“Step a Little Closer” (MP3) George Spicka was one of ten composers whose original compositions were played at the Baltimore Jazz Composers Showcase, Sept. 29, 2013, at Loyola University. George, who has a background in zoology, says that his tune “Step a Little Closer” is not about a love-sick swain’s proposition to the object of his affections, but about a spider’s invitation to its hoped-for prey—and its success in capturing the hapless victim. | Read more>> Read more


SEPT. 29, 2013 – FREE CONCERT at Loyola University’s McManus Theater. The BJA Quintet, led by Dr. Anthony Villa, will perform original works by four Baltimore jazz composers who won commissions to write new compositions expressly for this performance. The four composers are Todd Butler, Ian Sims, Ethan Helm, and Nico Sarbanes. | Read more>> Read more


By Rhonda Robinson. TODD BUTLER Trumpeter/educator/bandleader Todd Butler is the veteran of the competition winners. He holds a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance from Towson University (where he also earned his Bachelor’s) and studied extensively under the legendary composer and director Hank Levy. | Read more>> Read more

The Sweet Sounds of Saxophone Colossi

by Andrew Zaleski Stereotypes about large, stocky men don’t stick to Brad Collins, who has managed to train his left leg to pop up each time he draws high notes from his tenor saxophone. As he and the band swing into the first notes of a five-song set, Collins seems to be more graceful than the broadness of his shoulders suggests: the fingers of his right hand punch the keys of his sax, his left hand dangling in the air above his head, as he moves his hips, plays the last notes of his solo, then sends the energy over to Tim Green and his alto saxophone. | Read more>> Read more

The Gail Marten Trio at the New 13th Floor –Bringing Glamour Back to Baltimore

By Liz Fixsen Despite its nickname, “Charm City,” Baltimore is a rather down-home town, and the words “elegant” or “refined” wouldn’t spring immediately to mind at its mention. But at least one pocket of glamour can be found in the newly-renovated 13th Floor club, in The Belvedere at Charles and Chase Streets downtown. | Read more>> Read more