Elizabeth Hayes Demo

Elizabeth live with Different Hats Orchestra

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Elizabeth Hayes: Touché
Wednesday Night gig is perfect Therapy By Adam Alonzo Contributing Writer Ron Hartwell arrives early for his weekly gig at Therapy Cafe, since he has a lot of instruments to prepare. During a typical show, he might play keyboard, clarinet, flute and saxophones of all sizes. As a musician, he wears so many different hats that it’s fitting that his band is called the Different Hats Dance Orchestra. Hartwell and his ensemble perform at Therapy every Wednesday in various configurations. On the third week of the month he leads an eleven-piece “pocket band.” “The pocket band was the original big band back in the ’20s and ’30s,” Hartwell said. It’s comprised of three saxophones, three trumpets and trombone, along with a rhythm section and a vocalist. Much of the group’s repertoire is drawn from a collection of vintage scores that Hartwell obtained from an estate sale. “Someone had a trunk full of old stock charts, written for this size band,” he said. The sheet music was evidently from a regional band that toured New England, and the tunes date from around 1920 to 1960. Though they smelled moldy when the trunk was opened, the old scores have been revitalized by the orchestra. “We open them up and inject jazz (improvisation) in,” Hartwell said. “All of the horn players in this band can solo, so we’re not limited to what’s on the page.” Singing with the band is Lizi Hayes, an art major at Central State University and a graduate of Stivers School for the Arts. Despite her youth, listeners have compared Hayes to veteran vocalists like Stacey Kent, Norah Jones, Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney. “When people hear Lizi’s voice, she reminds them of their favorite singer,” Hartwell said. Hayes and Hartwell are deft collaborators on stage: As she sings, his murmuring saxophone seems to echo her lyrics. Having performed at Therapy for three years, Hartwell understands his audience well: Some are there to socialize, others listen to the music and many get up and dance. “We have a cadre of swing dancers,” Hartwell said. “About six to 20 people show up just to dance on any given night.” Adam Alonzo is a contributing writer for the Dayton Daily News. He can be reached by e-mail at music@adamalonzo.com.     ” - Adam Alonzo

Dayton Daily News

Dayton City Paper Duante Beddinfield