — piano Tyrone Allen — bass Jimmy Macbride — drums Jazz Vivace and a Tribe For Jazz proudly present the Miki Yamanaka Trio as part of the Summer 2024 Jazz Series. 34-year-old Japanese-born pianist Miki Yamanaka has called New York City home since 2012 and, in the past decade, has wasted no time establishing herself as one of the leading personalities of her generation on the piano and beyond. Critics laud her “light, expressive touch and solidly crafted, mainstream approach” - Mike Jurkovic (All About Jazz), while audiences delight in her playing and her vibrant personality. Yamanaka has gained international recognition from her albums as a leader; her most recent and most celebrated release, “Shades Of Rainbow” (Cellar Music), features Jazz masters Mark Turner and her NYC rhythm section, Tyrone Allen and Jimmy Macbride. Additionally, Miki has emerged as the “New York Scene” leader via her notable residencies at mainstay West Village sister clubs Smalls and Mezzrow. During the pandemic, she developed a successful in-home live-streaming weekly concert series cleverly titled “Miki’s Mood,” where she features a veritable who’s who of NYC talent (including her husband and frequent collaborator - drummer Jimmy Macbride). The series showcases her vast knowledge of Jazz standards and tunes, often featuring themed offerings of various composers from both the Great American Songbook and iconic Jazz composers. As a sideman, Yamanaka has worked with Jazz luminaries such as alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, who posits, “Miki will be recognized as one of the most exceptional artists of her generation, as she is already one of the most talented and dedicated musicians from Japan.” Other notable bands she currently works in include the Harish Raghavan Quintet and The Mingus Bigband. One of her most respected mentors on piano and organ (Yamanaka also performs on organ frequently), Larry Goldings, once mused, “If only I could have Miki Yamanaka comp behind me!” - a compliment of the highest order from one master pianist to another. She has a myriad of glowing reviews from her recorded work and the iconic Downbeat Jazz magazine has repeatedly awarded her albums high marks. On top of her exciting work as a bandleader in New York and abroad, Miki can often be found out, and about most nights, where her infectious smile and gregarious nature engender fast friends in every audience she encounters. She has many hobbies, including cooking, knitting, and perhaps most visibly, her penchant for wearing her vast collection of kimonos on her gigs, proudly representing her heritage and culture night after night as she dazzles audiences worldwide. Important Notices: A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Clay Jenkins w/Steve Schmidt Quartet

Clay Jenkins w/Steve Schmidt Quartet

Sat, Aug 31

Clay Jenkins — trumpet, Rick VanMatre — tenor saxophone, Steve Schmidt — piano, Justin Dawson— bass, Jim Leslie — drums Jazz Vivace proudly presents Clay Jenkins as part of the Summer Jazz Series. Clay Jenkins’ career as a jazz artist has covered a wide range of musical experiences and responsibilities, bringing him to the forefront of jazz performing and teaching arenas. Clay’s experience as a performer began at an early age, playing and recording with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. 1978 Clay moved to Los Angeles, where he was in demand as a performer and studio recording musician. He toured with the big bands Buddy Rich and the Count Basie Orchestra. Since moving to Rochester, New York, in 2000 to join the Eastman faculty, Clay has maintained a busy performing, recording, and teaching schedule. He has remained active throughout the United States and abroad. Clay continues to perform and record with the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, of which he is a charter member whose trumpet section also included the great Eugene “Snooky” Young (1919-2011). Clay’s close friendship with Snooky Young led to three guest appearances at Eastman by the great trumpet player. Clay recently established the “Snooky Young Endowed Scholarship” at Eastman to assist under-represented minority students. Clay is currently writing a biography of Snooky Young’s life. Clay has performed on over one hundred recordings. He has released seven solo recordings under his name, and as a co-leader, he has recorded with Gene Bertoncini, Kim Richmond, and Don Aliquo. Clay has also recorded with Joe LaBarbera’s Quintet, The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Harold Danko, Rufus Reid, Alan Ferber, and Charles Pillow. Clay also records with his Eastman colleagues Jeff Campbell and Rich Thompson as “Trio East.” Clay’s latest recording project, soon to be released, included guitarists Gene Bertoncini and Larry Koonse, drummers Joe La Barbera and Jeff Hamilton, and bassist John Clayton. Clay attended North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music theory. He then received his master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Southern California. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Sep 04

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Myles Ellington Twitty Quintet Play Diz and Bird

Myles Ellington Twitty Quintet Play Diz and Bird

Thu, Sep 05

Myles Ellington Twitty — trumpet Christopher Andrew — alto saxophone Brian Cashwell — piano Cadence Okuwobi — bass Jmir Ison — drums Join us for an evening of timeless bebop as trumpeter Myles Ellington Twitty pays tribute to jazz greats Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Twitty will bring the classic sounds of these legends to life with his thoughtful interpretations and masterful playing. Experience the music that shaped an era, performed with respect and passion by one of today’s talented musicians. This is a night of jazz you won't want to miss. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be within 24 hours of the start of the performance. 

Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley w/ Phil DeGreg Quartet — I’m Hip! A Night of Blossom Dearie & Dave Frishberg

Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley w/ Phil DeGreg Quartet — I’m Hip! A Night of Blossom Dearie & Dave Frishberg

Fri, Sep 06

Hank Mautner joins vocalist Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley on trumpet and vocals to celebrate the music of the deliciously quirky songstress Blossom Dearie and the impeccably witty songwriter Dave Frishberg. Rounding out the band for the night is Phil DeGreg on piano, Aaron Jacobs on bass, and Jim Leslie on drums. The outrageous tunes of the evening will include Can’t Take You Anywhere, They Say It’s Spring, ‘Deed I Do, I Want To Be A Sideman, Peel Me a Grape, I’m Just a Bill, and of course, the consummate, I’m Hip! Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has sung in operas, musicals, cabarets, festivals, and concerts throughout the United States, Australia, Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Germany, including performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall, Harlech Castle in North Wales, and the Sydney Opera House. Kelly has been on the voice faculty at NKU’s School of the Arts for nine years and has also run voice studios in Sydney, London & Cincinnati, where she worked with private students, recording studios, and vocal ensembles and was recently invited to join the voice faculty of the University of Dayton. In 2018, she became the NKU Vocal Jazz Ensemble director and continued her studies with Darmon Meader of New York Voices. In October 2021, Kelly served as a Jazz Ambassador for the Cincinnati-Nancy Sister Jazz Initiative in Nancy, France, and Kelly continues to perform regularly throughout Southwest Ohio. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Ric Hordinski

Ric Hordinski

Sat, Sep 07

"Ric Hordinski layers stark acoustic, twang grunge electric and pretty lap steel over ...confessional, confrontational vocals." —Guitar Player Magazine "Hordinski shows himself to be the rarest kind of virtuoso - one who knows when not to play…and what not to play.... what makes Hordinski's music so compelling is that it transcends both notes and spaces, communicating to the listener something that transcends the literal." —Reid Davis, Pastemusic.com. Ric has appeared on records with Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Bootsy Collins, John Mayer, Jacob Collier, David Wilcox, Ben Harper, Richard Thompson, Tony Levin, Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), Victor Wooten, Phil Keaggy, Victoria Williams. Robbie Fulks and many others. As a live performer, he’s shared the stage with a dizzying array of musicians: Johnny Cash, Moby, Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Indigo Girls, Iron and Wine, Wu-Tang Clan, and many others. He's produced award-winning records for many folks, including Over The Rhine, Wilcox, and Phil Keaggy. On his own, hiding behind the Monk moniker, he released six independent records that featured alternately the songwriting craft he honed during his eight years in OTR, the ambient guitar that garnered demand as a studio musician, and the ear for songcraft that makes him an excellent producer. He seems to be one of the few musicians able to straddle comfortably the distance between ground-breaking avant-garde explorations (witness his association with people like David Torn) and truly beautiful pop music. Paste Music has called him " the rarest kind of virtuoso, the kind who knows when not to play." This penchant for understatement has its rewards: Ric received a Grammy nomination in 2003. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Scott Belck's Limehouse Ramblers

Scott Belck's Limehouse Ramblers

Tue, Sep 10

Scott Belck — trumpet Rick VanMatre — clarinet Vaughn Wiester — trombone Brian Cashwell — piano Chris Berg — bass Jim Leslie— drums Cincinnati's newly formed all-star Traditional jazz band led by trumpeter Scott Belck. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Phil DeGreg Trio Play Sinatra

Phil DeGreg Trio Play Sinatra

Thu, Sep 12

Phil DeGreg — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass John Taylor — drums The Phil DeGreg Trio will celebrate the timeless music of Frank Sinatra, widely considered one of the greatest vocalists of all time. Sinatra's use of phrasing and his inventive and emotive interpretation of the American songbook has few peers. His captivating vocal style and subtle, sophisticated performances have inspired countless musicians and continue to echo through the hearts of jazz enthusiasts. Phil DeGreg is a Cincinnati-based pianist who has made his mark in jazz over the past four decades as a recording artist, composer, and pedagogue. He has toured with The Woody Herman Orchestra and performed with Randy Brecker, Ira Sullivan, Claudio Roditi, J.J. Johnson, Harry Allen, Conrad Herwig, and many others. He has released 12 albums as a leader. As an educator, Phil retired after 27 years as a Professor of Jazz Studies at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He continues to teach private students and master classes locally and worldwide and has taught with Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops for 36 years. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested before 24 hours of the start of the performance. 

Mandy Gaines Quartet

Mandy Gaines Quartet

Fri, Sep 13

Mandy Gaines — vocalist Dan Karlsberg — piano Chris Berg — bass Phillip Tipton — drums Mandy Gaines began singing at an early age in school and church. She holds a B.A. from the College of Wooster in Speech/Arts. She has continued her studies through private vocal instruction and workshops emphasizing oral interpretation, jazz improvisation, vocal technique, theatre, and broadcasting/media studies. If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Dixie Karas Quintet

Dixie Karas Quintet

Tue, Sep 17

Dixie Karas — vocalist Ted Karas — guitar Steve Weingart — keyboard Bill Jackson — bass John Taylor — drums Get ready to be captivated by the mesmerizing melodies of Dixie Karas and her talented quintet at Caffe Vivace this November! Experience an unforgettable evening as Dixie Karas takes the stage, enchanting the audience with her soulful voice and a repertoire of favorite Jazz and Adult Contemporary tunes. Mark your calendars now for a night of musical magic you won't want to miss. Join us at Caffe Vivace and let the rhythms of jazz and soul sweep you away on a journey of pure musical delight! A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Sep 18

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Ben Tweedt Trio

Ben Tweedt Trio

Thu, Sep 19

Ben Tweedt is one of Cincinnati's most sought-after pianists and keyboardists. He performs regularly with local, regional, and national acts. His trio project is a culmination of years of work on original compositions influenced by American jazz and folk music, Latin American music, gospel music, and more. Matt Wiles will join him on bass and Tom Buckley on drums. Ben's upcoming trio album of original compositions will be released in late 2024; more information will be coming soon! A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Benny Benack III w/Phil DeGreg Trio

