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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.
September 11, 2018

 

The 2018 Detroit Jazz Festival revealed again the resilience of our jazz music and showed us what it takes to keep the music alive and strong.

 

 

 

ADVERSITY AND DIVERSITY

 

Detroit was shining bright even when the sky was dark and threatening. The Detroit Jazz Festival always seems like it needs to be tested to see if it can still handle adversity. Again it proved that Detroit’s most joyous annual event can’t be put down by some dark clouds filled with lightning.

 

 

Detroit continues to show the power of our diverse community. It helps us through the adversity that we manage to face together. This year the weather caused delays and cancellations, and yet the crowd hung around and filled the venues once the all clear was given. Civility reigned and the musicians appreciated and responded to this town’s enthusiasm for jazz.

 

 

We have always known how important jazz is to Detroit and how fragile the health of jazz in Detroit can be. Without vigilant action this free wheeling form of music could easily be lost in the latest musical moment. Once a year we get proof that there are Detroiters who don’t want to see this happen, and there are many of us who benefit from all their work.

 

 

 

Many of those who show up at this purest of all jazz festivals come in from out of town. I was in the Mack Avenue Records talk tent where I had a chat with a visitor from New York City. Yvonne Cummings, like many who travel to the festival, makes a circle around the festival dates on her calendar. I asked her why she keeps making the effort to return to this jazz festival. What she said made me proud of our city. I asked her to stay in touch and  write to me her impressions of the festival.

 

Here is her reply.

 

Good Day John:

 

This was the 4th year in a row that I attended Detroit’s Jazz Festival.  It is by far the greatest festival I’ve ever attended.  What impresses me most is not only the cross section of music artists; both local and world renowned, especially Detroit’s own, but the commitment of this festival to youth through providing high school and college students with a opportunity to present to a wider audience as well as giving them intimate exposure to the professionals and where they can grow as musicians by participating in jam sessions.  As a native New Yorker I am jealous that we do not have anything as big, organized and cohesive as  Detroit’s Jazz Festival.  My other observation has to do with the wide spread support of jazz by local people; I haven’t witnessed such support in NYC at any venue whether free or for charge.  As an African-American I’ve been concerned that knowledge and legacy of  jazz may be lost to NYC youth.  In NYC it is very rare to see more than a hand full of  younger African-Americans at jazz events; usually they feel like AARP gatherings.  It is wonderful to see kids in attendance, without their parents, at times with younger siblings in tow.  This festival gives me confidence in the future of jazz because of it’s commitment: to providing a venue for young musicians to improve, to support local artists and to expose everyone to the music.  Jazz is alive and well in Detroit.

 

Regards,

 

Yvonne Cummings

 

 

There is a lot to think about and to be thankful for in what Yvonne has told us. She has seen the results of having music and the arts in our schools. In the past we have had excellent teachers in neighborhood classrooms who have sent well equipped students into advanced music programs with the skills and passion necessary to succeed.

 

Yvonne’s image of our musical vitality is reassuring but is in danger of fading away.  Funding for the arts is drying up and fewer and fewer young students are familiar with America’s gift to the world, jazz.

 

 

 

Wednesday afternoon I received Yvonne’s email and that very night her thoughts were brought to life by an event that I caught at the Dirty Dog. Sean Dobbins Sextet was scheduled to come on stage. But for the first half hour we had an unannounced treat as a quartet of young jazz artists started the evening. They showed us that the music is still being passed from one generation to the next. This was done at one of the premier jazz clubs. It is however a Detroit jazz club and proves Yvonne’s point. We care about our youth.

 

 

Following an excellent set we heard appreciation showered on the club for the opportunity given to these young players. The quality of the music showed the presence of some good mentoring. All six of Sean’s band turned out to be teachers and professors.

 

 

  

 

Thank you Yvonne for reminding us that we are pretty lucky to have those who continue to support jazz in our community. Thanks to all who keep the music alive.

