Cranes Over Columbus 

When you see one of those towering construction cranes, you know that some serious work is underway.  When you see a number of those cranes in the same area, you know that things are hopping.

Right now, downtown Columbus is Construction Crane Central.

These two cranes are on two adjoining blocks of High Street on the south side of downtown.  There’s another crane to the south and west, and construction projects also are in progress at the corner of Third and Rich, at the intersection of Gay and High, and in other parts of the core downtown area.  

By this time next year, downtown Columbus is going to look a lot different.  And, equally important, we’ll see a happy decline in the number of those ugly surface lots.  (As an example of the invisible hand at work, incidentally, monthly parking rates in the downtown area are going up, up, up almost as fast as the new buildings.)

It’s an exciting time to be in Columbus.

Columbus Jazz Orchestra

Last night Kish and I completed our Christmas cultural gift exchange by attending a performance of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.  Entitled Ella Fitzgerald & The great Ladies of Swing, the show featured the CJO in full throat and two superb guest artists:  Marva Hicks and Nicki Parrott.  

It’s the first time I’ve seen the CJO in a long time, and the show demonstrated what I’ve stupidly been missing.  This is a tight group with a big sound and lots of talent to display, and when they get a chance to play classic tunes from the American songbook with two brilliant female vocalists (and, in Parrott’s case, a fine double bass musician, besides), you’re going to get a great show.

The program was top-notch from stem to stern, but I particularly liked Parrott’s rendition of Fever and I Will Wait for You and Hicks’ version of Stormy Weather, and Kish and I always relish Blue Skies, which was played on our wedding day.  I also enjoyed CJO artistic director Byron Stripling’s  tasty trumpet fills and deft vocal efforts to channel his inner Louis Armstrong– but the high point for me was Hicks’ powerful and heartfelt performance on My Man’s Gone Now, from Porgy and Bess, which was a knockout punch if there ever was one.

The CJO is another artistic asset in a city that is full of them.  If you’re in the mood for some great lives music, you can still catch this show tonight and tomorrow.