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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
January 16, 2017

A FRIENDLY PLACE

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I am still looking in the rear view mirror at memories from last year. Opportunities came along that buoyed my spirit. I met some new people and became aware of the value of old friends. Sometimes they were standing next to each other.

 

OLD FRIENDS

 

The glue that holds societies and families together is having common experiences and common goals. Detroit counts on this when difficult times come along. It is also what allows us to celebrate when something good happens.

 

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THE YEAR 2016 AT THE DIRTY DOG – OLD FRIENDS

 

Sometime last year I started noticing  a lot of familiar faces that were attentively looking up at the latest band of Dirty Dog jazz musicians. My memory is not my greatest strength so this probably wasn’t the first or second time a lot of these customers had visited the Dirty Dog.

 

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These were the regulars, individuals who can be counted on, the jazz faithfuls. These are folks who support the music and appreciate the effort it takes to make it available. They also like to have a good time, a warm place to go in a Michigan winter and a cool place to go at the end of a hot Michigan summer day. They also, I realized,  like to come into a jazz friendly space where like minded people allow themselves to get lost in the music. They seem to know when quiet respect is appropriate yet free to show their unbridled  enthusiasm.

 

NEW FRIENDS

 

Last year many music lovers were attracted to our city. Detroit is changing. Hopefully this will mean a growing interest in live music and the arts that will include an appreciation for all the roots that are the strength of Detroit’s powerful presence in the world’s music.

 

THE YEAR 2016 AT THE DIRTY DOG -NEW FRIENDS

 

A lot of folks found their way to the Dirty Dog for the first time. We frequently heard the question ” Dang it, how long has this been here?”.  Visitors to the city include their Dirty Dog  moment in their vision of Detroit. It was a good year to listen to jazz and watch Detroit grow.

 

A NEW FRIEND – RON CARTER

 

This is a follow up to last week’s blog about  bassist Ron Carter’s visit to the Dirty Dog.

 

Ron Carter was 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival’s artist in residence. This honor comes with obligations that this native Detroiter took to heart. Before they could stop him he was scheduled for four gigs at the festival. Ron has been one of the most original, prolific, and  influential bassists in jazz, with more than 2,000 albums to his credit.

 

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I had very little contact with Ron Carter in person. I did spend a lot of time with his image in front of me. I painted his portrait for the Detroit Jazz Festival. Ron Carter was the first  musician to be recognized by the festival on its poster. This was to be a celebration of not just Ron Carter’s greatness but of Detroit’s glorious process in growing great musicians.

 

Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan has been a cauldron for America’s jazz musicians. Ron is a graduate of Cass Tech and has lived up to the expectation as an artist and as a man. Here he was nearly 60 years after graduating back in Detroit gently but firmly showing our next generation how a man acts and a jazz man plays.

 

When I suggested to this imposing figure of a man that as we get old we  have less pressure as we have less to prove, he replied: ” Every morning when I wake up I hope that this will be the day that I find a new note.”

 

MORE THAN JUST ROOTS – A LIVING TREE

 

I am proud to have been somewhat involved with the  and remain in awe of the musicians whose vitality give me inspiration.

 

 

GOOD NEWS

 

The Dirty Dog’s plans to become a 10,000 seat auditorium have been put on hold so it will remain a small intimate venue where one can get to know the artists. This will mean that there will continue to be smile exchanges throughout the place during the meals and during / after the music.

 

MORE GOOD NEWS

 

There will be room for everyone including first timers for all of 2017.

 

COMING TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ

 

PHIL KELLY TRIO  –  WED 1/18/17 – THURS 1/19/17

 

 

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KYLE EASTWOOD  – FRI 1/2017 –  SAT – 1/21/17

 

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January 12, 2017

 

Detroit Guitarist’s Mid 70’s “Fish Feet” Album on Strata Finally Get’s Released

 

 

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Guitarist Ron English is a well-respected member of Detroit’s music community. He has helped shape contemporary Jazz styles since the 1960’s with a diverse repertoire covering Jazz , Blues, Avant-garde, Motown, Soul/Funk and Gospel.

