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First Sunday Jazz Jam

Updated: Jun 7

There are not enough jazz jam venues in the Dayton area but one that has turned into a hot little jazz jam is the monthly First Sunday Jazz Jam which takes place at Wholly Grounds at 825 Wayne Avenue in Dayton, hosted by Kelli Campbell. The usual suspects are Keigo Hirakawa on keyboards, Noah Ramirez on drums, Connor Smith on bass and Kelli Campbell on vocals. A recent jam had Cameron Voorhees filling in on bass with the eldest son of Keigo Hirakawa jamming on bass and definitely holding his own! For me personally, I had not been there in a while as the first Sunday jazz jam often competes with a jazz performance at The Hidden Gem Music Club in Centerville. Lucky me, jazz was not on the menu at the Hidden Gem this night so it freed me up to attend Kelli's first Sunday jazz jam. It was a fortuitous night to be in attendance. I do not intend to name all the jammers but there were 4 saxophonists, 3 trumpet players, a keyboard jammer, 2 drummers and several vocalists. Audrey Whitaker had a high range reminiscent of Minnie Riperton and sang right over all the instrumental jammers when she sang, very impressive! Byron Locket on saxophone & Roderick Wilson on trumpet worked together to make the music that much more enjoyable when they were jamming together. There is also usually a percussionist/conga player working with the house band and his work on My Funny Valentine made the song work even that much better. Kelli Campbell keeps the jam lively with her vocals and her mixing and matching of jazz jammers. But on this night, the one performance that made the trip down worthwhile was "Take the A Train" sung by Sandra Rutledge. She really made that Billy Strayhorn [born in Dayton]/Duke Ellington tune come alive! What a great performance! Lastly I will shout out some kudos to Cameron Voorhees, retired Air Force Band of Flight member, who plays jazz guitar with the best of them but this night he made the electric bass work throughout the evening. Best jazz jam in Dayton - get on down the first Sunday of each month to the Wholly Grounds at 825 Wayne Avenue and hear some of the best jazz musicians that Dayton has to offer.

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