Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Jazz Central Jazz Jam

Three things: the last hour is the best, you never know what is going to happen and Holidays bring returning jazz jammers. I have said for many years that even if you have other things you need to tend to on Sunday night, 11:00 to Midnight at Jazz Central is still worth the trip. You never know who is going to show up and what musical magic can happen, and often does. But one rule that I even forget about is the Holiday rule. Musicians originally from the area come home for the Holidays. Last night we were blessed with the presence of a musician who started playing there even before he could drive and now he has graduated college and is attending graduate school on Memphis, Keith Moore - Keith always had a distinct style and now he plays even stronger and more confident. It was quite the treat. And another jazz jammer who has moved back into the area after being down in Atlanta for some time is trombonist Todd Bridges. He teaches in the area now and does not always feel he can come down on Sunday nights but no school Monday meant jazz jam on Sunday night. He has some serious chops and trombone players are so rare at the Jazz Central Jazz Jam. Then, to top things off, guitar player extraordinaire Cameron Vorhees showed up to play, and I do mean play! We heard some great solos. The usual jazz jam cast and crew was down to bare bones, John Hampton Wagner, trumpet and vocals, Ron Applebury on bass guitar, Greg Webster on drums (relieved a couple times by "Craig" and Henry Miles Preston) and of course Kenny Baccus on B3 organ but all four carrying the weight of the jazz jam as usual, and it was a good night for a jazz jam.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spinoza's and The Blue Wisp

Thanks to Mr. Jazz Advocate himself, Ron Gable, I was able to catch the first set by Brian Cashwell and Mike Teckenbrock at Spinoza's recently. Both Brian and Teck are worth going to see so to have them both on the same stage was a treat. One song I inquired about was Black Orpheus, a song I never seem to be able to recognize - what a beautiful solo by Brian Cashwell on keyboards and Mike Teckenbrock on flugle horn. This was also one of long time jazz aficionado, Don Henke's, favorite tunes. You may be gone Don but you are certainly not forgotten. This was followed by the song Yesterdays which was very nicely done. Teck played flugle horn on this one so elegantly. It is always an enjoyable experience to hear these guys and they closed out that first set with Oh Christmas Tree. A great closer. Both musicians played off each other as if they had rehearsed the song over and over. Sorry I could only stay for one set.

Then I was lucky enough to be able to go down to the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati the very next night and catch The Blue Wisp Big Band. Their performance always leaves us shaking our heads and asking ourselves why we don't get down there more often. They are just outstanding. We heard outstanding solos by Hank Mountner on trumpet, Kim Pensyl on trumpet, Joe Gaudio on tenor sax, Paul Pillar on trombone, Steve Schmidt on piano and many others. Of course, the Big Band that has been together now going into their 32nd year is held together and driven by Jon Von Ohlen, former drummer for Stan Kenton, and someone Don Henke once called the best big band drummer in the world. He sure makes it look easy. And I want to give a special shout out to Larry Dixon on baritone sax and Mike Sharfe on bass for stirring the crowd up with one of my favorites, Paging Betty, written by Larry Dixon in honor of Betty Page. A fantastic night of big band music. The place was packed and as Jon Von Ohlen told the crowd, the best audience is a big audience that is listening, and everybody was. I encourage you to visit the Blue Wisp on Wednesday night and catch The Blue Wisp Big Band yourself. It is a treat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rick Evans, The Masters of Jazz & more

Saturday night I was lucky enough to get finished with my Christmas tree hunting and related activities in time to catch some of the celebration get together for crooner Rick Evans and his Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations to Rick! Rick was backed by The Masters of Jazz, the inimitable Jim Smith on guitar, Vinnie on the skinny [Vinny Marshal on bass] and the flugle horn player extraordinaire, Mike Teckenbrock. Rick was also joined by guest vocalist Beverly Jackson - geez, haven't heard her in months and get to hear her twice within just a couple of weeks. All-in-all, very enjoyable.

The first Thursday of this month of December, 2010 I was also able to catch the Dayton Jazz Orchestra (DJO) at Harrigan's South in Centerville. It is always a good night if you get to hear DJO as they are quite the accomplished big band jazz group. Naturally the players change slightly from performance to performance but that never seems to hurt their sound. It was a fun night, got to take my granddaughter for part of it, heard some great Christmas carols and former Stan Kenton trumpet player John Harner played one of the sweetest solos I have ever heard. DJO & Big Band aficianado Bob Young agreed with me that it was a perfect solo. Thank you John Harner and thank you DJO.

