Friday, February 25, 2011

From the Gable's Travelogue

On Wednesday, February 16 Rosemary, I and our friend Barbra Dooley went to see Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers at Alex’s on 725.  I’m please to say it looks like they have found a new haunt.  After a long stint at the top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, their new dig appears to be a wonderful fit.  Alex’s is a true supper club with good food, outstanding service and a large beautiful dance floor – what more could a Trad-jazz band ask for?  As they say for those who know, no explanation is necessary but for those of you who have not had the pleasure of knowing the Stompers I offer a bit of their own website verbiage:

“Here is a territory band from Dayton, Ohio which is magnetized by the moment in the late 1920's and early 1930's when classic jazz evolved into small band swing. The fluidity and polyphony of the front line remained intact, while the driving rhythm of the banjo and tuba was lightened by the substitution of guitar and string bass. Unhampered by the horn sections and written arrangements of the big band jazz that captured the years from the dawn of the depression through the denouement of World War II, the music left lead players free to explore their individual creativity with the support of a "modern" rhythm section. It looked backward with an affectionate smile, and forward with an appreciative glance.

After amassing and absorbing the wonderful music of the giants of jazz and the schools and styles of New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Kansas City and San Francisco, the aficionados who used to be affectionately termed "mouldie fygges" would scour the second hand stores for recordings from the "territories" -- those areas of lighter population density where under-recorded and under-appreciated bands often established their own sound and local traditions. Dayton, the home of the Wright Brothers and Dunbar, has been as fertile and inventive in music as it has been in technology and poetry. As inheritors of its territorial approach to traditional jazz, the Classic Jazz Stompers have enjoyed almost two decades of pleasurably fanning the flames of that tradition.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

They say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” we’ll see.  Now I’m confronted with this “Social Networking” thing.  First I ignore it but then, next thing people I know want to be friends on Facebook, or Linkedin and since they are my friends of course I agree.  This keeps going on and on until one day I notice I have close to two hundred friends on Facebook that I don’t know what to do with.  Next, many of the organizations who’s meetings I attend are also talking about social networking and conducting workshops.  So I found out at the last seminar the definition of social networking is simply a conversation between two people.  Well now this has been the core element of Jazz Advocate from the beginning, so the old dog doesn’t have to learn a new trick, just another software program or two - this also has been going on since the advent of computers.  Where they rope you in on new technology is the productivity it offers.  I first started with publishing a website on this new Internet thing.  Next I began emailing newsletters out to over 5,000 supposed readers.  After a while the ISPs stopped allowing bulk emails and I had to go to an online emailing service (Constant Contact), at an additional cost.  I found composing newsletters on their server had a number of formatting issues so I now post my newsletters on our website, where I can have better control the formatting and then send out announcements using the Constant Contact email service.  The announcements include the list of subjects covered and a link to the website.  It’s now my understanding we (you and I) can set up Facebook to post my newsletter announcements on your news feed.  This simple act of networking will allow me to eliminate Constant Contact and let Jazz Advocate use that money for other jazz promotions.  I have about five months left on my current contract with Constant Contact in which to get Facebook set up.  I have created a Facebook page called Jazz Advocate in Dayton, Cincinnati & Columbus, which I will be using to post newsletter announcement.  The thing you need to do is find the page and click “Like” this page if you desire to receive our announcements.  Those not wanting to be on Facebook will be able to get the newsletters directly on our website but will have to check on a regular basis without the usual email notice.  I will say I’m finding Facebook easier to use than traditional email.  Rosemary has found it a better way to keep up with distant grandkids and their pictures. I’m not giving up on email or websites but at the same time I have no fear of this “Social Networking” thing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Blue Wisp Wed/Thurs

Believe I mentioned that it has been a hectic month for me, little time to get out and hear live jazz as I like to. Missed the DJO at Harrigan's South (heard it was great, including Fenton Sparks on drums) and I missed guitarist Tim Berens performing in Centerville, good music close to home and the added benefit of little cost involved. But Wednesday, 2-16-11, I and two other jazz lovers made our way down to the Blue Wisp to catch The Blue Wisp Big Band. They played some tunes that were just killer, even with about five new faces in the band. The last song was a fantastic send off enticing those in attendance to come back again soon.

But I really write at this time because I had to work late in Cincinnati the very next day, Thursday night. I had spoken with far out jazz drummer Ron Enyard at the Big Band gig and he had invited me back. I got finished early and ended my evening with Ron Enyard on drums, Dan Karlzberg on keyboards and Dan Drees on saxophone. Ron Enyard has an uncanny sense of timing no matter what he is saying on the drums, I love to hear the piano playing of Dan Karlzberg and I had actually completely lost touch with Dan Drees whom I first heard at the Old Pacchia's in Dayton. He knew his way around a tenor saxophone then and I enjoyed him again this night. Heck, it was like old home week for me. The set I heard they played Star Eyes, Surrey with the Fringe on Top and they closed out with a John Coltrane tune entitled Bessie's Blues, very enjoyable. But the surprise of the evening was a reincarnation of Chet Baker on vocals. I will admit that I will take a reincarnation of Chet Baker on trumpet over a reincarnation of Chet Baker on vocals but David Tarbell, who doubled as the bar tender, made me take a double take when he launched into a version of "I Should Care." I just kept shaking my head in amazement. It was actually a little eerie, the similarity in the voice was almost scary. He also sang "Getting Sentimental Over You" and "It Could Happen to me." I still shake my head in wonder. If you like Chet Baker vocals then get down to The Blue Wisp on Thursday nights and catch the singing bar tender, David Tarbell. You too will shake your head in wonder.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kenny Baccus

As I was walking away from my computer I realized that I had omitted the name of the person playing the instrument that owner Butch Stone considers the foundation of Jazz Central, the B3 Organ. Mastered for 30 years by Lincoln Berry [ who by the way will be playing there again April 9th along with Adrienne Hindmarsh on B3 and her husband Josh Hindmarsh on guitar] and is currently played by Kenny Baccus. Though I missed the gig myself, it is my understanding that the Baccus Brothers packed the place the night before, on 2-12-11. A lot of talent on one stage. Congratulations.

Gary Onady originals & Jazz Central does it again

After posting my Eddie Brookshire at Gilly's comments I heard from trumpeter, flugle horn player Gary Onady. I am glad I did because now I know the actual names of his original compositions instead of just what I thought I heard. I quote from Gary as follows:

The name of the tunes I wrote were: Rena's Dream (written for my youngest daughter Rena); Hailey's Here (written for my granddaughter the day she was born). I was writing it with the inspiration of Lee Morgan and Kenny Durham, and was to call it Kenny and Lee, but then my wife came into the room and said, Gary we have to go to the hospital, Hailey's Here, and that is how the song got its name... Sorry Kenny and Lee).

Now on to Jazz Central. I have mentioned before that I try not to write about Jazz Central too much because I go there just about every Sunday night from 8:30 to Midnight but Sunday night was special. To quote M.C., singer and trumpet player extraordinaire (not to mention a mighty fine flugle horn too), John Hampton Wagner, "two of the best tenor sax players in the Dayton area" played back and forth Sunday night, Chuck Wade (whom I am most familiar with as part of the Sinclair College Jazz Band) and King Kohler (who is part of the Air Force Band of Flight) - These two knocked the ball right out of the park on Tenor Madness - thank you John for suggesting the tune - it was truly magical. They kept things jumping all night long but they hit another home run on Mr. Magic later in the evening. They were more than ably assisted by Joseph Glenn on steel drums, Wagner on trumpet/flugle horn, Ron Applebury on electric bass, Greg Webster on drums, Cliff Darrett on congas and latin percussion, Ahmed Abdullah on congas and Mike Pilkenton on alto sax. We also heard from Ishmael Muhammad and "Craig" on drums. It was a night for the books. Thank you Butch Stone for keeping Jazz Central a place where jazz can be experienced.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Finally got out to hear some live jazz again on 2-11-11 at Gilly's - in fact, hadn't been there in a while either. Snow, ice, frigid cold, all can take their toll. Some jazz events even got postponed/canceled. Adding to all of that in my case is teaching a four hour class three nights a week but last night I finally made it out again. Heard a group I have written about before and try to catch every time I can, The Eddie Brookshire Quintet, now made up of the original core trio, Eddie Brookshire on bass, Jack Novotny on tenor sax, soprano sax & flute and Gary Onady on trumpet and flugel horn. Two newer members who seem to now be permanent members are Fenton Sparks on drums and Keigo Hirakawa on piano - you can check them all out at the band website; - I was running out of steam last night as the evening wore on at my house but I forced myself out the door and down to Gilly's - am I glad I did. The band was clicking on all cylinders. It has been a while since I have heard a Bebop oriented band that listened to each other so well and played together so well, playing off each other like they had practiced a million times. It was quite a treat.

As you no doubt can tell by my slow start, I got there about mid-way through their scheduled performance. It must have been near perfect timing for the set because they played for at least an hour after I got there before taking a break. The first tune I heard was blues, unfortunately I did not catch the entire name of the song. As they say in some circles these days, it was all good. A group near perfectly melded in purpose. The next tune was entitled Myth of the Poseidon, which I believe was written by Keigo Hirakawa. I have always loved the way that Gary & Jack do their ensemble work and this tune was what I would call frantic Bebop. It went a little over the edge for me but that is one thing you can count on out of The Eddie Brookshire Quintet, they are going to take you right to the ragged edge a few times a night and you just have to hold on for ride. This was followed up with a jazz standard, thought not heard that often, If I were a Bell. The Quintet played perfectly on this one. Eddie talked his wife Brenda Flowers into coming up to sing My Funny Valentine and I must say I really enjoyed her scatting on this tune. Next up was another original, I believe by Gary Onady entitled Winter Dreams. It actually put me in mind of Minor Blues from their CD "Bass Notes - The Heart Beat of Jazz" - a song I love. There was a break in there somewhere but they later played a really memorable version of Cedar Walton's Bolivia. It is hard to go wrong with Cedar Walton tunes. The bass solo was intriguing. This was followed by another Gary Onady original, the name of which I did not catch and there was a particularly good bass solo, everybody was cookin' and Fenton Sparks tore it up on the drums.

I thought they were ending the evening with a Kenny Burrell tune, added to their book thanks to sweet talking Brenda Flowers from a previous gig with the great guitarist Kenny Burrell. Thank you Brenda. It was a beautifully played and interplayed song, especially Jack Novotny on flute and Gary Onady on flugle horn, but I was sitting there thinking that as beautifully played as it was, it was a bit anticlimactic to what they had played previously for a final song. But I anticipated incorrectly, even with the Twelve o'clock hour knocking on the door the Quintet played one final tune of the night. Once again the band Bebopped their way excellently through the final tune, the bass solo and drum solo of particular note, in fact, the drum solo was fantastic. If you haven't heard The Eddie Brookshire Quintet you are in for a treat and if you weren't there last night, you REALLY missed it. Thank goodness I made myself head down to Gilly's. Thank you Jerry Gilloti.