 

 

Growing up in Lansing, he came from a musical family, as his father was a guitar teacher, starting, him on lessons at an early age. He soon got involved in the Jazz scene in Detroit at the Artists’ Workshop and started playing with the Detroit Contemporary 5 which included some of the city’s most progressive artists such as trumpeter Charles Moore, pianist Kenn Cox, Drummer Danny Spencer, bassist John Dana, and saxophonist Larry Nozero. They soon created the artist-run, now legendary, Strata Records.

 

 

Strata was more than a label. It was a magazine, a venue for concerts, poetry readings and other performance arts and many more activities that provided services for artists of all kinds. Their headquarters and performance venue was at 46 W. Selden in the University/Cultural Center of Detroit.

 

 

For the next two decades Ron was very active, touring and recording with Detroit’s who’s who of Jazz during that era, including Lyman Woodard, Phil Ranelin, Wendell Harrison, Kenn Cox, Eddie Russ and many others. He toured as a backing musician for many Motown artists such as the Supremes, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and others. He was also a founding member of the Woolies who had a hit cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” in 1967.

 

 

During this time he also led his own group which played weekly at Cobb’s Corner on Cass and Willis opening for such notables as McCoy Tyner, The Jazz Crusaders and other big names.

 

 

Currently, English teaches guitar, Jazz theory and ensemble classes at Marygrove College. He can also be heard every Tuesday night at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe with the Charles Boles Quartet with Boles on piano, Renell Gonzalves on drums and John Dana on bass.

 

 

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Ron English with the Charles Boles Quartet performing each Tuesday at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe

 

Photo: John Osler

 

 

 

Last week, Ron handed me a copy of his mid-1970’s album Fish Feet which is being released for the first time by 180 Proof, who are releasing much of the material from the famed Detroit based label, Strata Records. 180 Proof has their catalog of 30 unreleased masters in addition to their 6 official commercial releases. Their house DJ Amir is creating appropriate remixes, restorations and covers from the Strata catalog, creating new synergy between the players of the past and the music fans of today.

 

 

Ron’s Fish Feet features 5 out 7 tracks that are originals. Band members include some of the best artists from the era.

 

 

These include the great Norma Jean Bell on Alto, Lyman Woodard on organ, George Davidson on drums, Phil Ranelin on trombone, Kenn Cox, piano, Ed Pickins bass, Danny Spencer, drums/percussion, Charles Moore, trumpet/percussion, Leonard King, percussion and Larry Nozero, tenor. The horn section used throughout consisted of Marcus Belgrave, Phil Ranelin, Norma Jean Bell, Larry Nozero, and Ralph (Busy) Jones.

 

 

The limited double vinyl LP is also being released on CD. The artwork was done by Overton Loyd best known as the artist who created covers for George Clinton including the 1978 classic “Motor Booty Affair”.

 

 

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This album takes you back to a time when Jazz was starting to infuse more Soul and Funk into its sound due to the emerging popularity of these newer styles. The music is a soundprint of the sounds of Detroit Jazz in the 1970’s when the Jazz scene here was hotter than hot!

 

Congratulations Ron!

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

 

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January 10, 2017

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LOOKING BACK BEFORE GOING FORWARD

 

As I am getting a little older, I find myself contemplating more and planning tasks less.

 

I am getting more comfortable bringing back good memories than looking at what lies ahead. This reminder of how good life can be will carry me for a while.

 

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RECALLING A SUMMER DAY WITH RON CARTER & RUSSELL MALONE

 

It was a beautiful summer day and I had a lot of outdoor projects lined up. In the morning of this near perfect day I learned that the jazz legend Ron Carter was going to be at the Dirty dog Jazz Café. He was in town and offered  to spend some time with fortunate local high school students from the Detroit Jazz Festival program. Reluctantly I said goodbye to the warm sun filled backyard. I packed up my camera,  I headed over to the Dog, and I went out of the sunshine into one of my most soul enriching experiences of 2016.

 

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The students had arrived and set up to play some music. There was some youthful jabbering until Ron Carter arrived. Ron Carter looks as good in person as he does on his CD covers, only taller and even more elegant. He introduced himself to a suddenly very quiet group of young jazz musicians. He asked them to play and soon with some gentle nudges a relaxed band entered into a shared learning experience. Here was a player of jazz music who has had an entire  lifetime at the top of his craft listening carefully to some Detroit kids starting out. His taking the time didn’t go unnoticed.