While I was glad to catch DJO just a few minutes from my house, I unfortunately missed other accomplished musicians down in the Cincy area at the Redmoor where arguably my favorite bass player, Mike Sharfe, joined piano player Steve Alee. Mike called Steve a
great artist and an amazing piano player as he lamented the all to often "very dismal turnouts" - so I hope their turnout was a good one. Speaking of missing a desirable gig, somehow I managed to miss the Eddie Brookshire Quintet when they recently performed at The Liquid Room, a new jazz venue just East of 48 on 725 in Centerville. My apologies Eddie, hope the gig lived up to expectations. well, that's it for now. Hope to see some of you around town at the live jazz performances. We may have lost the Crown Plaza but we have gained The Liquid Room, Harrigan's South, and hopefully Carvers, now hosting the displaced Shawn Stanley Trio (who can lay down some pretty good jazz licks). May have to start calling OH 725 between Yankee Trace and OH 48 the new jazz corridor.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Special Performances at Jazz Central

I attend the Sunday night jazz jam at Jazz Central out on East Third in Dayton just about every Sunday night. The jam starts around 8:30 and goes to around Midnight. Frankly, I try not to write about Jazz Central all that much or I would be posting something just about every week but this past week saw Adrienne Hindmarsh on B3 organ with husband Josh Hindmarsh, accompanied by Henry Miles Preston on drums as they faced off with Jazz Central Jazz Jam B3 organist Kenny Baccus with Greg Webster on drums. John Hampton Wagner was master of ceremony and got to sing and play pocket trumpet a little bit. I will take this opportunity to sing the praises of Josh and Adrienne. If you missed it I am sorry you did. You can sample their music by picking up a copy of their newest recording, Blue Skies, which I believe is available at CD Baby. It was a great night of music.

The very next night I did not get to the jazz jam until the last hour. I got there just in time to see Serious Young Musician prodigies Craig Hill on Tenor Saxophone and Tyrone Martin on alto saxophone and Coran Henley on drums. Any one of them can play and with all three on the bandstand it was almost overwhelming, AND, Cameron Vorhees has returned from his goodwill trip to the southern hemisphere to play his usual wonderful jazz guitar. These guest musicians were ably accompanied by the usual cast of characters, Kenny Baccus on B3, Cliff Darrett on latin percussions, Ahmed Muhammad on congas, John Hampton Wagner on trumpet and vocals and Roderick Wilson on trumpet. We were even blessed by the presence of Beverly Jackson who had not graced the stage in over a year. A memorable last hour for sure.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Was just down in Cincinnati at the Washington Platform seafood restaurant and heard Sandy Suskind on flute and Rob Allgeyer on keyboards. Took my daughter and her daughter along with me and enjoyed the "Second Sunday" buffet sponsored by Washington Platform and owner Jon Diebold. Thanks to Jon for reminding Ron Gable who reminded me that this jazz scene is still happening. And I do mean happening. Heard some excellent flute work by Sandy on "There is no Greater Love" and a swinging rendition of "Sonny Moon for Two", both musicians listening and playing off each other and then some enjoyable keyboard work on "My One and Only Love." Readers can hear both Rob and Sandy in various jazz venues around the area, especially Cincinnati, but I highly recommend second Sundays at the Washington Platform. Thank you again Jon. Following the first set break the duo was joined by Mike Sharfe. I love to hear Mike any time that I can and they kicked off the second set with "Agua de Babar" - (don't hold me to that spelling) written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. This was followed by an invigorating rendition of "The Masquerade is Over". Up next was some particularly nice bass work by Mike on "Memories of Tomorrow", a Keith Jarrett tune. Unfortunately, this was all I could stay for but thoroughly enjoyable. The food is good and there is quite a beer selection, always an attraction for me. I have been to hear jazz at Washington Platform before and it always delights. Thanks again Jon Diebold. Remember readers, the second Sunday of each month at Washington Platform from 2:00 to 5:00 at 1000 Elm Street in Cincinnati.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jazz Central Jazz Jam does it again

