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Dot Jazz Series: Local musicians in tune with the times

Scott Haas
Dot Jazz Series: Local musicians in tune with the times
PHOTO: MITI, UNSPLASH

Now in its third year, the Dot Jazz Series, in collaboration with Mandorla Music and Greater Ashmont Main Street, brings a raft of performances to Peabody Hall in the Parish of All Saints, located in the Ashmont neighborhood of Dorchester. The second part of this year’s season is in full swing, and it’s not too late to join in.

Founder and co-producer Mark Redmond, who is both a lover of jazz and an LMHC therapist, has been working for years to promote music in Boston. Cultivating local talent is key to the current Dot Series.

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This spring, highlights include Myrtle on March 12, Revolutionary Snake Ensemble on April 16 and the Gregory Groover Quartet on May 14. True to the history of the Series, it’s an eclectic mix of the music that has a home in the city.

“It’s music I love to listen to,” Redmond told the Banner.

Myrtle features singers Claire Dickson and Camila Ortiz making music that draws upon a range of traditions, from folk to rock, assembled within the improvisatory structure that defines jazz.

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble features costumed performers led by saxophonist and composer Ken Field, whose music and style are a tribute to the marching Mardi Gras bands of New Orleans. Known as RSE, the band has a funky brass sound that gets into your bones and is an irresistible prod to move to the music. The group has performed in national venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Tenor saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr., who is making a name for himself at local clubs, brings his quartet to the series to renew interest in the spiritual force of music, drawing upon his background in the church and soaring into places guided by that foundation. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, Groover has shared the stage with a number of famed musicians, including drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding. His new EP, “The Negro Spiritual Songbook Volume I,” released in 2019, shows what he can do and where he is headed.

Over the years, the Dot Jazz Series has succeeded in introducing local performers to audiences in Boston. Remarkably, the musicians and producers represent a group of individuals committed to establishing venues and audiences for Boston musicians.

Fred Woodard, the man behind the annual Dudley Jazz Fest held each July, is part of the Dot Jazz Festival. Mark Redmond has produced numerous jazz concerts for years around the city. Tokyo native Tomoko Iwamoto, a violinist who performed in the Dot Series this past fall, can be heard all over town and is on the faculty at Brookline Music School.

It is through these intersections of geography and musical styles that cross-pollination is taking place at the Dot Jazz Series. The musical collaborations, like many shared cultural experiences, lead to new heartfelt ways of hearing music.

“Audiences love what we’re doing,” said Redmond, “and being part of Dorchester, where I grew up, means a lot to me.”

All shows start at 7:30 p.m. at 209 Ashmont Street. Access from the Red Line at Ashmont Station makes public transportation a viable option for getting to the shows. A season pass for the full Dot Jazz Series, which started in September, is $100 (which represents a 25% discount over individual tickets). Individual tickets are $15 per show.

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