 

John Osler

 

THIS WEEK AT THE DIRTY DOG

 

September 12 – September 15

 

 

KIMMIE HORNE

 

It is recommended that you make your reservations as soon as possible. Kimmie Horne is fast becoming a Detroit legend.  Other singers are starting to try to sing like Kimmie Horne

 

 

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September 7, 2018

 

JazzCollage

 

 

We have covered many of these aspects in previous Jazz Notes blogs. However, we are gaining new readers all the time as Jazz itself is attracting new fans every day as increasingly more people are seeking out music with substance and depth. This is why it’s helpful for us to revisit a discussion on what sets Jazz apart from other styles. It’s definitely in a world all its own.

 

 

New Jazz fans soon discover that listening to jazz is quite different than other styles of music. There’s so much to listen for and, like other art forms, the more you understand its history, content and structure, the more you can appreciate. On the other hand, no one should feel intimidated by Jazz or any kind of music. All that really matters is if you like or not – if it “inspires” you in some way or you feel emotionally moved by it.

 

 

As we listen to Jazz we can focus on its complex harmonies, intricate rhythms, creative arrangements and other compositional elements. And, its spontaneous nature, and use of improvisation by skilled musicians, is why Jazz is so exciting, especially when performed live. Live Jazz upholds its tradition and encourages its audience to be attentive and concentrate on what they’re hearing to fully appreciate what’s going on in “real time”.

 

R+R=NowCD

 

Robert Glasper’s 2018 Release “R+R=Now”

 

 

Although Jazz can be very “free”, the music for the most part, is built upon the following basic structure. Most pieces start with an introduction, followed by the theme or “head”, then each musician will take turns with their solos, reinterpreting the melody, harmonies and rhythms of the theme.

 

 

Sometimes just the “melodic” instruments, such as the saxophone, trumpet, flute, etc. will solo, etc. Other times they’ll include the rhythm section, comprised of the piano/keyboards, bass and drums. After this developmental section of solos, the theme or “head” returns to close out the piece.

 

 

It is in the solos where we hear the most significant personal artistry in Jazz –  and that is the use of improvisation. No two solos are identical because the musicians are composing on the spot, usually playing off of the basic melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structure of the piece.

 

 

This is why it’s so important to be an attentive listener. If not, you miss the true essence of the music.

 

 

This is also why there is a certain code of listening behavior with live Jazz. Listeners are encouraged to show appreciation and applaud after each solo and sometimes within the piece itself.

 

 

Seasoned Jazz fans keep their conversations to a minimum out of respect for other audience members and for the musicians themselves who are spontaneously playing, composing and communicating with each other – in the moment.

 

 

In future blogs we will explore how Jazz has preserved the live listening experience.

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.

 

 

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September 4, 2018

 

EXPOSING A CITY’S SOUL & SPIRIT

 

Every year I think that the new jazz year starts with the Tuesday following Labor Day. The previous jazz year wraps up as I walk out of Hart Plaza, turn around and regretfully say goodbye to the Detroit Jazz Festival. This year the threats of a serious thunder storm interrupted the festival on several occasions. This year’s festival will still be considered one of the most successful according to the unofficial international smile meter. It was a remarkable display of resilience as the crowds took cover and reappeared when the weather cleared. The Detroit Jazz Festival is special because those who show up know jazz and accept the stuff that comes with it.

 

 

DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL

 

The festival is appropriately held on Labor Day weekend. However, metropolitan Detroit doesn’t take that weekend off. Everyone has a venue to go to and they are all  terrific. There is little reason to go out of town, with the absolute jewel being the Detroit Jazz Festival, where our community puts its soul on display. Every year we show off what we do best, exposing the roots of our music, pain, shame, joy, resilience, cleverness and a lot of kindness. The 2018 festival added some extra zest to its jazz. It seems as though we always get more than the planners planned . There was again something in the air that was inspiring the jazz artists. The crowd got it and showed their appreciation. Then musicians caught the fans’ vibes and used them. Everyone knew that something beautiful was going on.