Visited my usual Sunday night destination again this week and was treated to the talent of Archie McPheerson on the fluglebone. Yeah, that's right, I said the fluglebone. What in the world is a fluglebone you might ask? Well, as the name implies, it is a cross between a flugle horn and a trombone. I am so glad that I was at Gilly's recently to hear the Eddie Brookshire Quintet because that is where I ran into Archie. We talked about the last time he was at Jazz Central (way too long ago) and how he had played a bass trumpet and a fluglebone. I urged him to come down again in the near future and so he did. He was invited up to play with Eddie's Quintet along with two excellent sax players from Detroit (I apologize for not getting their names) and local trumpeter, Roderick Wilson [who has a new CD out by the way, a copy of which can be purchased in person at Jazz Central on most Sunday evenings] - Roderick is often at the Jazz Central Jam on Sunday nights but this particular night he was filling in for John Hampton Wagner and I might add that he did quite the credible job! Ron Applebury was there on bass guitar, Cliff Darrett was there on congas and Latin Percussion, Kenny Baccus on the B3, Greg Webster on drums (helped out by Henry Miles Preston) and "the fish boat man" also on congas. Roderick played some solos that would just knock you out and Archie helped keep things fired up on that fluglebone. You never know what you are going to get at Jazz Central on Sunday but some of those nights are pretty special.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

E-mail From Greg Turner:

Dear Ron:

In case you were wondering I did attend the Chicago Jazz Festival this Labor Day Weekend and I noticed a few changes.

In addition to the weekend concerts at the 3 Grant Park stages and the Friday afternoon Cultural Center concerts, Thursday and Friday featured evening concerts at nearby Milllennium Park. I missed Thursday and Friday afternoon, but was at the park all day Saturday and Sunday. .

Flautist and composer Nicole Mitchell, who has performed in Cincinnati several times for the Loft Society, was the festival artist-in-residence, performing with 5 groups in 3 days.. I saw her with her Black Earth Orchestra, premiering a composition written for the festival, and the smaller Black Earth Ensemble, with special guest harpist Edmar Castaneda.

Pianist Ramsey Lewis became very popular during the 60s thru hit records such as "The In Crowd" and his version of the spritual "Wade In The Water". Now 75 years young,, the Chicago native closed Friday evening Victor Lewis
at Millennium Park with a joyous birthday celebration featuring new versions of his hits, some swinging gospel songs, and some newer unmamed compositions, earning a rousing standing ovation.

While again I noticed less local or regional participation than in years past, I was treated to a great surprise. While catching the fire from drummer Dana Hall's killer quintet Saturday, with trumpeter Nicholas Payton, subbing for Terell Stafford(!), someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and there was Anthony Lee. The former Cincinnati resident now lives in Brooklyn and was in the quartet of another former Cincinnatian, former CCM professor Brad Goode, whose quartet played Sunday afternoon. at Grant Park and Sunday morning at the Jazz Record Mart. Now teaching at the University of Colorado, Goode also sat in with another current Colorado resident, vocalist Rene Marie, who I recall performing a at a well attended outdoor concert at Central State Universsity several years ago.. By the way, Hall had a release party for his debut CD at the Blue Wisp in January of this year. (I think I saw you there) After Marie's excellent Saturday evening set came my favorite performance of this year's festival, the Lee Morgan tribute. Conceived by Trumpeter David Weiss and boasting a front line of Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, and Bennie Maupin, and a rhythm section of George Cables, Dwayne Burno, and Victor Lewis, this is a true 'all-star" group .After the grand introduction to Harper's "Capra Black" I knew we were in for a memorable musical experience. They ended the set with Morgan's all time classic "The Sidewinder", which got some people dancing in the aisles

Sunday afternoon I had to deal with the dilemma of 2 groups I wanted to see on at the same time, Chicago vocalist Saalik Ziyad's 5 after 7 Project and drummer Brian Blade's Fellowship.. Ziyad played in Newport KY for the Loft Society a day earlier, so I wanted to see what I'd missed, since I usually MC the shows there, while Blade is simply one of the baddest drummers on the scene. So I caught the first half of Ziyad's set, really digging his version of Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus", and the last half of the Fellowship, where Myron Walden's passionate alto and Blade's dynamic drumming brought the house down.. Speaking of drummers , Vocalist Kurt Elling's group ended the festival on a high note displaying his style and versatility on old standards and jazzy versions of recent pop songs. His group featured a killing young drummer who I had never heard of. His name is Ulysees Owens Jr. and I can't wait to hear him behind some horns. And as always, here are a few photos to share with my fellow Jazz Advocate readers. Till the next time...

