Smooth jazz is the sound of sophistication, unlike rough jazz, which is the sound of Louis Armstrong blasting chili out of his trumpet. Lend your ear to upscale scales with this GrouponLive deal to see Jazz at the Civic with Dan Wilson at the Akron Civic Theatre. For $7, you get general admission for one on Friday, January 25, at 8 p.m. (a $15 value). Doors open at 7 p.m.
Dan Wilson was in a relative’s basement when he first heard a recording of Wes Montgomery, the influential jazz guitarist largely responsible for carrying the guitar into the riotous world of mid-20th-century bop. It was in that moment, dumbstruck by Montgomery’s single-note progressions and block-chord soloing, that Wilson decided he would pursue a career as a jazz musician. Since studying with a collection of elder statesmen that has included gospel artists and Brazilian jazz guitarists, Wilson has alternated between touring overseas and teaching jazz guitar and improvisation at Cuyahoga Community College. He stops at Akron Civic Theatre in support of the release of his debut album, To Whom It May Concern, a concept album inspired by whoever it is that keeps taking his parking spot.<p>
E.J. Thomas Hall
Since 1973, The University of Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall has been the center of Akron's performing arts scene. The three-level facility, which occupies three acres of The University of Akron campus, boasts a massive, 44-ton movable ceiling that can shift to enclose the first or second levels. The position of the ceiling has a dramatic effect on the hall's volume and acoustics, so it is controlled by a computer precisely managing 27 counterweights. The hall's ability to transform from an intimate one-level performance space to a vast three-level concert hall allows it to host performances of a variety of sizes and styles by university students and faculty as well as the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Tuesday Musical Association, the Children’s Concert Society, and the Akron Youth Symphony.