Benny Benack III w/Phil DeGreg Trio

Fri, Sep 20

Benny Bennack III — trumpet/vocals Phil DeGreg — piano George DeLancy — bass Phillip Tipton — drums By age 32, Emmy-nominated trumpeter and singer Benny Benack III has proven to be that rarest of talents: not only a fiery trumpet player with a stirring command of the postbop trumpet vernacular in the vein of Kenny Dorham and Freddie Hubbard but also a singer with a sly, mature, naturally expressive delivery in the post-Sinatra mold, performing standards and his astute songs with a thrilling sense of showmanship. This duel-threat ability was recognized by the 2022 Downbeat Critics Poll, where he appeared as the #2 Rising Star Male Vocalist and a top Rising Star Trumpeter. His superb intonation and bracing virtuosity enable him to handle astounding feats of originally composed vocalese (complex solos with written lyrics). On top of it all, he’s also a highly capable pianist. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Marquis Hill

Marquis Hill

Sat, Sep 21

From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer, and bandleader, Marquis Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, and neo-soul—to Hill are all essential elements of his profound African-American creative heritage. “It all comes from the same tree,” he says. “They simply blossomed from different branches.” That mission to unite styles, complemented by Hill’s absolute instrument mastery, is a line connecting his many achievements. It can be heard on his latest album, Modern Flows Vol. II, with its seamless blend of jazz interplay, hip-hop-infused rhythms, and socially conscious spoken word. It’s integral to The Way We Play, his Concord Jazz debut in 2016, where Hill and his musicians reinvent jazz standards using their generation’s wide-ranging influences. It marks the four records Hill self-released before November 2014, when he won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition and became a presence on the global scene virtually overnight. And it defines the revelatory live dates by Hill’s longtime working group, the Blacktet, which the Chicago Tribune called “a remarkably polished, immensely attractive ensemble.” For Hill, playing and listening without limits has long been an instinct. “It comes naturally; that’s how I hear the music,” he says. “I came up in a household where my mom played Motown, R&B, Isley Brothers, Barry White, Marvin Gaye. Then I received my first jazz record, by Lee Morgan, which was added to the collection. ... I truly believe the music is all the same.” Born in Chicago in 1987 and raised on the city’s culturally rich South Side, Hill began playing drums at age 4 before switching to trumpet in the 6th grade. He attended high school at Kenwood Academy, excelling in its revered jazz-performance program. He was mentored by Bobby Broom, Willie Pickens, Tito Carrillo, and other Chicago greats through the Ravinia Jazz Scholars program. Hill earned his bachelor’s in music education from Northern Illinois University and his master’s in jazz pedagogy from DePaul University. During college, he made gigs and sessions around Chicago, jamming with and absorbing wisdom from Fred Anderson, Ernest Dawkins, and Von Freeman. Even then, Hill was known as a stunningly gifted trumpeter with a soulful, highly textured tone. His sound is now somehow both deeply distinctive and a tour through jazz-trumpet history, evoking the high-drama stillness and space of Miles, the undeniable virtuosity of Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard, the groove-savvy phrasing of Lee Morgan and Donald Byrd, and much more. Well before Hill won the Monk prize—arguably the most important jazz competition in the world—his reputation for brilliance was firmly established in the Midwest as a member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, an in-demand sideman, and a bandleader. He also developed into a precocious, determined young label owner and has released five acclaimed discs—New Gospel, Sounds of the City, The Poet, and Modern Flows Vols. I and II—through his Black Unlimited Music Group imprint. “Just having my personality, there’s nothing like being in control of what you produce and put out into the world,” he says. “It’s a great feeling.” A move to New York in 2014 helped him gain wider exposure and new opportunities—though he frequently returns to his hometown for gigs and projects—and in recent years, Hill has garnered an enviable spate of press. Previewing a Blacktet show, the New Yorker said, “His performances and recordings reveal a smart post-bop player who circumvents genre clichés by incorporating elements of hip-hop and contemporary R. & B.” Of The Way We Play, DownBeatwrote, “The groove-laden arrangements provide the perfect soundscape for Hill’s fluid improvisational style, which, with its glass-like lucidity, recalls the crisp elegance of hard-bop stalwart Donald Byrd.” 2016 Hill earned first place in the “Rising Star–Trumpet” category in that magazine’s storied Critics Poll. Throughout his journey, he has supported and guested with a who’s who of jazz that includes Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Boney James, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, and Hill’s trailblazing Chicago peer Makaya McCraven. Latest Project New Gospel Revisited is the new album from the fearless and formidable American composer and trumpeter Marquis Hill. This time, a live recording that revisits and reinterprets his debut 2012 New Gospel album employs a band of super-heavyweight musicians, including Walter Smith III, Joel Ross, James Francies, Kendrick Scott, and Harish Raghavan. Marquis Hill’s rise over the last few years has been striking, and there’s no letting up. Since winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composition award, he has demonstrated full command of his art and built a reputation for synthesizing what he describes as the essential elements of the Africa-American creative heritage, including contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, house, and neo-soul. Now, his sights are set even higher. New Gospel Revisited is an extraordinary live recording that reimagines his debut as a leader with a new band, a new focus, and a sharpened ear as a bandleader, composer, and performer. The set is breathtakingly good, with a band that sounds as inventive and creative as it reads on paper. “… New Gospel was my debut album and my first completed production. To revisit this music freshly, with a new band has been uniquely invigorating —and hugely rewarding.” Marquis Hill A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Terell Stafford Quintet