Greg Turner

Friday, October 8, 2010

Spinoza's is a live jazz venue of note

Recently heard Greg Abate on alto sax with Lee McKinney (drums) & Randy Villars (keyboards) and as always, Greg put on an excellent performance. But just this past weekend I heard Time Berens on guitar and Frank Proto on bass. Both of these were at Spinoza's - hats off to Spinoza's for sponsoring live jazz and their food and drinks are noteworthy as well. Tim and Frank played a version of All Blues that I am quite certain was different from any version ever played before and Frank Proto played his 200 year old bass like I am pretty sure no one has ever played it before. If you weren't there then you really missed an unbelievable version of All Blues. I am still shaking my head in amazement.

Jazz Central Jazz Jam delivers

Here is another report from the jazz trenches - Sunday, 9-26-10, found the Jazz Central Jazz Jam with no saxophones, not one, instead there was John Hampton Wagner on trumpet (John being the usual M.C., vocalist, trumpet & flugle horn player), Rodderick Wilson on trumpet and flugle horn and Dale Carpenter on trumpet. Rodderick has been showing up more frequently to participate in the jams [and he has a new CD out] and we are always glad when Dale Carpenter stops in (which he has done a couple times recently) - these three trumpet players were in rare form in that they delivered six of the best consecutive solos that I (or WDPS Big Band host Conrad Jessee) have heard at Jazz Central since I started regularly attending in 2001. I always say the last hour is the best so even when you cannot get down until 11:00 p.m. on a Sunday, and sometimes I cannot, it is worth the trip. Wow!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Running behind on reporting some of my recent jazz excursions. Some weeks ago my wife and I traveled to The Redmoor in the Cincinnati area to listen to one of her favorite jazz guitar players, Dan Faehnle (mine too), accompanied by Jim Connerly on keyboards, Mike Sharfe on bass and Tony Franklin on drums. Dan Faehnle once again accompanied by some of the Cincinnati areas best and for my money, it is tough to beat Jim Connerly on piano or Mike Sharfe on bass but all are excellent jazz musicians. Many thanks to Doc B. Productions and Walt Broadnax for keeping jazz alive. I urge all who can make it to attend the performances Doc makes available.

In the meantime, I traveled back down to the Cincinnati area with WDPS FM (89.5) Big Band Show Guru Conrad Jessee to hear one of our favorite singers, April Aloisio. She did not disappoint plus she was accompanied by Phil Burkhead on keyboards and Sandy Suskind on flute. They did make the trip worthwhile and Phil tipped me off to a faculty recital coming up in September.

Shortly after that, Conrad and I (plus this trip his son-in-law came too) made our occasional sojourn to the Blue Wisp Jazz Club on a Wednesday night to hear the Blue Wisp Big Band. Every time we hear them we just have to shake our heads in amazement and wonder why we do not get down there more often. So many world class musicians and driven by what the late jazz aficionado, Don Henke, referred to as 'the world's best big band drummer" - Jon Von Ohlen, a former Stan Kenton drummer. They are always fantastic but on this night a special shout out to Hank Mountner and Kim Pensyl on trumpet.

Today I made time to run over to the University of Dayton to hear a faculty recital headed up by Garin Webb on Saxophone [thank you Phil Burkhead for the tip]. It was not very well publicized, a loss for those who might have attended otherwise, but Garin on tenor sax, Phil Burkhead on a "real piano" with Eddie Brookshire on bass and Fenton Sparks on drums. The Faculty recitals usual last about an hour but three songs are worth note, Phil Burkhead kicked off "Blue Monk" and the bass and drums made it quite an interaction between the three performers with Garinn Webb playing the role of Monk's long time tenor sax player, Charlie Rousch. I have heard Ishfahon many times, a Billy Strayhorn composition played by Ellington's band among others but today I really heard it for the first time. What a beautiful tune. Garin Webb was absolutely at his best as he turned another beautiful Billy Strayhorn composition into something truly special. Thank you Garin. The quartet ended the performance with a rousing rendition of "In Walked Bud" - another Monk tune. All musicians played excellent solos but what kept coming through to me throughout the final tune was the baseline laid down by Eddie Brookshire and he added a memorable solo as well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Excerpt from a Wilbert Longmire press release.

