Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jazz Central Article by Khalid Moss

By Khalid Moss:
     Jazz Central is living up to its name. It is truly the nucleus for jazz in the city of Dayton. That mantle used to belong to Gilly’s nightclub where, for many years, jazz was the centerpiece, the “piece de resistance.”  But times change and with the winnowing down of the overall jazz scene in general, Jazz Central is the only place in Dayton where musicians can jam and patrons can listen to live jazz and blues on a consistent basis.
     Jazz Central fulfills the vision of Charles “Butch” Stone, an entrepreneur, jazz advocate and, lately, jazz DJ with a one-hour slot on the Dayton City Schools radio station, WDPS.
     “When I bought the building it wasn’t a jazz club,” Stone recalled.  “It was just a
building. I said this would be a good place for a jazz club. My first artist was a blues guy,
Piney Brown.”  “Piney was known in Dayton but actually he had a top ten record in the nation,” Stone said.  “Actually Piney helped construct that stage he performed on.  He was also instrumental in bringing my first jazz guy, (vibraphonist) Johnny Lytle. Johnny, in turn, introduced me to a lot of people who eventually played the club.
     Throughout the years, Jazz Central has been well-stocked with notable musicians
such as “Brother” Jack McDuff, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Albert Collins, Rusty
Bryant, Hank Marr and many others.  “I had to stop Rusty from talking and get him to playing when he was here,”  Stone said. “This was in the heyday of jazz when jazz was kickin.”  I had calls from all kinds of folks; some I stayed away from because you can’t just jump out there like that.”  Stone, a huge man with shaved head and a deep, sonorous voice, bemoaned the decline of jazz in the city.
     “Jazz is not king anymore,” he said. “But we still draw good. We have jazz, we have smooth jazz, we have promotional groups that come in once a month and also the Dayton Blues Society uses our place. They really pack it out.”
     Currently ensconced at Jazz Central every Sunday is a house band consisting of Kenny Baccus on organ and Greg Webster on drums.  The host and MC is John Hampton
Wagner, who sings and plays trumpet. Wagner described a typical night at Jazz Central’s Sunday night jam session.
     “Usually, on a typical night, me and Kenny and (conga drummer) Cliff Darrett will do a couple of songs and then we invite people to sit in,” Wagner said.  “Usually someone will pass a note to me to let me know who is out there and what instrument they play.
     “People usually check in with me to sit in. It’s not proper etiquette to just walk in and play.  We had one kid from UD who just walked in, pulled out his horn and started blowing.  He had no regard for protocol. He just started blowing.  I had to holler at him. I had to cool him out.  Another time some gal came in and said she wanted to sing. I asked her what song and she said ‘I’m just gonna scat.’ Afterward she asked me ‘How did I
do?’ I gave her three words of advice: Learn a song!”
     For Stone, the biggest job now is to get the word out about his club, which is clustered in a residential area of East Dayton -not considered a prime location for a jazz venue.
     “I believe a lot of people know about the club,” Stone explained. “But you have to  give them what they want.  If it’s not what they want, then…. Take for instance Saturday night (In March 2012). We were packed.  If you’re giving them what they want, they will come out.  But there are definitely obstacles to being a minority business.  Sometimes my ice just ain’t cold enough (chuckles).  My mother told me that! She said don’t look down. Keep going forward.”
The one thing Stone said he valued most during his trek through the iffy business of jazz is loyalty.
     “John Hampton Wagner has been with me almost fifteen years,” he said. “He’s always
there.  He’s a very loyal guy.  I’ve seen a lot of them who thought they were going somewhere but never did.  You see a lot of that.  I would have to say that (organist) Lincoln Berry is the most loyal entertainer that I’ve ever encountered.  He never wavered. He eventually moved to Minnesota but he still comes back here once a year to play. He packs them in.”
     Stone’s radio program, called Jazz Beat, is broadcast on WDPS-FM, Mondays at one
     “At the station, they call me the Iceman,” Stone said. “I forget who put that on me.  But it stuck.”
     Iceman, business man, jazz man; Butch Stone is in it for the long haul.  Jazz Central is located at 2931 East Third Street. For show schedule and details visit:

Contact DCP freelance writer Khalid Moss at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The jazz band camp as promised!