 

 

This mutual respect is what  makes this festival unique. The crowd sitting on hard concrete seats become one with musicians sitting in their more comfortable chairs. They start to move together, everyone swaying, clapping with subtle foot taps, all of this movement synced to the music. I am often aware of the powerful connection between the artists and a Detroit audience.

 

Hopefully some city planners might have wandered in amidst this four day event held right in the middle of downtown. This is an event which takes the assets that exist in the city and shares these assets among a diverse and deserving following. Downtown Detroit glows with all the mutual respect. The planners will see examples of renewal happening  stage after stage and bands taking a solid foundation and building on it. It’s a pretty good model for our future growth.

 

 

EFFORT

 

The festival doesn’t happen without serious people planning and industrious people making it happen.

 

 

Detroit Jazz Festival Director Chris Collins

 

Thanks to all the great musicians for coming back and reminding us why you do come back. Thanks to all the staff and the volunteers who are often too busy to enjoy their own efforts.

 

          

 

AND THANKS TO ALL THE REGULARS

 

 

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For 39 years I have seldom missed a Detroit Jazz Festival. I am a proud REGULAR. I have many reasons to not want to miss this unique Detroit event. One reason is that it is free. It is also close by. Then there is the music and food, which are terrific. But it is the chance to be around the many others like myself who tend to be proud of their town that brings me back time after time. These are the regulars. They can be counted on to know the music and a lot of the musicians. They know why they are there. These are the the familiar faces  I want to walk up to and say hi. I don’t know their names, but that doesn’t matter. They are friends.

 

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This magical Detroit Festival is a magnet for so many pure jazz fans from Detroit and in growing numbers folks from other places. The world’s largest free jazz festival through the years has attracted many guests to the city who regularly plan their end of summer weekend to be part of our festival. Their presence is a big salute to those who work so hard to keep the festival at such a high level.

 

SUPER REGULARS

 

Tom and Gretchen   

 

 

Two of the regulars are Detroit’s grand champion, Gretchen Valade and Tom Robinson.

 

Her touch is seen in all those things that work so well at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Her vision will always be on display during the four festive days. Every note will reflect her passion, integrity  and vitality.

 

Tom quietly has done all the things that have been  necessary to keep the  Festival on an even keel. Both are essential regulars.

 

NOW WHAT?

 

 

  

 

WELCOME BACK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE´

 

The crew from the Dirty Dog will wrap up their stuff from the Dirty Dog tent Labor day evening and begin getting everything ready at the Dirty Dog. They will be ready to keep the music going and welcome everyone back.

 

               

 

TAD WEED 1957 – 2018

 

” Pianist Tad Weed displays a very rare ability to cross over from dashing bop lines to rich impressions, he has the bases covered, from funky blues to the border of the avant-garde.”  -Leonard Feather

 

 

  

 

Last week we lost a friend and one of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café go-to musicians, pianist Tad Weed. Tad’s trio graced the the club many times. Tad was a deeply knowledgable musician and a skilled pianist. Tad was sought after to be a bandmate and loved as a person. Tad will be missed.

 

 

John Osler

 

 

  

 

 

COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE´ SEPT 5 – SEPT 8

 

 

SEAN DOBBINS

 

Drummer Sean Dobbins will continue the high level of excitement from this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival.

 

 

 

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August 29, 2018

DetroitJazzFest

 

Photo: DetroitEmuPipeline.com

 

 

The 39th annual Detroit Jazz Festival takes place this Labor Day weekend at various stages in downtown Detroit. Performances are scheduled from Friday, 8/31/18 thru Monday 9/3/18 and the line-up of artists is spectacular. To find out more about who’s playing and where, go to DetroitJazzFest.org.

 

 

I’ve heard from so many Jazz fans who want to know who to see since the festival is so massive.
I decided to make a list of some of my top picks just to give folks some direction.

 

 

First of all, ALL of the music is great so you can’t go wrong, but if you are looking for some suggestions, check out my list below: “Jazz Notes” Best of the Fest for 2018!