 

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The next day I returned to the Dirty Dog knowing that Ron Carter was setting up for an evening gig. He was scheduled to join his pal the great guitarist Russell Malone for a special evening honoring the supporters of the Detroit Jazz Festival. I figured that they would do a quick sound check and leave. The staff was busy setting up for the guests. Tables were being arranged and covered. In the middle of this activity were two artists making music for themselves. I set my camera down as I knew that it was too loud for the occasion. Imagine being in the room with these two great artists who were spending some time quietly facing each other for almost an hour, musically surprising each other and grinning just like a couple of kids, a couple of really talented kids. It seemed like they were happily transferring a lot of knowledge. I will carry this experience with me for some time.

 

HERE IS A  ( PRETTY LONG ) VIDEO OF RUSSELL MALONE TALKING ABOUT LEARNING FROM OTHERS

 

 

 

 

RON CARTER

 

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Ron Carter; Musician, Legend and Cass Tech Graduate

 

Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music’s greats. He is a Detroiter and has that built in empathy for others that makes him a good teacher and collaborator.

 

Ron Carter continues  to lecture, conduct, and perform at clinics and master classes while keeping an active performing schedule.  He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies and has spent 18 years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York where he is now a Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

 

 

 Ron is a graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan which has been a cauldron for America’s greatest jazz musicians. He  has lived up to the expectation as an artist and as a man. When I caught up with him, it was nearly 60 years after he graduated from Cass. Here he was  gently but firmly showing our next generation how a man acts and a jazz man plays.

 

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THE TRUTH IS THAT THIS IS HAPPENING MOST DAYS IN THE CITY OF DETROIT

 

Ron Carter and Russell Malone are familiar names, and it was a privilege to be in their presence. However this was just one of what is a common occurrence in Detroit’s jazz world. I have so many brilliant memories of watching musicians share and care.

 

John Osler

 

COMING TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ  1/11-1/14

 

DWIGHT ADAMS

 

Dwight is a home grown great trumpet player who is always in demand will be playing in the intimate Dirty Dog Jazz Café. A memory in the making.

 

 

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January 3, 2017

Detroit Birthday Profile for January:  James Carter

 

 

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Photo: Paul Mauriat Music.com

 

 

Detroit  saxophonist,  James Carter, was born in Detroit on January 3, 1969 and is one of the most celebrated players on the world stage. He’s not only known as a true saxophone virtuoso but also for being an innovator who has explored his own creative voice and style.
He first started playing at age 11 and was fortunate to study with East Side Middle School Jazz instructor, Donald Washington who formed the unique school ensemble “Bird-Trane- Sco-Now!”. The band name came from style makers Charlie “Bird” Parker, John Coltrane, and Roscoe Mitchell.

 

 

I saw Bird-Trane-Sco-Now perform live early on and was so impressed, I invited them to play live on my radio show at WDET-FM 101.9

 

 

Soon after, in 1981, I produced a concert with them at the New World Theater on Woodward. James was in the band at the time. He was 12. I continued to keep my eye on him and have followed his career to this day.

 

 

Other well-known musicians got their start studying with Washington, including award-winning bassist and Michigan State Jazz Director, Rodney Whitaker.

 

 

 

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James and I in 2003 after one of our live interviews on WDET-FM.

 

 

While in high school, Carter attended the Blue Lake Fine Arts camp and became the youngest member of their faculty. They toured Scandinavia in 1985 when he was just 16. In 1988 he had an opportunity to play with acclaimed trumpeter Lester Bowie at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which put him in the national spotlight.

 

He then moved to New York and soon became known as one of the most aspiring young Jazz performers on an international Jazz scene, playing saxophones, flute and clarinets.

 

 

He was featured in a 1994 PBS national broadcast “Live at Lincoln Center”. Another high point came when got more international attention when he portrayed Ben Webster in Robert Altman’s, award-winning 1996, film “Kansas City”.

 

 

He began recording albums under his own name including the “Chasin’ the Gypsy” in 2000 – a tribute to Django Reinhardt, featuring his cousin, prominent Jazz violinist, Regina Carter.

 

 

Other notable recordings include “The Real Quiet Storm” (1995), “Gardenias for Lady Day” (2003), “Live at Bakers Keyboard Lounge with David Murray and Johnny Griffin” (2004).