Terell Stafford Quintet

Tue, Sep 24

Terell Stafford — trumpet Tim Warfield — tenor saxophone Bruch Barth — piano David Wong — bass Jonathon Blake — drums Terell Stafford, an acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player; he combines a deep love of melody with his brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well-defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his inroads. Since the mid-1990s, Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet, and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. Stafford, with the HamiltonClayton Jazz Orchestra, performed on Diana Krall’s GRAMMY-nominated From This Moment On (2006). John Clayton invited Stafford to perform with the Clayton Brothers Quintet and Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and they were awarded a GRAMMY in 2009 for Best Large Ensemble, Live at the Village Vanguard. Stafford can be heard on over 130 albums, including his own BrotherLee Love, Celebrating Lee Morgan, which received a 47th Annual NAACP Image Award nomination. His most recent album, Family Feeling, is a BCM&D release. Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP). Stafford is renowned in jazz as an educator, performer, and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Original Farm League Big Band

Original Farm League Big Band

Wed, Sep 25

The Original Farm League Big Band is a 17-piece Jazz Orchestra dedicated to expanding the modern big band repertoire while featuring the work of local arrangers/composers. Formed in 2015, the ensemble comprises many of the Cincinnati/Dayton area's most exciting up-and-coming Jazz players and performs entirely original material. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Mandy Gaines and Steve Schmidt

Mandy Gaines and Steve Schmidt

Thu, Sep 26

Mandy Gaines — vocalist Steve Schmidt — piano Mandy Gaines began singing at an early age in school and church. She holds a B.A. from the College of Wooster in Speech/Arts. She has continued her studies through private vocal instruction and workshops emphasizing oral interpretation, jazz improvisation, vocal technique, theatre, and broadcasting/media studies. Pianist Steve Schmidt was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He took two years of basic piano lessons in grade school but spent more time playing baseball and basketball. An attraction to the guitar - to blues and blues-oriented rock bands - drew Steve into pursuing music. Throughout high school, he spent much of his free time playing guitar along with records and jamming with others around the city. Blues led to jazz, and he switched to piano the summer after high school to teach himself the chords and melodies of jazz. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Ron Jones Quartet: An Evening of Duke Ellington

Ron Jones Quartet: An Evening of Duke Ellington

Fri, Sep 27

Ron Jones — alto saxophone Rob Allgeyer — piano Chris Berg — bass Jim Leslie — drums Join us at Caffe Vivace for an evening of classic jazz as renowned alto saxophonist Ron Jones performs the timeless music of Duke Ellington. Enjoy an intimate, soulful performance that captures the essence of Ellington's greatest works. Whether you're a dedicated jazz fan or new to the genre, this night promises to be a memorable celebration of live music. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the artistry of Ron Jones and the enduring melodies of Duke Ellington. Ron Jones graduated Cum Laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Jones was also a member of the world-famous FAMU Marching 100 Band. Jones is involved in jazz education, giving workshops at many Universities and High Schools in the Midwest. He has been a guest artist, clinician, and lecturer at Ohio State University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Purdue University, Central Michigan University, Bradley University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Kentucky, Indiana Wesleyan University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Ball State University, Indiana State University, The University of Evansville, Vincennes University, Berea College, Ferris State University, University of Louisville, Grand Rapids Community College, University of Indianapolis, Eastern Kentucky University, and many others. In 1997 Jones recorded his first CD, “A Vision of Beauty”. The CD has received nationwide airplay and great reviews from Jazziz and Cadence Magazines. Jones has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz like Diane Reeves, Terell Stafford, Christian McBride, Wynton, Branford, & Delfeayo Marsalis, Slide Hampton, James Williams, Kenny Kirkland, Bill Cunliffe, John Von Ohlen, Richard Davis, Jimmy Rainey, Cal Collins, Nat Adderley, Rufus Reid, Conrad Herwig, Donald Brown, John McNeil, Bobby Shew, Wycliffe Gordon, Gregory Hutchison, Winard Harper, Joe Labarbera, Pat Labarbera, Bob Hurst, Don Braden, Ed Soph, David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Dan Hearle, Jerry Coker, Adam Nussbaum, David Liebman, Hal Galper, Ed Thigpen, Richard Groove Holmes, and many others. $15 drink/food minimum charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the resale of your seats with no refund. There are no refunds within 24 of the start of the performance. 

