Monday, June 27, 2011

Women in Jazz & Jazz Central After Party

The last hour is always the best! The Jazz Central Jazz Jam was cookin' last night and the last hour was jazz at its finest. The Jazz Central Jazz Jam stage was blessed by the presence of jazz guitarist Mike Fageros, a pilot who flies into Dayton from time-to-time and always catches the Sunday night jam. He has also been featured in previous Jazz Central Performances. The last one which they are STILL talking about! Rodderick Wilson was amazing the crowd on trumpet and flugle horn, he was joined by a sax "trio" of Larry Smith (as), King Koeller (ts) and Chuck Wade (ts). All can wail in their own right but King Koeller is always a crowd favorite. Cliff Darrett was on latin percussion and congas, house drummer Greg Webster, spelled by Craig (Mr. Clean) and Ishmael Mohammed, Ron Applebury on bass, Kenny Baccus on B3 and John Hampton Wagner on trumpet and vocals. There was a guest bass player as well, my apologies for not catching his name. This group of jazz musicians played some fantastic jazz in that last hour of the jazz jam last night. Work Song, Song for My Father and St. Thomas come to mind but it was all highlighted by the cool jazz guitar play of Mike Fageros. Always good to see Mike walk through the door. The Women in Jazz after party really seemed to enjoy the show.

Speaking of Women in Jazz, it started off rainy but turned into a beautiful day! The Jazz Central Band backed Beverly Jackson and Audrey Whitaker (which I heard from several sources went really well); Elizabeth Hayes was backed by an all star band which included Grant Koeller (ts), Reg Richwine (t) & Chris Berg (b) - I did manage to catch the last few minutes of this performance, Reg and Grant ("King") were crowd favorites, then April Aloisio, up from Cincinnati, with her Cincinnati Musicians, Phil Burkhead being a keyboard player you can sometimes hear around the Dayton area and she looked and sounded like a million bucks (as one attendee exclaimed), Patricia Berg was up next backed by husband Chris Berg on bass, Grant Koeller (again), Tim Berens (one of my favorite guitar players in the area), Brian Cashwell on keyboards (hear him every Monday night at Brios at The Greene - along with Chris Berg) and a drummer who's name I did not catch (my apologies) - caught the very beginning of Sandra Rutledge (apologies to a fellow Jazz Advocate Board Member) and then had to leave before I was able to hear B3 player Linda Dachtyl, out of Columbus, or Dayton's own Brenda Flowers and former Dayton resident Teresa Hunt (believe she calls Arizona her home now) - it was a beautiful day, a great crowd, lots of food and plenty of jazz in Women in Jazz. Keep it up Dayton!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Miami Valley Jazz Camp - Wow!!

Recently managed to get myself to the mid-week performance of the 2011 Miami Valley Jazz Camp, an annual event. Perhaps some of you know that I do a radio show on WDPS FM at 89.5 for the Dayton Public Schools. The show airs at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. You can pick it up on your radios but you can also pick it up at on the internet where the station broadcasts 24/7. I mention this because I had announced on my show numerous times that the Wednesday evening performance would be at Stubbs Park in Centerville as has been the case every year for as far back as I cannot remember. As part of my "reach out and touch someone" jazz music tendencies I had traded e-mails with Dayton Jazz Orchestra (DJO) drummer Jim Leslie and he noted that the performance was at Fairmont High School. Say what? Had I lost my mind - told station listeners to be at Stubbs Park but this was incorrect? - what the heck - long story long, I called Stubbs Park folks in Centerville and they told me it was not at Stubbs Park - "When did that happen?" - "About and hour ago." I requested they add the Fairmont High School address to the sign that was going to be put up at the park and then wondered how else to get the word out. Suddenly realized that WDPS Station Coordinator, Chris Hartley (a.k.a. Hippie) was doing a live broadcast right now. Called him and asked him to get the word out over the air, "hot off the press" kind of stuff that stations love, and he did get the word out in his remaining half hour on the air. About that time I got an e-mail from Mr. Jazz Advocate himself, Ron Gable, that the Miami Valley Jazz Camp had contacted him about the weather related venue change and that he was getting to word out to all his subscribers. All of this seemed to work because the auditorium was pretty darn full by the end of the performance. Yea!