 

 

He won Downbeat magazine’s Critics and Readers Choice award for baritone saxophone for several years in a row and has played and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgwater, The Mingus Big Band, Julius Hemphill, Frank Lowe, Kathleen Battle, The World Saxophone Quartet, Cyrus Chestnut, and many others.

 

 

His playing is the sign of true master. It’s powerful, and expressive backed up by enormous amounts of skill and musicianship. He’s the amazing James Carter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

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2017

 

NEXT YEAR IS HERE

 

I often put things off that need to be done and some things that I would really like to do…. until next year. This week next year is a year away, meanwhile I will try to do those good things that I put off until this year. That means I should right away listen to more jazz, find reasons to laugh and tackle some personal art projects.

 

Every year we get a chance to start over. We get one more chance to get it right. We get a  fresh start, and at the same time we get to hold on to the good things that we already have. 2017 seems like that moment. I am looking forward to having  conversations about the coming year and the positive events as they happen. I hope to talk to and photograph those who will be helping make Detroit a better place to live. Music will continue to show us the way. There is something special happening around us in Detroit, and the Dirty Dog will be celebrating the resurgence of live music in our city with innovative programs and adventurous menus.

 

BOLDLY BLOGGING INTO THE NEW YEAR

 

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SOME BLOG SUBJECTS THAT I HAVE PUT OFF UNTIL THIS YEAR

 

Again this year I will expose my weakness for jazz and all the really nice people who play the music in my home town. There will be blogs about  food. Chef André and Chef Eli will help us better understand their approach to preparing the special fare served at the Dirty Dog. They will share with us techniques, processes  and recipes.

 

We will explore the reasons that musicians and fans make the claim that the Dirty Dog Jazz Café is the best jazz club in America.

 

The creative process in the arts and music will be discussed with other artists. We will also meet many of the staff and musicians that provide such a perfect environment for all that jazz. We will continue the search to find what makes it tick.

 

An important ongoing story will be the growth of jazz and the incredible programs  and teachers in our schools. We will spotlight these teachers. The folks at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe will continue to do what they can to bring the story of jazz and its force to the communities.  Jazz will be in good hands in 2017.

 

Our community has passed through some systemic stress and we now sit at a crossroads. We have an opportunity to define our future. Jazz musicians have to have a sense of vision mixed with a solid foundation that comes from knowing your roots. I will ask Detroit artists what their vision is for Detroit and its music.

 

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AFTER 2016 ?

 

In the last few years year street lights have come back on. Building cranes can be seen where only hope lived before. Ideas have started to be listened to. We have allowed ourselves to enjoy the good things that have always been here along with the shiny new things that have been added.

 

Ron Carter in his role as artist in residence played four gigs at the Detroit Jazz Festival last Labor day weekend. The crowds who are known for being the world’s most knowledgeable group of fans in jazz knew what they were hearing and were remarkably civil, as many had to  listen at a distance. There was no complaining, There was only appreciation. That was the kind of year it was.

 

We could finally afford to appreciate what we have.

 

WINNERS AND LOSERS

 

2016 was an election year and we had a lot of talk about winners and losers. 2017 offers  us a chance to recover. Listening to jazz is a good way to turn your head around.  Jazz music teaches us that to succeed everyone has to be  a winner. There will be new challenges to be faced and new energy to be tapped. We will all have new stories to tell about the upbeat happenings all around us.

 

The Dirty Dog we will be celebrating the resurgence of live music with innovative programs and adventurous menus. The Dog will continue to be the place to unwind, to celebrate and to be reinvigorated.

 

STAY TUNED,

 

John Osler

 

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The Dirty Dog gets the year off to a fast start this week with Randy Napoleon at the wheel. Randy has guaranteed us that he will bring some mellow sounds and his magical smile to all those coming in out of the cold.