 

 

JPMorgan Chase Main Stage (Campus Martius)

 

FRIDAY, AUG. 31

 

6:30 p.m. Dr. Valade’s Brass Band led by New Orleans legend, Shannon Powell 7:00

 

Resident Ensemble: Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding – Tribute to Geri Allen “Open On All Sides”

 

 

EspSpaldingTimeCom

 

Esperanza Spalding

 

 

8:20–8:40 p.m. Monsieur Periné 9:00–10:15 p.m. 2018 Artist-in-Residence: Chick Corea Akoustic Band

 

 

ChickCoreaFirst-Works.Org

 

Pianist/Composer Chick Corea performs all four days of the Festival as its “Artist-In-Residence”. Photo by ChickCorea-First-Works.org

 

 

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1

 

Chase Main Stage

8:00–9:15 p.m. Nicholas Payton – Afro-Caribbean Mixtape Project

 

Carhartt Amphitheater Stage

1:15–2:20 p.m. Wayne State University Lab Band I with Omar Sosa

3:15–4:30 p.m. Julian Lage Trio

5:15–6:30 p.m. Straight Ahead 25th Anniversary Reunion featuring: Regina Carter, Marion Hayden, Gayelynn McKinney and Alina Morr

 

7:15–8:30 p.m. Dr. Lonnie Smith Organ Trio

 

9:15–10:30 p.m. 2018 Artist-in-Residence: Chick Corea Elektric Band

 

Wayne State Pyramid Stage

 

5:30–6:45 p.m. Emmet Cohen Trio

 

SUNDAY, SEPT 2

 

Chase Main Stage

 

NOON–1:15 p.m. Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra I

 

2:00–3:15 p.m.

 

Karriem Riggins with the Detroit Jazz Fest Alumni Band and guests

 

4:00–5:15 p.m.

 

Hubtones: Freddie Hubbard 80th Birthday Celebration – Featuring: Nicholas Payton, Randy Brecker, David Weiss, and Dwight Adams 6:00–7:15 p.m. Chris Dave and the Drumhedz

 

 

8:00–9:15 p.m. Resident Ensemble: Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding – Tribute to Geri Allen with Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra and conductor Edmar Colón Giebolini “Dream Time”

 

 

OmarSosaAllAboutJazzCom

 

Cuban pianist Omar Sosa / Photo by All About Jazz.com

 

 

Carhartt Amphitheater Stage

 

3:15–4:30 p.m. Harold López-Nussa Trio with Grégoire Maret and Pedrito Martinez

 

7:15–8:30 p.m. Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano

 

9:15–10:30 p.m. Marcus Miller

 

Wayne State Pyramid Stage

 

5:30–6:45 p.m. Ralphe Armstrong Fusion Reunion

 

7:30–8:45 p.m. Pat Martino Quintet

 

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

 

Chase Main Stage

 

12:45–2:00 p.m. University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble: A Tribute to Geri Allen with special guest Regina Carter

 

3:00–4:15 p.m. The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion

 

5:00–6:15 p.m. Resident Ensemble: Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding – Tribute to Geri Allen “Flying Toward the Sound”

 

 

Carhartt Amphitheater Stage

 

4:30–5:30 p.m. Cécile McLorin Salvant

 

7:00–8:15 p.m. 2018 Artist-in-Residence: Chick Corea with the Detroit Jazz Festival Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Steven Mercurio

 

 

HAPPY LISTENING!

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August 27, 2018

THIS WEEK THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ IS CLOSED AND MOVING TO BE PART OF DETROIT’S GREAT JAZZ FESTIVAL

 

Why would the smart gang at the Dirty Dog think of moving the operation? The answer is: they are going to take the operation to  where the best jazz in town will be playing. The Dog is setting up its operation in downtown Detroit right in the middle of the Detroit Jazz Festival. Maybe, they are just pretty smart.