An Evening of Blues and Jazz: The Ben Levin Quartet Featuring Art Gore

An Evening of Blues and Jazz: The Ben Levin Quartet Featuring Art Gore

Sat, Sep 28

Ben Levin — piano/vocals Art Gore - drums Sean Carney — guitar/vocals Walter Cash Jr. — bass Ben Levin is a blues pianist/vocalist from Cincinnati, OH. Ben has released four albums on the Vizztone label and has two Blues Music Award nominations and five Blues Blast Awards nominations. Ben's latest album, "Take Your Time," featured collaborations with Blues legends Lil' Ed, Bob Stroger, and Lil'Jimmy Reed. Based on the success of their single "I've Been Drinking Muddy Water," Ben and Lil' Jimmy collaborated again in the studio, with Ben producing and co-writing songs with Jimmy. "Back to Baton Rouge" was released in May 2023 on NOLA Blue and reached number two on the Living Blues radio charts. "Both musicians have perfectly matched and understood themselves to give us a repertoire that includes five covers and five original songs that are a heartfelt tribute to the most traditional old-time blues. A magnificent and mandatory to listen album, one of those small treasures which are barely recorded, to be deeply savored in these times of modernity and technology." -La Hora De Blues (Spain) Ben also released an EP on Vizztone, "Waiting Just For You," in October 2023 with jazz vocalist Stella Heath. The two musicians collaborated on four duets with an all-star rhythm section, including Jim Anderson on upright bass and Art Gore on drums. "With Stella’s background in jazz and a love for blues, and Ben’s background in blues with a love for jazz, the two met musically in the middle. “Waiting Just For You” showcases four duets in a style where blues and jazz intersect to create a beautiful, classic sound." -American Blues Scene Art Gore's drumming style is characterized by signature driving cymbal beats, crisp, sharp snare accents, and well-placed bass drum "bombs." During his six-decade career, he has performed and recorded with such artists as George Benson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lonnie Liston Smith, Pharoah Sanders, Woody Shaw, Larry Young, Bobby Watson, Freddie Hubbard, John Scofield, Hank Marr, J.J. Johnson, Joey Defrancesco, Kenny Dorham, Hank Crawford, James Moody, and Ahmad Jamal, to name a few. Dr. Lonnie Smith has said of Art, "Art has the kind of rhythm and drive that's always right there." Art Gore was born into a family of musicians, which began his early exposure to music. By age sixteen, he was playing professionally. After graduating high school, Art attended Berklee College of Music and was drafted into the armed forces for two years. His musical development continued by playing with the First Armored Division Band and orchestra and leading his groups. After serving in the military, Art attended the Berklee College of Music, where he studied with renowned drum instructor Alan Dawson and later at the New England Conservatory of Music under Vic Firth. In 1972, Art joined Dr. Lonnie Smith, leading to traveling and recording with the Grammy-winning guitarist and vocalist George Benson. Upon leaving George Benson's band, Art began working with Lonnie Liston Smith. Art's recordings with Lonnie were some of the most important of his early career. Many jazz enthusiasts consider one of the recordings, "Expansions" (RCA 1975), a jazz-fusion classic. "Voodoo Woman," one of the compositions that Art recorded with Lonnie, is included in the Recommended Recordings of the Decade for the Smithsonian Collection of Jazz in the Seventies. A $15 food/drink minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. There are no refunds within 24 hours of the start of the performance. 

CV Spotlight Night: Scott Wojahn

CV Spotlight Night: Scott Wojahn

Tue, Oct 01

Scott Wojahn, a 2018 California escapee, is a versatile composer, producer, studio musician, singer, and songwriter known for his intimate style, warmth, and humor. For 30 years, Scott created award-winning branded music for many of the most recognizable national and global companies, from Ford to AT&T, the US Army, and 12 seasons of American Idol, working with numerous recording artists, including Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, and Shawn Colvin. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Oct 02

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Now Hear This

Now Hear This

Thu, Oct 03

John Zappa — trumpet Brad Myers — guitar Steve Schmidt — keyboard Aaron Jacobs — bass Jason Smart — drums An artful combination of Contemporary jazz with the rhythms of afrobeat and world-beat music, Now Hear This is electric, funky, and organic. The group is comprised of musicians with extensive professional experience, playing the music of various styles, including jazz greats Ignacio Berroa, Benny Golson, Tim Hagens, Fareed Haque, Charlie Hunter, Jeff Hamilton, Warren Vache, Don Braden, and local popular groups including Ray’s Music Exchange, The Blue Wisp Big Band, and Brasilia. The result is a well-balanced blend of the jazz tradition with the experimental elements requisite to find an original approach. Rhythms not typically associated with jazz or American dance provide their music with an exotic flavor while maintaining accessibility to audiences through its groovabilty. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Joe Alterman Trio

Joe Alterman Trio

Fri, Oct 04

Joe Alterman — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass Jim Leslie — drums Atlanta native Joe Alterman expresses a certain upbeat naivete with a broad smile and bright eyes that make you feel welcome. One would not guess that this is a man hailed by greats; Ramsey Lewis describes his piano playing as a joy to behold’; Les McCann states, ‘As a man and musician he is already a giant.’ Journalist Nat Hentoff championed three of Alterman’s albums, as well as his writing (Joe wrote liner notes to three Wynton Marsalis/JALC albums), calling one of Joe’s columns “one of the very best pieces on the essence of jazz, the spirit of jazz, that I’ve ever read, and I’m not exaggerating.” Joe Alterman began at NYU with a BA and Master in Jazz Piano from NYU and has since performed at many world-renowned venues, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Birdland, and Blue Note alongside Houston Person, Les McCann, Dick Gregory, Ramsey Lewis, and his trio, among others. Downbeat describes his sound as “rooted in the blues and with a touch reminiscent of the great pianists of the 1950s—Red Garland, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans.” It is clear Joe hits all of the necessary points for Jazz critics and fans alike. But there is more to the story, of course. The twenty-first century has thus far seen yet another transition for this thing called Jazz. In one moment, we see the push and pull between tradition and progression; in another, we see Pop and Hip-Hop musicians emulating and sampling. In Joe Alterman, we find none of this struggle; the music sounds good. Our conscious faculties are instantly disabled as we tap our feet, feeling the intent and joy of his playing. An old classic is new when you feel good at the moment. Joe Alterman’s new release, The Upside Of Down, captures this fresh and joyful intent. Taken from two live shows at Birdland in November 2019 and February 2020, the album reminds us of a not-too-distant time when we gathered and danced. Joined by Nathaniel Schroeder on bass and Marlon Patton on drums, Alterman cruises gently and delightedly through timeless selections from Les McCann, Oscar Peterson, Henry Mancini, and more, with some of his compositions in the mix. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Ben Wendel Group

Ben Wendel Group

Sat, Oct 05

Grammy-nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel, born in Vancouver, raised in Los Angeles, and currently living in Brooklyn, has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer, producer, and conductor. Highlights include multiple domestic and international tours with artists such as Ignacio Berroa, Tigran Hamasyan, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Taylor Eigsti, Snoop Dogg, and the late Prince. Ben is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated group Kneebody. In 2015, Ben Wendel released a music-video art project entitled The Seasons, inspired by a set of twelve piano pieces written and released each month by Tchaikovsky in 1876. Wendel’s modern take on the idea was to compose and release twelve original jazz chamber duets in video format on YouTube with modern luminaries Joshua Redman, Luciana Souza, Eric Harland, Julian Lage, and Ambrose Akinmusire, among others. As the videos garnered acclaim among social networks, the project became an unexpected word-of-mouth success and was featured prominently in The New York Times (Best of 2015), NPR’s All Things Considered, and the CBC. Ben Wendel Group features a cast of some of today's great young players, playing through the repertoire of an already acclaimed discography, including the albums “What We Bring” and “The Seasons.” A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Jeremy Pelt Quintet