My Other Mother - Touching a life
By Wilbert Longmire
Join me for a special musical tribute to “My Other Mother”, Dr. Bessie C. Noble.
        When I was young and didn’t know what I wanted to be in life, I had very encouraging people around me. People with strong ethics and principles. Of course I had my mother, Mrs. Mildred C. Longmire-Nichols (known as Mother Mildred by the city of Cincinnati, the police force, City Hall, the Urban League, 48 Hrs of CBS television network, etc), and my father, W.T. Longmire, a city of Cincinnati employee for many years. Both parents gave me an example of things to follow that I will never forget.
        Moving from Mobile, AL, via Pensacola, FL, to Cincinnati’s west-end was no easy task. My parents arrived with little funds looking for opportunities, like many others before them from the south (I was only three years old).
        As I grew up, the west-end of Cincinnati (primarily a black neighborhood) was quite an experience for me. Back then we didn’t have much in the way of financial opportunities. My mother had to do what we call day work; or what was known as domestic work, working for wealthy white families. The one thing we did have was a cohesive caring community, a village of sorts. Somebody else’s family, or mother, could discipline us while our mother was away; this was an accepted practice.
        As a youngster we would play, fight each other, but we’d also fight for each other - fighting one day, playing the next. In our village we were inspired by great caring heroes and sheroes who made sure we were armed with integrity, values, respect, dignity, pride, and an iron-willed desire to make something out of ourselves. They inspired us to go for our greatness, while assuring us that if we worked hard and prayed, we could reach any goal, no matter how many obstacles in our path.
        There were many great teachers that inspired me in those days, but none got my attention as much as Mrs. Bessie C. Noble of Hayes Elementary School (my 6th grade teacher). Mrs. Noble was much more than a teacher, she was larger than life, to me as an 11-year old student. She took a personal interest in all of her students…it was as though we were her kids. She was like our mother, teaching us everything from hygiene to manners. She was my other mother!
        She was a stern, no nonsense educator who had zero tolerance for mediocrity, insisting on excellence from all her students. When somebody would act out in her class she had a little red stick, which she would quickly give you a few good licks in your hand, and usually that was all it took to get you back in line. She is the lady that changed and redirected my life.
        She told me that if I was good the remainder of the year, she would recommend me for instrumental music to Mr. Charles Keys (music teacher at Porter Jr. High). This was the spark that triggered a 53 year musical career that included: two international major recording companies (United Artist (1969), C.B.S. Records (1977)); producer, writer, arranger, lecturer, and radio personality; and provided international exposure, allowing me to tour the USA, Asia and Europe.
        Her guidance and tutelage inspired me to encourage others, where I later aided in igniting such world-renowned talents as: Bootsy Collins, Sugarfoot Leroy Bonner (Ohio Players), Sheldon Reynolds (EWF), Roman Johnson (Isley Brothers), Nate Best (O’ Jays, Levert), Odeen Mays (Kool and the Gang), and Darnell (Dee) Bristol (The Deele). To further help others, I founded Millie’s House of Music, a nonprofit organization teaching music to inner-city youth, while also awarding free musical instruments, all the while keeping “my other mother” in mind.
        Mrs. Noble, not only touched my life, but many others’ in our community, including a young Diana Ross passing through Cincinnati, on her way to greatness in Detroit with Motown and Berry Gordy.
        Ms. Bessie never stopped reaching for higher education herself; obtaining her Bachelor of Science in education (1942); Bachelor of Education (1943); Masters of Education (19 47); and then obtaining her Doctorate of Education (1973) Ms. Noble also went on to teach at the college level after 24 years in Cincinnati’s public school system. She taught at the college level in upstate New York (Syracuse University and Liverpool Central School). In total, she contributed more than 50 years in the classroom and retired in 1992. What’s so astounding is, all these momentous accomplishments were achieved by a lady that as a young girl, she walked eight miles each day to school.
        To show my appreciation to “my other mother”, for all the things, she has done for me and countless others, I dedicate a special musical tribute to Dr. Bessie C. Noble on Friday, June 18, 2010 at 8:00pm at The Redmoor Theater, 3187 Linwood Ave., Cincinnati, OH, (513) 871-6789. Tickets are $20.00.
        I also invite all of Dr. Noble’s special students, friends and family to join us to celebrate her legacy. Come enjoy an evening with Wilbert Longmire and Special Guests, for a tribute to “My Other Mother . . . Dr. Bessie C. Noble – A True Legend.
        For additional information call (513) 807-5577, or go to  Also, become my friend on Facebook.