 

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THE GOOD NEWS IS THE DOG IS ONLY CLOSED FOR ONE WEEK, AUGUST 28 – SEPT 1

 

  

 

THE BEST OF TWO WORLDS

 

 

Gretchen Valade is Detroit jazz’s guardian angel. She is also someone who defends her right to do things well. Her love of music and food meant that it will be possible to enjoy the Dirty Dog fare while listening and watching great acts at the jazz fest.

 

 

THE 39 th  DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL

AUGUST31  – SEPTEMBER 3, 2018

 

Now in its 39th year, the festival will take place from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius . The festival offers educational activities for adults and children, fireworks, late-night jam sessions, rare opportunities to meet the artists and much more. And it’s all FREE.

 

People know that Detroit’s festival is special. From all over the world jazz lovers circle the date of the Detroit Jazz Festival. Those who come find jazz of great intelligence, energy and purity. There is little hype and  a lot of music. Visitors learn that Detroit can throw a festival, and we will again  get the credit for doing something right. This year’s festival will  attract upwards of 750,000 people who will spread the good word about Detroit.

 

How lucky for us that it was someone of Gretchen’s integrity who took charge.  She was determined to keep the event Detroit’s event. Today it remains free for all to enjoy and reflects the best side of Detroit’s character.

 

Gretchen has made me aware that the festival doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, hard work, attention to details and oversight.  It’s not just casual oversight. but oversight that comes with purpose and a respect for the music and the people of Detroit.  Good fortune is with us as it is Gretchen on the watch.

 

She gets things done with grace and authority.  The festival is the result of the right people doing their best to provide Detroit music lovers the best free Jazz festival in the world.  Gretchen continues to think ahead of many of us and doesn’t skip out on the job.

 

For four days at the end of summer the best of Detroit can be experienced in our downtown.  The most knowledgeable group of Jazz fans will be  treated to great Jazz.  Nothing is done all year that doesn’t have these fans in mind.  Crowds will drift from venue to venue while behind the public view crews will be taking care of all the details that that will make the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival a glorious success.  All the hard work and planning will pay off. Meanwhile Chef Andre Nemanis  and the Dirty Dog staff will be serving  some sumptuous savory barbecue to some lucky jazz fans. All thanks to  the planner in chief.

 

 

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A community of like spirits will gather to celebrate the music and good fellowship.

 

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while the scent of Dirty Dog barbecue wafts its way up Woodward Avenue drawing us in for some chow and a beverage.

 

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This could turn out to be a good move. Enjoy!

 

John Osler

COMING TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE´

 

September 5 – September 8

 

 

SEAN DOBBINS

 

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August 21, 2018

AUGUST

 

We just returned from vacation. We drove through lush deep summer Michigan landscapes and eventually landed back home in Detroit. We passed by a lot of green forest and yet to be harvested corn and other crops. Michigan has a dense beauty that is reassuring and seemingly unchanged through all the  years that we have been doing this trip. Detroit is changing, and as we approaching Ann Arbor and then Detroit we were reintroduced to competitive traffic and purposeful activity.

 

We returned to television, phones and the news that Aretha Franklin had died.

 

        

 

 

I also returned to the Dirty dog Jazz Café where I listened to Rayse Biggs, Buddy Budson, Dave McMurray, Sean Dobbins and Ibrahim Jones remind me that all the good stuff is still around and still comes out in the music.

 

 

 

AUGUST IN MICHIGAN

 

August brings us plenty to celebrate in Michigan . Crops that were planted this spring are ripe and ready to eat. We will be able to eat breakfast on the porch and dinner outdoors on pleasantly warm summer evenings, Music concerts and festivals abound.

 

 

August in Michigan requires restraint when entering the grocery store and special caution when you come upon a fresh fruit stand. This is loose clothes season in Michigan. Our great local produce starts showing up, and it all goes well at a picnic. At the Dirty Dog Chef Andre and his crew will use Michigan’s rich fresh bounty that is  available only at this time of year. Standing and clapping will help balance out the mouth watering fare at the Dirty Dog.