Jeremy Pelt Quintet

Thu, Oct 10

Jeremy Pelt — trumpet Jalen Baker — vibraphone Misha Mendelenko — guitar Leighton Harrell — bass Jared Spears — drums Jeremy Pelt has become one of the preeminent young trumpeters in jazz. Forging a bond with the Mingus Big Band very early on, as his career progressed, Pelt built upon these relationships and many others, which eventually led to collaborations with some of the genre's greatest masters. These projects include performances and recordings with Cliff Barbaro, Keter Betts, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Ravi Coltrane, Frank Foster, Winard Harper, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Herring, John Hicks, Charli Persip, Ralph Peterson, Lonnie Plaxico, Bobby Short, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Nancy Wilson, and The Skatalites, to name a few. Pelt frequently performs alongside notable ensembles such as the Roy Hargrove Big Band, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, and the Duke Ellington Big Band. He is also a Lewis Nash Septet and The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band member featuring Louis Hayes. As a leader, Pelt has recorded ten albums and toured globally with his various ensembles, appearing at many major jazz festivals and concert venues. Pelt's recordings and performances have earned him critical acclaim nationally and internationally. Legendary jazz writer and producer Nat Hentoff has featured him in the Wall Street Journal. He was voted Rising Star on the trumpet five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association. Pelt is touring throughout the United States and Europe to support his latest release, "Soundtrack." If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Craig Bailey Sextet

Craig Bailey Sextet

Sat, Oct 12

Craig Bailey — alto saxophone Derrick Gardner — trumpet Christopher Andrews — tenor saxophone Steve Allee — piano Jim Anderson — bass Phillip Tipton — drums Craig Bailey, saxophone, flute, and clarinetist, emerged in the mid‐'90s to become one of his generation's most consistently inventive and potentially significant reed players. He played in his native Cincinnati, Ohio, and studied at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, graduating in 1984. After moving to New York in 1985, Bailey worked with big bands led by Charlie Persip (1985‐1986), Slide Hampton, and Ray Charles (1987‐2003). He also worked with Panama Francis' swing combos and recorded with the Nancy Banks Orchestra and Bobby Watson's short‐lived big band. Bailey joined the Tana Reid Quintet in 1991 and had his recording debut as a leader with 1995's impressive Candid CD 'A New Journey.' Since Bailey's recording debut, he has recorded three more CDs under his name, Brooklyn on the Evidence record label 2001 and The Brooklyn Big Band 'Live at Sweet Rhythm 'on the Candid record label 2009. He has also recorded with many artists as a strong leading voice on his instruments. He received his Master's degree from Queens College in 2006. His latest CD 'Craig Bailey and the Ohio Jazz Players, ‘Music a la Fleek' was released in the fall of 2018. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Oct 16

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

John Fedchock's “JJ Johnson Centennial Tribute”

John Fedchock's “JJ Johnson Centennial Tribute”

Fri, Oct 18

John Fedchock — trombone Phil DeGreg — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass Jim Rupp — drums 2024 marked the 100th birthday of legendary trombonist and NEA Master JJ Johnson. In celebration of this centennial milestone, NYC trombonist John Fedchock recorded a live quartet in J.J. Johnson's hometown of Indianapolis titled “Justifiably J.J..” The September album release will be celebrated in an official CD release tour, including this October 18 performance at Caffe Vivace. Along Fedchock will be pianist Phil DeGreg, bassist Aaron Jacobs, and drummer Jim Rupp. This is a special one-time event not to be missed. John Fedchock’s illustrious career in jazz has spanned over four decades. Since his emergence on the scene in 1980, Fedchock has established himself as a world-class trombone soloist, a heralded bandleader, and a Grammy-nominated arranger. An in-demand performer and writer in New York City, his multifaceted talents have made him one of NYC’s premier jazz artists. His critically acclaimed John Fedchock New York Big Band has become a marquee group, showcasing Fedchock’s trombone, arranging, and the band’s all-star soloists. The JFNYBB’s five CDs on the MAMA and Reservoir Music labels have all received high praise from critics and extraordinary success on national jazz radio charts. The band's early success resulted in Fedchock’s name appearing in DOWNBEAT’s Readers Poll under the categories of Trombone, Arranger, and Big Band simultaneously for several consecutive years. In recognition of his formidable arranging skills, Fedchock is a two-time GRAMMY Award nominee for “Best Instrumental Arrangement.” The JFNYBB’s recordings have appeared in jazz radio’s Top Ten. The New York Times has applauded the band’s “Cheerful Syncopation, Served With Spit-and-Polish Precision.” Small group projects with his quartet and NY Sextet showcase A-list sidemen and Fedchock’s “incomparable trombone playing, which seems to have no limit, technically or musically” (JazzReview.com). A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Brasilia

Brasilia

Wed, Oct 23

Phil DeGreg — piano Rusty Burge — vibraphone Kim Pensyl— trumpet Aaron Jacobs — bass John Taylor — drums Brasilia fuses the improvisational influences of American jazz with the wide palette of Brazilian musical styles. The band includes pianist Phil DeGreg, trumpeter Kim Pensyl, vibraphonist Rusty Burge, bassist Aaron Jacobs, and drummer John Taylor, all professors at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and nationally well-respected players. The band frequently performs around the Midwest. Brasilia was formed in 2008 following Phil’s four-month Fulbright Fellowship residency at the University of Campinas, near Sao Paulo, Brazil. The group performs classic popular Brazilian repertoire and original music with plenty of room for improvisation. Their repertoire includes songs in samba, bossa-nova, choro, baião, and frevo styles, including works by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Edu Lobo, João Donato, Hermeto Pascoal, and others. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Richard Cortez