 

 

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December 29, 2016

The 2016 “Best of the Best” List:

A Definitive Guide to Some of the Best New Releases in Jazz for 2016

 

 

Alphabetical order: Artist(s) / Title / Label

 

Aldana

 

Melissa Aldana / Back Home / Wommusic

 

Nik Bartsch’s Mobile / Continuum /ECM

 

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John Beasley / Presents Monk’estra ” Mack Avenue

 

Michel Camilo and Tomatito / Spain Forever / Verve

 

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Nels Cline / Lovers / Blue Note

 

Andrew Cyrille Quartet / The Declaration of Musical Independence / ECM

 

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Thornetta Davis / Honest Woman / Self-Release

 

Orrin Evans / #Knowingishalfthebattle / Smoke Sessions

 

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Chico Freeman 4-Tet / Spoken Into Existence / Jive

 

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Kenny Garrett / Do Your Dance / Mack Avenue

 

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Macy Gray / Stripped / Chesky

 

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Charlie Haden – Liberation Music Orchestra / Time Life (Song for Whales and Other Beings / Impulse

 

Tigran Hamasyan / Atmospheres / ECM

 

Merentete

Mette Henriette / Self-Titled / ECM

 

LeoSmth

 

Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer/ A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke/ ECM

 

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Charles Lloyd and the Marvels / I Long to See You /Blue Note

 

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Manu Katche / Unstatic / Ante Prima

 

JLage

 

Julian Lage / Arclight / Mack Avenue

 

Bill Laurance / Aftersun / Universal

 

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Pat Metheny / The Unity Sessions / Nonesuch

 

Harold Lopez-Nussa / El Viaje / Mack Avenue

 

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Greg Porter / Take Me to the Alley / Blue Note

 

LoganRichardson

 

Logan Richardson / Shift / Blue Note

 

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Planet D Nonet / A Salute to Strayhorn / Detroit Music Factory

 

Herlin Riley / New Direction /Mack Avenue

 

Ricky Rodriguez Group/ Looking Beyond / Destiny

 

ARodriquez

 

Alfredo Rodriguez / Tocororo / Mack Avenue

 

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Dr. Lonnie Smith / Evolution / Blue Note

 

Snarky Puppy / Family Dinner, Volume Two / Universal

 

Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life / Nihil Novi / Blue Note

 

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Throttle Elevator Music featuring Kamasi Washington / IV / Wide Hive Records

 

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Allen Toussaint / American Tunes / Nonesuch

 

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Anthony Wilson / Frogtown / Goat Hill

 

WWolf

 

Warren Wolf / Convergence / Mack Avenue

 

 

 

 

The Jazz playlist reflects Judy Adams’ personal recommendations and does not represent those of the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe or Mack Avenue Records.

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

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December 26, 2016

New Year Friendship

 

 

 In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in need.

 

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2016 was a pretty good year.

 

It was a year of change. For many, things were getting better.  For others there was the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, a place that doesn’t chance, a place you can count on , a place where you can get lost in the music, a place  where  there is always  a parade of great musicians and satisfied customers, a place where smiles and laughter were up this past year with pure joy trending in the right direction.

 

Detroit continued to find new energy, and the music in the city picked up on it. In our expanding  environment we felt confident to take more risk and also to pause and enjoy life. There were transitions as we lost some notables and welcomed in some new voices.

 

 

 All in all, it was a pretty good year

 

Here are some things that helped to make 2016 memorable for me:

 

 

 Carl’s smile:

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Andre’s food:

 

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The Dirty Dog’s remarkably good natured staff

 

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Detroit’s heart cried out in pain for some losses and then it sang out in joy for all their lives.

 

Music lost  too many artists and  innovators in 2016  including Prince and Leonard Cohen. The Dirty Dog lost two of its favorites, Mose Allison and Lynn Laplante. We know that their music lives on , but all the same… it isn’t easy

 

 

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The stream of young players who have benefited from a chance to try out their chops at the Dirty Dog.

 

 

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All the times I have watched Detroit jazz fans listen with so much appreciation, knowledge and respect.

 

 

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Each time I listened while an artist give back to a rapt audience.

 

 

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Willie saying: DIRRRRTY DAWG!!!

 

Willie gently coaxes everyone at the Dog to do their best.

 

 

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THE YEAR ENDED ON AN UPBEAT NOTE WITH

 

a deserved tribute to Gretchen Valade by her friends and fellow musicians. The first lady of Detroit jazz was given a standing ovation last Sunday at the new GETCHEN VALADE JAZZ CENTER at the Hillberry Theatre. It was her gift to Detroit.  Jazz now has a home in our city. She remains Detroit jazz’s principle advocate.