 

PURE MICHIGAN

 

blueberry

 

We returned at the end  of our local blueberry season. The slogan Pure Michigan  is pasted on most cartons of these succulent berries. The State of Michigan has for a long time run commercials  that highlight the natural beauty of Michigan.  This glorious state has inspired an appropriate ad theme. I believe that Detroit should think of incorporating one of its greatest assets, the rich music scene, into all of their promotions. We draw millions of visitors to our music festivals because the world wants to know what authentic new music Detroit has come up with.  Detroit shows off its musical riches  with free outdoor music concerts downtown almost every weekend. Labor Day will bring to downtown Detroit  one of the world’s finest music festivals, the Detroit Jazz Festival. We need to think about promoting our city with a product that already exists – our music.

 

 

“PURE DETROIT”

 

Last week we lost Aretha Franklin. Aretha Franklin was pure Detroit. Every time I heard Aretha I wondered why she took so much risk. There was always a feeling I had that maybe she was reaching too high. She took us with her out onto  musical limbs, then she would leap up to higher scarier  limbs and then she would soar into new previously unknown places.  When she took us on her journeys, I found great relief and joy when she landed. She was remarkable. Luckily she shared her gifts with the world.

 

Here are some things the world said.

 

They talked about her roots being in gospel and in Detroit, about how she also drew on jazz, the blues, rock and, later, opera, about how her unique and majestic swoops and squeals combined the improvisation of jazz, the hurt of the blues and the force of rock.

 

Amanda Petrusich, a staff writer atThe New Yorker wrote.

When Aretha sings “Amazing Grace” in a church, it’s suddenly not a song anymore, or not really—the melody, the lyrics, they’re rendered mostly meaningless. A few bits of organ, some piano. Who cares? Congregants yelling “Sing it!” None of it matters. I’m not being melodramatic—we are listening to the wildest embodiment of a divine signal. She receives it and she broadcasts it. “Singing” can’t possibly be the right word for this sort of channelling.

 

To listen to Aretha Franklin now is to hear everything—everything that came before her, each strain of American blues and jazz and gospel and soul, all the musical traditions people leaned on to stay alive, and everything that exists now, all the singers she gave license to, everyone she taught. Her death is in all of us, as her songs are in all of us. She is as immortal as can be.”

 

Mary J. Blige

“Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing.”

Barack Obama added,

“Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”

 

 

The Queen is gone. Long live the Queen!

 

The world praised Aretha, acknowledged her faults and eccentricities and in their praise there was a little envy. Not everybody can have the skill, surety of self and the courage to talk about their pain and joy, Not everybody can be from Detroit.

“Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew
I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you
Life was so unkind
But you’re the key to
My peace of mind.”

It’s good to be back home.

John Osler

 

AUGUST 22 – AUGUST 23

 

 

NICOLE NEW

Detroit keeps on giving. New talent (no pun intended) keeps coming forward. Renewal continues to keep Detroit at the forefront of jazz. This will be jazz singer Nicole New’s first night at the Dirty Dog.

 

AUGUST 24 – AUGUST 25

 

   

 

FREDDY COLE

 

Freddy Cole is not new to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. Freddy reminds us that it is OK to smile with pleasure at a jazz club. His minimalist piano and clear warm vocals are a perfect fit

 

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August 20, 2018

 

RonEnglishDanceCRYDANCE

 

 

Veteran Guitarist, Ron English, has just released an excellent new album on Detroit Music Factory records. He is a well-respected member of Detroit’s music community who has helped shape contemporary Jazz styles since the 1960’s with a diverse repertoire covering Jazz, Blues, Avant-garde, Motown, Soul/Funk Gospel and more.

 

 

Growing up in Lansing, he came from a musical family, as his father was a guitar teacher, starting him on lessons early on. In the 1960s and 1970s he got involved in the Detroit Jazz scene 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.

 

 

His talents also got him involved in commercial gigs backing up session bands that played a variety of genre leading to his years of playing in pit orchestras for the Fisher Theatre and others, backing Broadway musicals and pop acts.