Richard Cortez

Fri, Oct 25

Richard Cortez — vocalist Tyler Henderson — piano Aaron Jacobs — bass Jim Leslie — drums Cortez, known for his ambition and extensive knowledge of The Great American Songbook, has shared the bandstand with some of New York City’s most celebrated and respected musicians — Sullivan Fortner, Adam Birnbaum, Paul Gill, Peter Bernstein, Grant Stewart, Alexander Claffy, Joe Farnsworth, Jerry Weldon, Joe Strasser, Nicole Glover, Russell Hall, and Emmet Cohen — to name a few. Splitting his time between several weekly residencies at iconic LGBT venues across the city—among them: Club Cumming, Metropolitan Bar, and Rebar—Cortez has focused and refined his artistry while growing his wide fan base. Recent performances in distinguished productions such as Live at Emmet’s Place with the Emmet Cohen Trio or Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz at Pride with drummer/bandleader Bryan Carter have marked the vocalist’s career for success. Cortez’s openly gay renderings of timeless treasures by Cole Porter, Billie Holiday, Jerome Kern, and many others deliver sweetness, self-assuredness, and disarming vulnerability with a well-timed wit. Richard breathes exciting new life into this beloved material, forever reminding us that as we progress as a society, so do our stories told within these sacred songs. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Original Farm League Big Band

Original Farm League Big Band

Wed, Oct 30

The Original Farm League Big Band is a 17-piece Jazz Orchestra dedicated to expanding the modern big band repertoire while featuring the work of local arrangers/composers. Formed in 2015, the ensemble comprises many of the Cincinnati/Dayton area's most exciting up-and-coming Jazz players and performs entirely original material. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Chuck Owen’s ReSurgence

Chuck Owen’s ReSurgence

Sat, Nov 02

Kate McGarry – vocals Sara Caswell – violin Jack Wilkins – saxophones Corey Christiansen – guitars Mark Neuenschwander – Bass Danny Gottlieb – drums Chuck Owen – piano/keyboards ReSurgence is an all-star jazz septet born outgrowth of Chuck Owen’s 19-piece Jazz Surge. Garnering international acclaim with 5 GRAMMY nominations, a sold-out house at New York’s heralded Birdland Jazz Club, and guest appearances with Germany’s renowned WDR Big Band, Chuck sought an opportunity to tour and connect with audiences more intimately. The Covid “break” resulted in a flurry of new works designed to feature the luminescent vocalist Kate McGarry, a 3-time GRAMMY nominee. Debuting in 2023 with a short Florida tour followed by an exhilarating extended tour of the upper mid-west, the band’s first album, “Magic Light” on Origin Records, dropped in April 2024. Like the Surge, ReSurgence's music is grounded in the jazz tradition but embraces influences from American folk, blues, roots, Latin, and many other genres. It’s proven accessible to audiences of all types, including many who have professed they “didn’t think I liked jazz – but I love this!” In addition to writing for the Jazz Surge & WDR, Chuck has composed/arranged for the Netherlands Metropole Orch., Aarhus Jazz Orch., Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orch., and Tonight Show Orch. And many more. He enjoys the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The University of South Florida, serves as the founding President of the International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers, and has served as Pres. of IAJE, panelist for the NEA, NARAS, and Pulitzer Prizes, among others. Important Notices: A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Blue Wisp Big Band

Blue Wisp Big Band

Wed, Nov 06

Cincinnati's legendary Blue Wisp Big Band celebrates its 44th year of swingin' Big Band music at Caffe Vivace. Founded in January 1980 by drummer John Von Ohlen and trumpeter Don Johnson, the Blue Wisp Big Band got its start in and its name from the late Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Von Ohlen, a native of Indianapolis, moved to the Cincinnati area after many years on the road playing with world-class jazz orchestras, most notably those of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. After hearing all of the fine musicians in the area, he felt there was a need to form a group because most of them “weren’t playing any jazz, which is the reason they started playing in the first place.” He felt the desire to start a “world-class big band and wanted to put it in a tavern, a beer joint.” Don Johnson, who had been on the Cincinnati scene for years, suggested which instrumentalists should play in the band. Von Ohlen states, “Don was the horn connection.” Pianist Steve Schmidt and bassist Michael Sharfe were already playing with Von Ohlen at the Blue Wisp in the Steve Schmidt Trio, Wednesday through Saturday nights, so the rhythm section was easily formed. Von Ohlen remembers approaching Paul and Marjean Wisby, the original owners of the Blue Wisp, with the idea, “Wednesday is a slow night. Why don’t we bring in a big band and blow the roof off the place? It worked real good.”Since its inception, the Blue Wisp Big Band has been the top jazz orchestra in Cincinnati. The hard bop-oriented big band started recording in 1981: first, an LP sponsored by the Cincinnati television station WKRC, and then four for the Mopro label, founded by Fred and Helen Morr, in the 1980s. The Mopro LPs were reissued in the mid -’90s on two CDs on the California label Sea Breeze, with one of the sets recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour in 1984. Through the devoted and hard work of Helen Morr, the LPs were distributed around the country and Europe, garnering notice, good reviews, and airplay around the world. Among the group’s more notable members were trumpeter Tim Hagans and bassist Lynn Seaton. The band continued to perform at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati on Wednesday nights until its closure in the summer of 2014. After a six-month tenure at Japp’s Annex in downtown Cincinnati, a short stint at Pirate’s Den in Westwood, and three years at the Urban Artifact in Northside, the band has a new home at Caffè Vivace in Walnut Hills. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

Mambo Combo

Mambo Combo

Fri, Nov 08

Michael Sharfe — bass John Zappa — trumpet Brian Batchelor-Glader — piano Tim McCord — tenor saxophone Ali Schweitzer — percussion Baba Charles Miller — percussion Celebrating the classic mambo, Latin jazz, and cha-cha of Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Poncho Sanchez, and Mark Levine, Mambo Combo has its compass set toward Cuba. It produces music that is powerfully exciting rhythmically, by turns celebratory and yearning. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance. 

