In 2011, Columbus lost one of its most devoted, industrious citizens when civil rights attorney and arts patron Kate Schulte passed away. Last year, Schulte’s husband, Michael Vander Does, put on a powerful tribute to her at the Hot Times Festival in Olde Towne East, teaming his group The Jazz Poetry Ensemble with jazz greats Kidd Jordan and D.D. Jackson.
“Last year’s was unbelievable,” Vander Does said. “Kidd and D.D. brought passion and fire to it, and the band — it was just amazing. And it was also extremely emotional.”
The tribute returns this year, initiating an annual tradition to honor a woman who fought for the rights of women and minorities, and who worked with Vander Does to bring prominent jazz talents to Columbus.
“I think it’s important for Columbus to have music like this. Kate did too,” Vander Does said.
Jordan, a New Orleans sax virtuoso with ties to Columbus, is coming back for this year’s festivities. In keeping with the family theme, he’s bringing his son Marlon, a jazz trumpet star who once lived in Westerville and taught at Ohio State.
They’ll join Jazz Poetry Ensemble—featuring Vander Does on poetry and trombone plus Brett Burleson (guitar), Roger Hines (bass) and Roger Myers (drums) — to breeze through many kinds of jazz Wednesday at Dick’s Den and Saturday at Hot Times.
“Dick’s Den is two or three sets over several hours. Hot Times is one hour. So we have to be selective and pick out the most meaningful pieces to perform. The performance at Dick’s Den is part of the process that gets us to Saturday,” Vander Does said.
In keeping with last year’s tradition, they’ll also host two jazz workshops, starting with a private gathering at Monroe Middle School on Thursday followed by a public event Friday at Capital University. So a full weekend of jazzawaits, just like Schulte would have loved
“We’re not going to do quite as emotional of a repertoire,” Vander Does said. “We’re going to do pieces that Kate liked, pieces that are about the community and community in general. We’re not going to focus on the grieving like we did last year.”