Products of the west end of Cincinnati:


Teachers and leaders that inspired them


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


As newly renewed members of the Dayton Art Institute (DAI) my wife, Jane, and I performed our first official activity by attending the Just Jazz series on 6-3-10. Host, Clay Collins, morning DJ on Dayton Public Schools Radio, WDPS FM, 89.5 [Your home for Jazz] was in usual form. Jazz Advocate master mind, Ron Gable, was close by as well. Attendees heard from Sponsor Ed Winsap, owner of Price Brothers downtown - a business proud to be downtown. Not sure how well this comment fits into a Jazz blog but seeing Ed was a pleasant surprise to my wife as they were classmates in high school. Ed's lovely wife Nancy, also a classmate, was there too. Attendees also heard from WDPS Station Manager Ken Kreitzer who touted the new Big Band radio show with Host, Conrad Jessee, that is streamed over the internet at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday nights. You can listen by going to

We had the pleasure of hearing the Dayton Jazz Orchestra (DJO) which is always a treat. The DJO spokesperson was former Stan Kenton band member and trumpet player extraordinaire John Harner. He played some notes in the upper register that only dogs could hear to kick off the evening. Wow! The trumpet line further consisted of Reg Richwine, Al Parr, Brian West and Dick Fox. An all star lineup for sure. The rhythm section was Jeff Black on piano, Jim Leslie on drums and Chris Brown on bass. Jim Leslie's work as band leader with the UD Jazz Ensemble is noteworthy as well. The trombone section was Tom Billing, Todd Couch, Denny Seifried, and Columbus big band leader Vaughn Weister. The sax section consisted of Josh Adkins, Dan Nicora, Rick Johnson, Jeff Spurlock & Bill Burns. Rick Evans again provided some vocals. At times you would swear that you were listening to Joe Williams of the Basey Band himself. Rick can really belt out a tune. All of these guys do lots of other things musically but I would at least mention that Jeff Spurlock & Bill Burns are also part of a quartet known as The Gem City Saxophone Quartet. Rick Johnson has also played with the Quartet as does Tim Spence (who was absent from the DJO performance at the DAI). I have heard them live one time and know they recently performed at The Blue Wisp in Cincinnati. They are worth the trip. But back to the DJO. I was only able to catch two sets of the performance but the band was in rare form (I have it from good sources that the last set was at least as good as the first two). Usually I provide a list of songs performed and names of band members that solo but this time I just sat back and enjoyed. It is uplifting to hear the DJO and they did not disappoint.

You can learn more about the DJO by visiting their website which can be found at - DJO will also be involved in hosting a Jazz Camp the week of June 14th with at least one performance at Stubbs Park in Centerville on June 16th, Wednesday at 7:30 PM - did I mention that it is free to the public? Attendance is highly recommended. Hope to be seeing you around at live Jazz venues throughout the Summer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jazz alive at Beavercreek High School

Saturday, 3-6-10, I attended a large segment of the Saturday weekend of jazz where so many junior high and high school jazz bands perform, along with occasional college bands/combos. It did not disappoint, though I unfortunately missed the one band that was on my must see list, The Lebanon High School Jazz Band under the direction of David Iannelli. They always do such a great job, caught the last few bars as I stood outside awaiting the doors to open when the song was finished. I did overhear one of the judges tell guest artist Tito Puente, Jr. that the band rotated three drummers and had some great vibes. Hated to miss it. C'est la vie.!

Next up was the Lakota East High School 2 O'clock Freshman Jazz Band under the direction of Todd Hartmann. This group had nine saxophones, kicking off with All The Things You Are followed by The Way You Look Tonight and finished with Hog-Squealin', Rip-Snortin', Belly-Achin Blues which was enthusiastically played, was a lot of fun to listen to and even had a baritone sax solo. The Lakota West High School 8 O'clock Jazz Band followed with an enjoyable sax soli on Well You Needn't, an ear catching muted trombone intro on Duke Ellington's Come Sunday[in a sort of Twilight Zone sort of moment, I happen to be listening to a version of Come Sunday by The Spirit of Life Ensemble, a CD I would highly recommend by the way.] The performance contained a couple of nice sax solos as well. The group finished up with a crowd pleasing funky RU Chicken. This band is under direction of Andrew Carr who always seems to put a great performance together. The final band before the first break of the day was the Kings High School Jazz Band under the direction of Joe Polen. This band had a mighty mite on drums but he was definitely a big band drummer. They kicked off with a very credible version of Moten Swing, followed by a Classics IV hit, Traces (arranged by Sammy Nestico) and finished with Joe Zawinul/Cannonball Adderly jazz classic Mercy, Mercy, Mercy [OK, this may be too much for readers to believe but in a continued Twilight Zone mode, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy follows Come Sunday on the Spirit of Life recording previously mentioned - the coincidence gave me goose bumps, but I swear it is true].

Let me interject right here that one of the really great things about this annual session is that judges listen to the bands as they perform, recording simultaneous feedback during the performance and then one of the judges takes a half hour right after the performance to provide the band with feedback. What a great learning experience. Three judges that I have heard play before and would go to see any one of them play a gig again was Tom Pompei, former Dayton Jazz Orchestra big band drummer, Bill Dixon, a great trumpet player and Hal Melia, a fantastic saxophonist and band director. Hats off to these folks.

The first band after break was The Lakota East High School 12 O'clock Freshman Jazz Band [discerning a trend here for band names within the Lakota system?] and with eleven saxophones the band played WAY beyond their chronological age on Go Ask Your Mother - wow! They continued with a really BIG sound by playing A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square and finished with an energetic version of The Mask of the Chili Pepper. This final tune contained a perfect latin percussion/drum solo and even contained a baritone sax solo. Job very well done, under the direction of Todd Hartman. The next band was the Beavercreek High School Jazz Ensemble II with a really BIG sound as well. Stan Kenton would have been proud. The first song was A Hint of Mint by Lenny Niehaus followed by a Gordon Goodwin tune entitled The Jazz Police which contained a "Pink Panther-like" funky beat on high octane and also contained some very nice guitar work. The final number was Bye Bye Blackbird done very well but what was so unusual about it was that one trumpet player stood to the side and pretty much carried the entire song. What a great job. I tracked down a Beavercreek band director and learned that the soloist was Nick Shuman. Great job Nick!

The Lakota West High School 10 O'clock Jazz Band was up next, kicking off with Splanky, a Neil Hefti song with a Sammy Nestico arrangement. The piano player had some tasty licks and the female drummer was a definite big band drummer - I overheard one of the judges exclaim, "Whew!" at the conclusion of that song performance. The group followed that with a vocalist on Willow Weep for Me with a really nice and easy trombone solo very well done. They ended with Los Brujos De Cisano played latin funky with a Carlos Santana-like guitar solo, a tenor sax solo worth note and some excellent keyboard work. Andrew Carr at work again. The last group before lunch break was the Kings High School Jazz Band under the direction of Joe Polen. This band really swung! The were tight and swingin' on Secret Love, swingin' again with a memorable muted brass throughout on Shiny Stockings and finished with the ambitious Joe Zawinul tune, Birdland. This song was so well done with such a great big band sound that it brought the entire auditorium to its feet in appreciation. A rousing rendition that I think would have made the late Zawinul proud.

The Lancaster High School Swinging Gales kicked things off right after lunch with Take the "A" Train, followed by My One and Only, then the Norah Jones tune, Don't Know Why and they finished with 500 Miles High. Personally, I figured 500 Miles High might be too complex and intricate for a high school jazz band but the band pulled it off with some good vibes work, nice piano and a particularly pleasing drum ending. Good work. This band was under the direction of Bart Pickenpaugh. Next band was the Moeller High School Jazz Band under the direction of Bob Browning. It was a small big band and the director had to fill in for a missing sax player but they sounded good on All of Me, followed by Herbie Hancock's Canteloupe Island and finished strong with Louis Prima's Sing, Sing, Sing [maybe Benny Goodman made it famous but Louis Prima wrote it], with some excellent drum work.

The next band has been a band that tends to be an anticipated performance, the Lakota West Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Andrew Carr. They kicked off with a hard chargin' version of Thelonious Monk's Straight No Chaser with some excellent drum work. The next selection was Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me with a vocalist and then the band kicked into a higher gear with Teddy the Toad by Neil Hefti which had some noteworthy keyboard and trombone work. It wasn't until the final song choice though that the crowed got what they were expecting, the Stan Kenton composition entitled La Suerte de los Tonto (probably off his recording Cuban Fire) and all I can say is it was amazing. The band was 23 strong for the final number and included a french horn. I am pretty sure no high school jazz band could possibly sound that good but the performance was jaw dropping. I overheard one of the judges exclaim, "That may be the best high school jazz band I have ever heard!" He will get no argument from me. It brought the entire auditorium to their feet for only the second time of the day. It was incredible. I sure hope somebody was recording that. Frankly, I would not wanted to have been the band to follow such a performance but I have to hand it to the Troy High School Jazz Band as they stepped into the breach. The drummer on the first tune, Charlie Parkers's Now's the Time had absolutely perfect rhythm, the next drummer on the second tune, Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man was driving the band as a big band drummer should. Switching back to the first drummer, the band played tight on the Harold Arlen tune It's Only a Paper Moon and with the second big band drummer in for the final number they closed out with Chick Corea's La Feista. The band was tight with notable trumpet, tenor sax and piano solos. Congratulations to all. The band is under direction of Katherine McIntosh (the only female director the entire day, for what that may be worth). Good job!

Unfortunately I missed the Beavercreek High School Jazz Ensemble, always enjoyable to listen to and biggest disappointment for me, other than missing the Lebanon High School Jazz Band, was not being able to catch the Central State Jazz Band under the direction of Hal Melia. I am sure it was a crowd pleaser. But all-in-all, a great day of jazz at Beavercreek High School. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

E-mail from Beverly Jackson

2:30PM - 5:00PM

Facebook message from Brian Wingard

Subject: Hey!!
How are you Ron?? Hope things are well for you in Dayton (?). I've been connected somewhat, thanks to your email newsletter (thanks for having me on there)--and please tell everyone at Jazz Central I said Hi!

E-mail from Judy Evens:

The other day we were approached by a woman after Rick sang at a nursing home. I think she meant this as a compliment but she said "Why are you wasting your time singing here. You need a big stage. Such a waste." Rick told her his usual reply "I do it because I love it and for many of these folks I touch what they remember." She shook her head and walked away.
Yesterday we got a call from Beverly Brown. Her mother had been a resident at Sunrise Englewood. She passed on Monday. Beverly said that her mother loved Rick and actually made sure that when he was at the nursing home they get her out to the living room so she could hear him sing. She was a little bitty woman. Her family would always make it a point to be there also. Beverly said her mother didn't come out of her room to often but she always did when Rick sang. She asked Rick to sing for her funeral today. She asked that Rick do Amazing Grace and The Lord's Prayer. The last time he was at Sunrise she was so feeble she couldn't come out and he went back and sang to her. We sat and talked about this this morning and Rick said. "If that lady who said I needed a stage was here now I would tell her I now have a world stage."
I thought I would share this with you. How profound the impact of music is and what a really necessary thing this is. A world's stage with all the souls of heaven watching and listening. It doesn't get any better than that. Judy

First Posting in New Jazz Advocate Blog

Join me in posting jazz related news and comments on happening in Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus. Many items I receive are too cumbersome to fit in a newsletter and too passing in nature to take the time required building a webpage. I’m thinking a blog may be the answer for these. In addition jazz artists will now be able to post their events directly and jazz fans will be able to comment on the events they attend. This is somewhat new to me but I understand we can authorize 100 to post, while anyone can comment on postings. If you would like to post send me an e-mail and we’ll get you on the list while they last. Then you may feel free to post whatever you like but I ask that we keep it jazz related and in good taste. We will try to monitor continuously so we can include the event listings in our jazz calendar and we will remove anything we feel is inappropriate. One note you should continue to e-mail us event information for possible inclusion in our newsletters.