G. Thomas Allen Quintet

G. Thomas Allen Quintet

Sat, Nov 09

On Sunday, November 14, 2021, Chicago-based vocalist G. Thomas Allen made history by becoming the first male to win 1st Place at The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition held at Newark's New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Allen wowed judges and music lovers with his formidable yet fluid vocals, as evidenced by the standing ovation he received when he performed his riveting rendition of Errol Garner’s immortal classic, “Misty.” Since that fateful night, Allen has graced some of the world's most prestigious venues and honed his vivid voice into the amazing instrument it is. “[Winning the competition] was a beautiful experience,” Allen fondly reminisced, “and it changed my life forever.” Allen’s stratospheric vocals are in full effect on his new recording, Love Affair: Serenades of the Heart, a cool and caressing collection of standards, vocal interludes, and original compositions that narrate and navigate the intricate nuances of romance. The follow-up to his 2020 self-titled album, Love Affair, is a conceptual evolution from Allen’s first record. “The first album is a collection of songs,” Allen says. “I had a lot of melodies, and I wanted to get them on paper and put them out. [The new recording] is a bit more thematic and dramatic in terms of the focus. I wanted to have an album that shows the complexity of love, the good and the bad.” Supported by drummer Jonathan Pinson, bassist Jeremiah Hunt, pianist Dennis Luxion (who worked with Chet Baker), and alto saxophonist Brent Griffin, Allen’s expressive and elegiac vocals on the album’s ten selections ride on a melodic, moving magic carpet powered by intricate and evocative moods and grooves. 

Nduduzo Makhathini

Nduduzo Makhathini

Wed, Nov 13

Nduduzo Makhathini grew up in the lush and rugged hillscapes of umGungundlovu in South Africa, a peri-urban landscape in which music and ritual practices were symbiotically linked. The area is significant historically as the site of the Zulu king Dingane kingdom between 1828 and 1840. It’s important to note that the Zulu, the African warrior code, deeply relies on music for motivation and healing. This deeply embedded symbiosis is key to understanding Makhathini’s vision. The church also played a role in Makhathini’s musical understanding, as he hopped from church to church in his younger days in search of only the music. The legends of South African jazz are also deeply influenced, particularly by Bheki Mseleku, Moses Molelekwa, and Abdullah Ibrahim. “The earlier musicians put a lot of emotions in the music they played,” he says. “I think it may also be linked to the political climate of those days. I also feel that the uniqueness of South African jazz has created interest worldwide, and we are slowly losing that interest in our music today. I feel that our generation must be very conscious about retaining these nuances in the music we play today.” Through his mentor, Mseleku, Makhathini was also introduced to the music of John Coltrane’s classic quartet with McCoy Tyner. “I understood my voice as a pianist through John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme,” he says. “As someone who started playing jazz very late, I had always been looking for a kind of playing that could mirror or evoke how my people danced, sang, and spoke. Tyner provided that and still does in meaningful ways.” Makhathini also cites American jazz pianists, including Andrew Hill, Randy Weston, and Don Pullen, as significant influences. Active as an educator and researcher, Makhathini is the head of the music department at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape. He has performed at renowned festivals, including the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Essence Festival (in both New Orleans and South Africa), and in 2019, he made his debut appearances at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City, as well as Jazz at Lincoln Center where he was a featured guest with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on their 3-night musical celebration The South African Songbook in Rose Theater. He is a member of Shabaka Hutchings’ band Shabaka and the Ancestors, appearing on their 2016 album Wisdom of Elders. He has collaborated with artists including Logan Richardson, Nasheet Waits, Tarus Mateen, Stefon Harris, Billy Harper, Azar Lawrence, and Ernest Dawkins. In addition to producing albums for his peers (such as Thandiswa Mazwai’s Belede and Tumi Mogorosi’s Project Elo), Makhathini has released eight albums of his own since 2014 when he founded the label Gundu Entertainment in partnership with his wife and vocalist Omagugu Makhathini. Those albums earned him multiple awards and include Sketches of Tomorrow (2014), Mother Tongue (2014), Listening to the Ground (2015), Matunda Ya Kwanza (2015); Icilongo: The African Peace Suite (2016), Inner Dimensions (2016), and Reflections (2016). His 2017 album Ikhambi was the first to be released on Universal Music South Africa and won Best Jazz Album at the South African Music Awards (SAMA) in 2018. His Blue Note debut Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds was named one of the “Best Jazz Albums of 2020” by The New York Times and was followed by In the Spirit of Ntu in 2022 and uNomkhubulwane in 2024. 

Original Farm League Big Band

Original Farm League Big Band

Wed, Nov 20

The Original Farm League Big Band is a 17-piece Jazz Orchestra dedicated to expanding the modern big band repertoire while featuring the work of local arrangers/composers. Formed in 2015, the ensemble comprises many of the Cincinnati/Dayton area's most exciting up-and-coming Jazz players and performs entirely original material. A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance.