Best Of 2019

Best Hope for New Generations of Jazz: Liberty Jazz Lab

Cincinnati’s Liberty Jazz Lab concert series wrapped up its inaugural 2018 season with The Bad Plus, one of many contemporary acts that have helped keep Jazz healthy and vital by pushing the music forward and making it appealing to younger audiences in the process. The acclaimed Minneapolis trio was a great closer for the concert series, and not just because they were one of the more widely-known acts to perform. A crossover favorite, The Bad Plus is incredibly reflective of Liberty Jazz Lab’s mission and dedication to modern, boundary-ignoring Jazz. The concerts are held at Liberty Exhibition Hall, a historic former vaudeville theater in Northside that hosts a variety of events by local arts groups like MamLuft&Co. Dance and The Clifton Players, which purchased the building in 2017. In its first year, Liberty Jazz Lab presented national Jazz acts like Progger, Triptych and Noah Preminger, as well as local groups like Spherical Agenda and Down Home Collective. “One of my missions is to find and cultivate the ‘new’ audience for Jazz in Cincinnati,” guitarist Brandon Coleman told CityBeat (Coleman was brought on by Liberty Jazz founders Craig Brammer and Tim Engle to book the shows). “The overall audience is aging and going out less to their regular haunts. We want to show a new audience how exciting and relevant Jazz can be by presenting an energetic and diverse lineup.” Liberty Exhibition Hall, 3938 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, libertyjazzlab.org.