Now back to the performance, and what a performance it was. Things kicked off with a big band of Miami Valley Jazz Campers under the tutelege of Scott Belk - for those of you who do now know Scott Belk (if you do NOT know him you need to get to one of his concerts down at CCM in Cincinnati, for your own sake), he is a wonderful trumpet player and a great conductor and the band played together like they had been practicing for quite some time, when in reality it had only been three days. Ya gotta love jazz musicians! Great job Scott Belk!

The DJO was up next and what a lineup; Josh Adkins (as/ts), Dan Nicora (ts), Rick Johnson (ts/soprano sax), Hal Melia (as/soprano sax) and Bill Burns (bari-sax); Rick Simerly (tb), Vaughn Weister (tb), Todd Couch (tb) & Denny Seifert (bass trombone); Reg Richwine (t), John Harner (t), Scott Belck (t) & Bill Johnson (t); Chris Berg (b),Phil DeGreg (p) & Jim Leslie (d). The band was hitting on all cylinders! The music was great, song selection equal to the task at hand and special guest, Robyn Eubanks on trombone was eye (ear?) poppingly technically proficient. He made some sounds come out of that trombone bell that I don't think I had ever heard before.

During the DJO break they brought out a brass band conducted by trombone player extraordinaire Rick Simerly. They presented some very difficult music very well. Great job guys. Then the DJO was toned down to more of a combo arrangement, Phil DeGreg on piano, Chris Berg on bass, Slammin' Sammy K on drums, Hal Melia on alto sax, Jim Smith on guitar with special guest, Robyn Eubanks on trombone. Eubanks & Melia played some notable duets. A musically enjoyable different twist on the evening for sure. But to end the evening they brought all the DJO out once again. I could go on and on about just about every member of the band but will just note a couple tunes; Slammin' Sammy K hit a drum solo that was out of the park (later learned this was suggested by usual DJO drummer Jim Leslie) - it was a real crowd pleaser. Bill Burns worked his usual magic with a bari-sax solo on a Big Phat Band (Gordon Goodwin) reworking of Sweet Georgia Brown, Swingin' for the Fences AND, last but not least, Rick Simerly & Vaughn Weister played a fantastic trombone duet that was lots of fun for everybody. All-in-all, a great night of music. The musical teachers and mentors in this area, along with special guests such as Rick Simerly and Slammin' Sammy K do a marvelous job with the jazz students in the area that are fortunate enough to attend this camp. Keep up the good work!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dayton Jazz Orchestra 1st Thursday of each month

The first Thursday of June, 2011 found the Dayton Jazz Orchestra (DJO) at Harrigan's South again, holding forth in another rendition of their big band magic. Missing the last two months, this visit was particularly satisfying AND they outdid themselves. What a great night!

Participants were Josh Adkins (ts), Grant Kohler (ts), Rick Johnson (soprano sax, etc.), Jeff Spurlock (as) & Brad Morgan (bari-sax) - a word about Brad, Brad is a big guy with a big sound and when I spoke with him he told me he had studied under Bill Burns at Centerville and was now studying under Hal Melia - all I can say is wow! If he is meeting their standards, no wonder he has such a big sound. Bill Burns did come in for the second set as he had a previous engagement which precluded his participation in the first set but that did give us a chance to hear Brad Morgan. Thanks Bill.

Tom Billings played trombone as did Vaugn Weister (who has his own Big Band that plays in Columbus every Monday night), Todd Couch and Denny Seifert. And speaking of big bass sounds, Denny Seifert plays bass trombone with the best. Al Parr was on trumpet as was John Harner (John was formerly lead trumpet for the Stan Kenton Band), Bill Dixon and Jay Halpin (of the U.S. Air Force Big Band Jazz contingent, The Night Hawks) - by the way, The Night Hawks will be playing at the Jazz and Peace Festival at Stubbs Park this Summer on July 9th - come on down and enjoy the music. Rounding out the band with the rhythm section was one of my favorite drummers, Jim Leslie, with Vinnie Marshall on the mini-electric bass (Vinnie on the skinny as I like to say) and Jeff Black on piano. The music was excellent and the food and drink was enjoyable too. If you like Big Band music, Harrigan's South (just around the corner from the intersection of OH 725 & Lyons Road in Centerville) on the first Thursday of each month is the place to be.