The band camp finale kicked off with four jazz drummers [Drum Mania] under the direction of Slammin' Sammy K (and Jim Leslie during the camp). Sarah Dabe, Kelly Edsall, Evan Danielson and a drummer to be named in the next jazz drummer trade, played some coordinated drum beats/riffs and got the crowd going. Next up was the Bill Burns Big Band (THE Band) playing A Sackful of Soul by Roland Kirk and Memphis Underground by Herbie Mann. Bill Burns was off earning his keep so Hal Melia directed the band and they sounded like the week had paid off. Next was the Dan Nicora & Hal Melia Big Band [Jazz Dispenser, a.k.a. Jaz -re Pez- Dispenser]. This group played Freddie Freeloader by Miles Davis, Blue Bossa by Kenny Dorham & Moanin' by Bobby Timmons - my vote for outstanding soloist was Owen Berg on guitar. He is a 7th grader. Then came a band that called themselves the Groove Dispenser under the direction of Alyssa Mehnert (not Maynard) and they played Impression by John Coltrane, St. Thomas by Sonny Rollins and Cold Duck Time by Eddie Harris, all three very credibly performed. Last but not least, the jazz band campers were getting more experienced and the music was sounding more sophisticated, The Big Band Theory under the direction of Scott Belck played Things Ain't What They Used to Be, Such Sweet Thunder by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn - an excellent choice, and Spain by Chic Corea which was very well done (and got the crowd involved in the hand clapping sequences). Natalie Semsel gets my vote for soloist of the night on clarinet in Things Ain't What They Used to Be. Andy Kemer was also impressive on his trumpet solo on Such Sweet Thunder. I have not been able to catch the band camp finale for several years and this one was worth catching. Keep up the good work campers and you band camp instructors. Great job!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Jim "jazz guitar" Smith & band camp finale!

I did see a few of you there tonight at the Miami Valley Jazz Band Camp grand finale. It is always enjoyable to see how the new generation of jazz musicians and jazz fans are doing. But first I must make a correction to my Stubbs Park Wednesday evening performance comments. As I walked into the auditorium tonight, one of the first people that I saw in the audience was jazz guitar aficionado Jim Smith. Jim was also in the audience last night at the DJO performance BUT he was also in the final performances by the smaller group of band camp teachers, playing his usual wonderful guitar. Somehow I omitted his name, even have it written down in my notes, but as soon as he offered me a seat and I sat down beside him a HUGE light bulb came on in my mind - oops, I left Jim Smith off the performance list. My apologies Jim and thank you for your hospitality and the conversation this evening. Glad to hear that the jazz program at Central State is alive and well. There will be more on the Jazz Camp finale to follow...

2012 Jazz camp & DJO

The Miami Valley Jazz Camp and The Dayton Jazz Orchestra are doing their thing again this year. And Thanks to Jim Leslie, jazz drummer extraordinaire, I was there Wednesday night to hear it. Called Jim about another matter, Jim mentioned Wednesday night, I took the bait and ran with it - what a night. The evening kicked off with a group of band campers that were testing their chops and demonstrating what they had been working on all week. They were well received by the crowd, a pretty sizable crowd too, given the 90 degree temperatures. The jazz camp teacher version of the DJO was Brian Cashwell on piano (you can find him most Monday nights at Brio's ... with the trio), Dan Nicora (ts), Jeff Spurlock (as), Hal Melia (as), Josh Adkin (as) and Bill Burns (bari-sax). The second row consisted of either Jim Leslie or Slammin' Sammy K on drums, Tom Billing (trombone), Vaughn Weister (trombone), Alyssa Maynard (trombone) & Todd Couch (trombone). Third row was made up of Chris Berg (b) [another of the trio at Brio's], Brian West (t), Dave Halpin (t), Bill Dixon (t) & Al Parr(t)..... an all start cast for sure. Since moderator, jokester, musician and jazz enthusiast Hal Melia was so great about announcing each tune I will let you in on what you missed if you were not in attendance; Begin the Begine featuring Scott Belck and Josh Adkin (oh yeah, neglected to mention that Scott Belck wowed the crowd as well with some great solos), Nancy with the Laughing Face featuring Dan Nicora, Emily featuring Vaughn Weister, Sweet Georgia Brown featuring the entire band doing some great ensemble work with some room for Al Parr, Bill Burns and Jeff Spurlock to stretch out on some solos, Time After Time featuring Alyssa Maynard and Chris Berg, Where or When featuring Bill Burns on bari-sax and then finally Stella by Starlight featuring Hal Melia on alto sax. The crowd was thrilled throughout with the usual memorable performances. But that was not all - then we were treated to some small group interpretations featuring Jim Leslie on drums, Chris Berg on bass, Brian Cashwell on piano, Alyssa Maynard on trombone, Hal Melia on alto sax and flute & Scott Belck on trumpet. Sammy K jumped in for a song as well. The group played an Alyssa Maynard arrangement entitled Blue Freeze then a Scott Belck composition entitled Pot Kettle Black and ended with Hal Melia on flute playing Its You or No One. A great night of music and band camp finale is Friday night, hey, that's tonight - see you there!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who is Eddie Brookshire?