 

 

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AND AGAIN, ALL THE SMILES

 

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All IN ALL THIS WAS A PRETTY GOOD YEAR

 

The Dirty Dog is looking forward to being part of your New Year in 2017 and wishing that you may  have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.

 

 

And from me,  John Osler,  Happy New Year

 

ALL WEEK RJ SPANGLER WILL BRING THE REMARKABLE PLANET D NONET TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ,  A PRETTY GREAT FINISH TO A PRETTY GOOD YEAR.

 

 

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December 19, 2016

FINDING WARMTH AND GOOD CHEER

 

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The Dirty Dog Jazz Café wishes all those who have come through our doors and all those who are planning to show up and all those who have the spirit of the holidays in their heart a very merry holiday.

May your heart be filled with warmth, goodwill, joy, and may you find lots of reasons to smile.

 

A COZY PLACE

 

It is our good fortune to live in Detroit where one can experience one of life’s great  pleasures  –  coming in out of the cold. On one of our cold and blustery days we are fortunate to have a warm and cozy place with good food, good drink, good music and good friends to go to.

 

 

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This week the Dirty Dog will be prepared to help you celebrate this glorious season. Forget about all the anxieties that tend to well up at the holidays. We will make sure that once you pass through into this cozy and comfortable place you will find a genial staff, a kindly bartender, tasty food, good fellowship and Gene Dunlap’s band, who will chase the loop of bad seasonal jingles out of your head.

 

 

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SEASONS GREETINGS FROM THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ

 

Please join us at The Dirty Dog Jazz Café for our annual before Christmas smile exchange.

 

 

We hope that you will join us for an evening of good will and good fellowship at the Dirty Dog, and that you find peace and comfort in your home all through the holidays.

 

 

John Osler

 

    

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GENE DUNLAP WILL BE OUR DRUMMER BOY

 

Gene Dunlap and his band will bring good cheer to the Dirty Dog this Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

 

 

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December 15, 2016

 

The Blues is at the root of most musical styles created during the 20th century. Its influence is so pervasive that elements of it can be heard in virtually all styles including Country, Bluegrass, Classical and Electronic/Techno. It is also a foundational ingredient in R&B, Rock, and Jazz. Jazz though, is the genre where it most entrenched, to the point where elements of the blues can be heard in most Jazz pieces both old and new. It’s one of the key elements that our ears have come to identify with Jazz.

 

 

 

The idiom grew out of African American communities in the 19th century and earlier, from spirituals, work songs, and other indigenous forms. The Blues scale contains distinctive “intervals” that are a direct link to ancient pentatonic modes, (5-note scales) that originated in West and North Africa and the Middle East centuries ago. The technical name for the most common Blues scale is a “minor pentatonic with a flatted 5th”.

 

 

 

Jazz pioneers such as Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver used the Blues as the basis for their compositions. Jazz soon evolved, expanding into a “longer form” allowing for more improvisation and solos. Melodies were now ornamented and complex chord progressions were being introduced while preserving the blues foundation.

 

 

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King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band .   Joseph Nathan Oliver (12/19/1881- 4/10/1938) better known as King Oliver was an early Jazz cornet player and bandleader.

 

 

 

Jazz pioneers such as Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver used the Blues as the basis for their compositions. Jazz soon evolved, expanding into a “longer form” allowing for more improvisation and solos. Melodies were now ornamented and complex chord progressions were being introduced while preserving the blues foundation.

 

 

theloniousMonk

 

Pianist and composer, Thelonious Monk, drew on the Blues idiom for the majority of his compositions

 

 

Blues is still a major component of Jazz to this day and some of the most popular Jazz standards are clearly built around the blues. These include everything from Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher”, and Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” to Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t”, John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and Miles Davis’s “So What”. Other excellent examples are Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man”, Sun Ra’s “Space is the Place” and many others.

 

 

Detroit’s Blues scene goes way back and has produced many well-respected and innovative performers over the past 100 years. These include such notables as John Lee Hooker, Sippie Wallace, Little Sonny, Andre Williams, Joe Weaver, Bobo Jenkins,  Alberta Adams, Thornetta Davis and countless others.

 

 

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Blues icon John Lee Hooker ( 8/22/1912–6/21/2001) was born in Mississippi but
spent many musical years in Detroit, after moving here in the 1940s to work at the Ford Motor Company.

