Monday, January 17, 2011

The third rule, The Slaughter Brothers, Grammy nomination & Jazz Alley

[The third rule & The Slaughter Brothers] - All I can say is Wow! Last night at Jazz Central was one to remember. The third rule was in full swing, a Holiday on Monday brought out Todd Bridges, a killer trombone player; Mark Smarelli, an unbelievable vibes player; and M.C. John Hampton Wagner's wife (no wait, she was part of the audience) - then to top it all off, fresh from a Grammy nominated recording and N'awlins was Clarence Slaughter (the Grammy nominated recording is Backatown with Trombone Shorty) and his "little" brother William Patrick Slaughter (who now has a regular gig up in Cleveland - for the uninitiated, Patrick is affectionately know as "Little Pops") - the two of them just brought the house down, especially on a very rapid rendition of Straight No Chaser. We also were blessed with the presence of Cameron Voorhees on guitar and last night he was on fire. From Clarence to Patrick to Mark to Cameron, the solos just kept cookin' on Straight No Chaser. Did I mention Todd Bridges on trombone? That cat can play! Seriously, the whole place was electric all night long. Owner Butch Stone and I just kept shaking our heads at the music coming from the bandstand area. Kenny Baccus did some serious cookin' as well on the B3 organ and Greg Webster never missed a beat on drums. Cliff Darrett was his usual creative self on latin percussions and Rodderick Wilson was lighting things up on trumpet. Whew! John Hampton Wagner kept the party going with some very fitting solos and his usual great vocals. It was just an incredible night. But wait, I'm not finished. Kenny Baccus' brother Roger was in from California and he played B3 during the usual break time. Things ratched up a notch because Roger came to play. He was joined by Fenton Sparks on drums and Fenton Sparks not only came to play but was having more fun than anyone else and believe me, everyone else was having lots of fun. Between Roger on B3, Fenton on Drums and Cameron on guitar, their level of music on a tune called Pepperdine Drive (no doubt Pepperdine in California) brought all the musicians back up from break and then things really lit up. As we always say on nights like this, "Isn't anybody recording this stuff?" Pure enjoyment. Just about forgot, we even had a steel drum player last night. I've been going to Jazz Central for over ten years and I never remember a steel drum player. Kraig Brock from Central State University wowed the crowd and gave the song St. Thomas an authenticity heretofore not experienced at Jazz Central. Frankly, it was good to see some Central State jazz musicians back down at Jazz Central. That has not been a regular occurrence since Mario Abney took off for New Orleans some years ago. And last but most certainly not least, guest drummers Ishmael Mohamed and Henry Miles Preston added to the mix as they always do when the join the jazz jam. What a night!

I want to make a special comment about the Grammy nominated recording, Backatown. Some years ago when Clarence Slaughter was still in high school, he played with the Dayton area Serious Young Musicians. The band, which included previously mentioned Mario Abney, opened for the touring Motown back up band often called collectively The Funk Brothers. I wrote about this then, heck, you might even be able to locate my write up in the Jazz Advocate Jazz Talk archives if you looked hard enough, but I saw Clarence Slaughter bring a packed house at The Fraze Pavilion to their feet! I've always said over 2,000 people but I just did a quick Google check and it was probably over 4000 people. He brought the house down! What a performance. I just want to extend a special congratulations to Dayton's own Clarence Slaughter for his participation in a Grammy nominated recording. Clarence, you deserve it.

Last but most assuredly not least, there is no way around it any more. There is a new Jazz Alley in the Dayton area. It is Ohio 725 starting at Alex's Supper Club on Monarch Drive just east of Alex Road where Dave Greer and the Classic Jazz Stompers play every Wednesday night, past the Dayton Mall to Carver's Restaurant just east of Yankee Trace/675 where The Shawn Stanley Trio is playing every Friday night, to just around the corner from the intersection of Lyons Road & 725 to Harrigan's South where DJO holds forth on the first Thursday of every month to just a block or so down the road (but before you get to Ohio 48) to The Liquid Room which has jazz every Thursday night. So Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night jazz lovers can hear jazz somewhere on 725 between Miamisburg and OH 48 in Centerville. Hats off to the new Jazz Alley! [OK, technically The Shawn Stanley Trio does not play a lot of jazz abut they are a very talented group and when they DO play jazz, they really have the chops.]

One final note (not indicated in the header for this blog entry), I just heard some excellent jazz at Spinoza's out at the Mall at Fairfield Commons. Tim Berens and Frank Proto (who has a bass older than the United States) laid down some memorable music. Everything was clicking and they were even better than usual and that is saying a lot. Apparently the duo is doing a performance at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati sometime in March. They played a world premier of one of their compositions and we were all glad we were there to have that experience. Thanks Glen for having jazz at Spinoza's.