From Jack Novotny: "Through the grace and interest of Jerry Giloti, proprietor of "Gilly's" Jazz Club in Dayton, OH he has helped "The Eddie Brookshire Quintet" gain exposure in becoming a regional voice. The ensemble plays regularly in Pittsburgh, PA and has had visits in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Lexington."

How long have I known Eddie Brookshire?
     My memory is not what it once was and I really can't say, all I know is he has always been there during the years I've been doing Jazz Advocate.  I have seen Eddie perform with many groups, ranging from Rick Evans' Masters of Jazz to the Sinclair College Jazz Ensemble.  I have seen the Eddie Brookshire Big Band, featuring wife Brenda Flowers at numerous locations including Gilly's and RiverScape.  These days you'll be most likely to see him with his quintet, which after going through some changes on piano and drums, has developed into one of the great groups from Dayton.
The Eddie Brookshire Quintes performs the Grand Opening
at the Thompson House in Newport, Ky

     Eddie was born in Carthage, Miss. and moved to Dayton Ohio at age 6. Originally a Clarinet player, while in the US Army taught himself Electric Bass, first toured and recorded with Piney Brown's Blues Band, then with the Coasters. He formed the fusion band The Casual Society, and soon joined Rusty Bryant, recording Friday Night Funk with him in 1970. After Acoustic Bass studies with Larry Gales, he joined James Newton's jazz group. Later, he attended Central State University and organized the University's Big band, and played in award wining jazz combos and Ethnic Ensembles in addition to numerous musicianship awards at jazz festivals. Eddie, listed in Who's Who in colleges, attended Northern Ill. for grad studies in World Music, where he studied bass with Larry Grey and Steel Drums with Cliff Alexis. He was a member of the Down Beat award winning symphonic orchestra, won more musicianship awards and ran jazz combos for the university.
     Throughout and upon completing college he traveled with Vibe player Johnny Lytle and backed up Little Jimmy Scott, worked in the bands of Elvin Jones, Norris Turney, Booty Wood, Sandra Reeves- Phillips, Buddy Webb, Cal Collins, Pherez Whitted, Karl Allen, Little Johnny Taylor, Lowell Folson, Bill Holman, Bob Curnow, Maria Schneider, Claude Williams, Snokie Young, Von Freeman, Jimmy Wilkins, Earl Warren, John Carter, Billy Harper, Benny Maupin, Jimmy Owens, Nathan Davis, Woody Shaw, Slide Hampton, Gerri Allen, Jay McShan, Roy Ayers, Wilbert Longmire, David Fathead Newman and Azar Lawrence. Eddie is a former Member of Kishwaukee Comm. Symphony Orchestra, present member of AAJC-IAJE Big Band, listed in The United States Achievement Academy College Directory (86-87), NAFEO award for excellent performance (Acoustic Bass) recipient of The Presser Foundation Award (Academic 1986-87). He currently teaches at Sinclair Comm. College, (Bass, Improv, and Jazz Combo) and the University of Dayton, (Bass, Jazz Combos). 
     He is a Member of A.F.M. Union 101-473 Executive Board, and along with his Quintet he also leads The Eddie Brookshire Big Band.

Riverscape MetroPark  2012 Music Series:
Saturday, June 2           Eddie Brookshire Quintet - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Saturday, June 9           Cla've Son - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Saturday, July 7            Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Saturday, July 14          Tropicoso - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Saturday, August 4       Deron Bell Jazz Band    - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Saturday, August 11     Son del Caribe - 7:30 to 9:30pm

Riverscape MetroPark  2012 Big Band Series:
Thursday, July 5           Hal Harris Orchestra -  7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, July 12         Dayton Jazz Orchestra - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, July 19         Tom Daugherty - Tommy Dorsey Tribute - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, July 26         Dayton Swing Era Big Band - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, August 2       Joe Aceto and his Orchestra - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, August 9       Pam Noah and Her Big Band - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, August 16     Jack Garrett & the Syndicate Orchestra - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, August 23     Bob Gray Orchestra - 7:30 to 9:30pm
Thursday, August 30     Kim Kelly Orchestra - 7:30 to 9:30pm