 

 

The Dirty Dog Jazz Café has always been committed to preserving the Blues and has a long tradition of presenting Blues artists and those whose Jazz clearly reflects the Blues idiom. These include “club regulars” such as Chris Codish, Charles Boles, Dave McMurray, the late Johnnie Bassett and Detroit’s Queen of the Blues, Thornetta Davis, who is performing with her band this week (thru-Saturday 12/17/16) at the Dirty Dog.

 

 

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Thornetta will be performing music from her first new album in 20 years, “Honest Woman” which she produced, and recently debuted. It’s been the “talk of the town” these days, and if you missed her release concert at the Music Hall a couple of weeks ago you surely won’t want to miss hearing her up close at the intimate setting at the Dirty Dog. Her band consists of some great players with Phil Hale on keyboards, Brett Lucas on guitar and Dave Marcaccio on drums.

 

For more information on Ms. Davis’s impressive professional history, go to her website: http://thornettadavis.com.

 

 

 

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December 12, 2016

A GIFT

 

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We all have memories of childhood gifts. Some gifts we played with to their extinction, some we hugged, a few we carefully preserved, and others we cherished until the next great gift came along. Later in life our focus became more on giving gifts. This is the greatest gift.

 

It is a shame when we lose the joy of receiving gifts. Maybe we just don’t recognize them. One thing we can do is to pause our lives for a moment and accept the gift of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. Some of us do. Many times I have watched customers come up to Gretchen Valade and thank her for the gift of having given them such a great experience. The musicians playing the Dog certainly recognize and acknowledge the treasure we have in Gretchen and her passion for Detroit and its music.

 

The next time you come to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café you can wallow in the gift Gretchen Valade has given us. She has created a warm place to hear great jazz and be served with grace. She has honored the artists with four day gigs and the respect they deserve. All that she does is a reflection of her generous heart

 

 

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CARL

 

A VERY PERSONAL GIFT

 

It was 2008 and the world was in the grip of a serious recession. There were foreclosures and bankruptcies including Detroit’s auto industry. We all felt the downward pull. I went to a place that has always been therapeutic. I went to a local jazz club. It was a new, somewhat upscale place, called the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. I sat at the bar and at some point started talking  to Carl, the club’s bartender and therapist. We talked about art and jazz. I asked if it would be OK to photograph the artists for reference for future painting. He pointed to a bar stool and told me to sit there during the first set on a Wednesday night. I did as I was instructed. Before the band started up Carl introduced me to a handsome lady next to me. That was how I met Gretchen Valade the owner and  proprietress of the Dirty Dog, a genuinely classy person, the guardian angel to many and the savior of Detroit’s jazz at its darkest hour. It turns out I can be added to the list of those who have benefited from Gretchen’s big heart.

 

 

gretchen

GRETCHEN

I came right out with my request to take pictures in her club. That was the first time I heard Gretchen use the phrase which I associate with her: “Why not?”

 

I have brought my camera to the club most weeks and have filled the club’s back corridor with the results. I try to stand out of the way like a fly on the wall. This has given me a chance to observe the staff and management prepare to welcome the artists and customers. I have seen efficiency and laughter. I have listened to the artist’s stories told between sets in the green room that have given me an even deeper appreciation for the players. I have witnessed a continuous parade of joy and good cheer. What a gift I have been given.

 

 

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DETROIT JAZZ – THE BOOK

 

A few years ago I self published a book of my photography that would celebrate this gift.

 

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The book, DETROIT JAZZ  Documenting the legacy of Gretchen Valade,  is my tribute to Gretchen and all my friends that I have met since that first conversation with Carl.

 

BY THE WAY

 

YOU CAN GIVE YOURSELF OR A FRIEND A GIFT OF DETROIT JAZZ

 

The book is $29.95 and can be purchased at the Dirty Dog, by going to the website DETROIITJAZZ.NET. or by giving me a call at 313-886-4728. Thank you.

 

John Osler

 

 

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THIS WEEK’S ARTIST:   THE GIFTED THORNETTA DAVIS

 

PERFORMS AT THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ   DECEMBER 14 – 17

 

 

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Each week the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe hosts live performances from the greatest jazz musicians across the country.
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