Shadowbox Live recently ushered in live jazz music when it, along with its co-sponsor Sax Entertainment, launched its new weekly Saturday evening jazz series. The series features the popular, hometown favorite and internationally recognized pianist and organist, Bobby Floyd and his trio. Along with Reggie Jackson on drums and Derek DiCenzo on guitar (and when the occasion arises, upright bass), they bring his uplifting straight-ahead jazz style of music to life.
The weekly event, dubbed The Bobby Floyd Trio and Friends Jazz Series, along with occasional guest musicians (Friends), gather to perform their brand of jazz styles, including straight ahead, traditional and contemporary jazz. The series takes place in the Backstage Bistro area at the new home of Shadowbox Live, an extraordinary venue that offers an unparalleled and unique live experience, that cannot be surpassed. Upon entering the Backstage Bistro area, patrons immediately recognize that something good is about to take place.
If ever there was a perfect venue for jazz, the Backstage Bistro area in Shadowbox Live certainly qualifies for a perfect venue award. The perfectly lit and acoustically inviting space invites patrons to sit back, relax and let their body and minds be consumed with the magic that this original American music genre and art form invokes.
Long gone from the vision of the dimly lit, smoke filled rooms off the beaten path that embodied the types of venues where patrons gathered to enjoy jazz events in the past, the Shadowbox Live venue is an invitingly seductive venue ideally suited to please the listener’s auditory palate with the sound of live music, not too loud, not too soft, but just right, at the right time. The dynamics of the music and the artistry of the performer’s body language engage its audience to participate, feet pumping in a steady rhythmic beat and heads bobbing!
The environment takes you back to a comfortable place in time where jazz was the main course menu item that brought solace and soothing respite to the soul, mind, body and spirit. What better way to enjoy a Saturday evening, enjoying great live jazz in an intimate environment, whose atmosphere and acoustics make for a pleasant sounding and enjoyable retreat from the hectic pace of the work week and noise of the outside world. Now, add a supper club, dinner playhouse feel to the mix, combine all of that with exceptionally good dining, a culinary delight to please anyone’s palate and tummy, and you’ve got a winning combination, with all bases covered. Columbus jazz fans have never had it so good … good music, good people, good food, good hosts and good fun.
For those readers who are unfamiliar with Bobby Floyd, he has performed extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. Touring events include major jazz festivals, concert halls, and numerous night clubs with Ray Charles, Jeff Tyzik, Chris Howes and Sarah Morrow. The prestige associated with Floyd’s international appearances can also be witnessed at home.
In Columbus, Bobby has been a feature with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, The Columbus Symphony, and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra sharing the stage with Dionne Warwick, Doc Severinson, Artural Sandaval, Faye Robinson and many others. He has also appeared in a variety of performances opening for Spyro Gyra, Smokey Robinson, Stanley Clark and George Duke, as well as accompanying other artists like David “Fathead” Newman, Bobby Watson, Greg Osby and Billy Hart. Bobby has completed three recordings: Interpretations, Setting the Standards, and Floyd’s Finest Gift.
The Bobby Floyd Trio and Friends jazz series has already seen the incomparable talents of some of Bobby’s friends, including the wizardry of the internationally renowned Hammond B3 organ wizard, Tony Monaco, the smooth, soulful and sometimes raunchy sax lead and accompaniment of saxophonist Keith Newton, the flying fingers of pianist Erik Augis and always in the pocket, but never overshadowed, the artistic solos of bassist Chris Berg.
Jazz fans will continue to see many more of Bobby’s friends take the stage on future Saturday evenings. I’d be remiss to leave out the magic and wonderful support and talent provided by the trio’s steady drummer Reggie Jackson who never misses a lick, and I do mean never, and their talented guitarist Derek DiCenzo, who is without a doubt, masterful.
Shadowbox Live, long known as the creators of high energy rock operas and exciting theater productions, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) performance troupe located in Columbus, Ohio. The troupe self-produces a wide range of shows, as well as runs the company on a day-to-day basis. The top managers of the company make up the Board of Trustees and operate as the primary creators, producers, and performers for the shows.
For over 20 years this creative force has produced world-class productions, including original rock operas, traditional musicals, fine art exhibits, contemporary dance, and video/television. An ensemble company of dedicated performers, Shadowbox Live is a healthy, vibrant, self-sustaining arts organization.
The Shadowbox Live companies were born in 1988 when their first rock opera, The Dawn of Infinite Dreams, was produced in Columbus, Ohio. The small cast participated in local productions of this show as well as monthly black box theatrical productions performed in The Shadowbox Theater, their converted rehearsal space in Columbus’ historic Buggyworks Building.
In August 2011, Shadowbox Live relocated to its new home with its return to what it considers its true home, downtown Columbus, where the theater now has enough space to accommodate both the ever-increasing audience demand and projected growth as Shadowbox Live looks towards the future. The new theater is located at 503 S. Front Street in downtown Columbus.
Today Shadowbox Live is in a constant state of performance/production. Audience demand is barely being met as the popularity of the troupe’s productions soar, necessitating a 52-week per year performance schedule.
As the company continues to grow and mature, Shadowbox Live is constantly looking for opportunities that will not only meet the needs of its talented staff and the growing audiences but allow the troupe to reach out to schools, work with local arts organizations and musicians, and offer convenient meeting space for local business and community organizations. The Bobby Floyd Trio and Friends jazz series is just such an opportunity and idea whose time has come.
This latest move and new endeavor of ushering in live jazz music, follows a history of expansion and aggressive self-promotion and is indicative of the company’s founding ideals, now embodied by the 60-plus member troupe. As a goal-oriented organization the ensemble has earned its success and thrives on the challenges that lay ahead.
The company remains an utterly unique and completely performer-operated organization, where strong-willed, talented individuals shape their future through wily business sense, edgy entertainment, and a drive to never settle for what is, but to strive for what could be.
Shadowbox Live is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio at 503 South Front Street. Whether you choose to visit Shadowbox Live for great live jazz music performances or to take in a fantastic artistic theatrical performance that always includes the musical magic of the Shadowbox Live house musicians, you won’t be disappointed. I can say with certainty, you’ll return again and again for both. Kudos to Shadowbox Live, Sax Entertainment and the additional support of Revolution Rock Art Galleries and Jazz 102.1 FM, WCRX-LP Radio. They’ve hit a homerun by bringing this combination of music and art to Columbus’ music and theater lovers.
For more information about performances, call Shadowbox Live at 614-416-7625 or visit their website at http://www.shadowboxlive.org.