 

 

He’s also been a mainstay with the Charles Boles Quartet who’ve been playing every Tuesday at the Dirty Dog for the past several years. They play a mix of Jazz standards and originals.

 

 

Now, Mr. English is celebrating the release of his new album “Dance/Cry/Dance” on Detroit Music Factory records, a subsidiary of Mack Avenue Records. The range of styles he draws on makes the album a real treat for serious music fans.

 

 

“You have to sort of triangulate,” laughs English. “It’s in between. It’s a Jazz record. It has a relationship to dance rhythms, out in groove territory, and it uses song forms, with what I like to think are fresh and appealing melodies. But the record also emphasizes the emotional development and storytelling and dialogue in the improvised solos, within the strength of the various grooves.”

 

 

The new album celebrates English’s more than half century of composing and guitar work and features 10 tracks that are original compositions. The album also draws on his long-term relationships with the players, all of whom share parallel histories.

 

 

These include veteran Detroit musicians such as Jaribu Shahid on bass, Glenn Tucker, organ and piano, Leonard King on drums, percussionist Miguel Gutierrez, pianist Zen Zadavec, trumpeters John Douglas and Dwight Adams, Mark Kieme, saxophone and flute, saxophonists Jason Didia and Rick Steiger, Renell Gonsalves drums, Paul Onachuk and trombonist Davey Bones Lazar.

 

 

The album’s focus on “the groove” points to Ron English as a “groove master”. He and his band are so comfortable with the music it allows them to stretch out and put 150% into it. The band is loose but tight; relaxed and definitely in the groove. So, put it on and let it roll!

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.

 

 

 

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August 14, 2018

JOHN OSLER IS SITTING ON A ROCK IN CANADA IN A PLACE THAT LOOKS LIKE THIS

AUGUST

We expect so much of August.

All winter long we think of August and thawing out. August is the time we like to  join the family for an adventure, along with every one else. In France the whole country seems to take August off. August is usually a month when things shut down, slow down or just don’t seem important. Congress usually sneaks off on a month long recess, and nobody misses them. These are the lazy days of summer, but it often requires hectic work to maneuver the crowd in the family car and at the overbooked and seasonally overpriced  motel. Oh well, the kids will get a break from the back to school ads in the morning paper.

GETTING AWAY TO A QUIET PLACE

I am a lucky guy. Every week I have the opportunity to leave a challenging world, enter the Dirty Dog Jazz Café and get lost in the music. Everyone needs a place like this and not all are as fortunate as I am. Sometimes I get to take a longer break from the things outside my control.

Every summer I take a break from the sounds of power mowers, TV, my aging, faltering and frustrating computer, traffic and political noise, I spend as much time as I can in an environment where you have to listen carefully to hear the sound of an eagle’s wings as it flies overhead. A place where one can make peace with oneself and recharge ones’ good feelings about our world.

Before I left for vacation a couple of friends at the Dirty Dog asked if I would bring back photos of the remote place that I was escaping to. Here is where we go, and at the bottom of the page are a whole bunch of the threatened vacation photos.

LAKE SAGANAGA, ONTARIO- FACTS

Lake Saganaga lies both in the US and Canada. The American side is completely in the well known Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The north shore is all part of Quetico Provincial Park, another wilderness park where no motors or cabins are allowed. The rest of the lake is in Canada’s Verendrye Provincial Park where there have been no new properties offered since the 1950s. It was an affordable place when six friends had a chance to buy an existing property. It has changed very little in since then.

Lake Saganaga  is one of many lakes that are part of the Precambrian Shield that was formed by violent volcanic uplift and then vigorous erosion. Glacier movement during the ice age scraped off all the top soil revealing  some of the world’s oldest exposed rock  -almost 2.7 billions years old. It also tumbled large pieces of very heavy rock off the islands that they formed. They remain today in the place where this force placed them. Many are just under water where  I can run our boat over them and seriously damage the outboard motor. This lake has a history. Life can be found in the form of fossils of algae that date to 2 billion years old. We still can find cedar trees that are figured to be 700 to 1100 years old surviving in the shallow soil that exists today. There are underground fungus that could be 1500 years old. This is a raw place that takes patience and shrewd planning to survive.


LAKE SAGANAGA, ONTARIO – MY PERSONAL TAKE

Lake Saganaga has been a destination for our family along with a family of close friends  for forty seven years. How the heck we  have pulled this off is still a mystery to me. The first time that I came to this lake it was in October to fish with some friends who grew up near Duluth. They didn’t seem to notice that it was 33 degrees and raining. I spent a whole lot of my time bobbing in the boat trying to straighten out a backlash on my fishing reel and watching the cold rain drip off my nose. Once inside the warm cabin with the smell of fresh fish frying and then seeing the evening display of stars and northern lights I figured I could be happy here. The two  families  have shared our summer vacations in a place that is accessible only by boat and has no electricity, no TV, no phones, no internet., no running water or indoor plumbing. We have traded these luxuries in for a place where one can sit in silence, witness beauty, engage in uninterrupted conversation, dismiss worldly concerns and have a private library up the path in the woods.

It is the area where Hamms Beer commercials were shot years ago  to illustrate “The land of sky blue waters.” I think it is beautiful even though it is just grey rocks  covered with  stunted trees desperately trying to survive in the shallow soil. Years ago all the good soil was delivered to Iowa and the Midwest by a massive ice field. It is not a grandiose nor majestic landscape. It demands reverence because everywhere you look is evidence of nature’s ability to adapt. It is what things can look like in the absence of man.

  

IMPROVISATION

Nature has thrown violent thunderstorms, forest fires and wind shearing fronts at the islands trees. Most bend and those that crack become soil for future trees and a home for an abundance of insects. After all the time that I have spent on this island, I still have daily discoveries of small things that I never noticed before. Nature has had billions of years preparing this place for me. Things in nature make the necessary changes to survive. I can’t help but make the comparison that nature has the freedom to improvise much as the jazz musicians at the Dog have been given this freedom. When we take the time to watch this happen , it can be pretty entertaining.

  

THE ISLAND

“The Island” is how our family refers to our destination.

I take a 16 hours car ride to get to the Island. The island is a great place to be, especially on a long summer day. The island is where I have learned to solve some problems using only with what is available, far from stores and tutorials. It is where I visit my deepest thoughts. It is where  the wind and the weather seem most  important to us as we start each day.  We are acutely dependent on their whims. Everything around us has remained little changed since the ice age, yet we are aware of virtually everything evolving around us  throughout every day. A thousand little moments of wonder fill the days.

It is  hard to capture this place with still photography. It is the same as trying to explain a great jazz set with a photo of a guy playing his horn.

  

In addition to my digital photos, here are a couple of moments that have stuck in my mind.

They made me think of how nature composes a day for us, a day full of varying rhythms and plenty of improvising.

When  I sit and look out at the water while working at a task and take a moment to glance around,  I am reminded that I am just a visitor.

A shadow of a bird passes across the rocks and out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of an eagle. We are constantly treated with new bird calls and behavior.The loons dive from view when they sense there is a camera focused on them, while the Canada jay will eat bread from your hand and pose for its picture, They both have their reasons for their approach towards man.

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Small animals are generally silent except for the squirrels who seem always to be in an irritated state and chirp out their dissatisfaction with having so much to do. Everything but the rocks are on the move, and they haven’t moved since the Ice Age.

When I was sitting and writing this I heard a noise on the cabin porch’s roof. Looking out through the screen by the roof I saw a red squirrel lean over the edge and swipe several times at a hornet’s nest, sending the nest and its citizens flying. The squirrel high-tailed it out of there leaving a swarm of newly homeless mean spirited yellow jackets milling around our porch door.

RHYTHMS

I can hear the steady beat of the lapping water with a back beat of whack,whack,whack from a seriously large pileated woodpecker at work accompanied by the melodic sound of the wind through pine needles. This is interrupted by the sound of the screen door closing followed by shouts and whoops of young grandchildren followed by an adult voice yelling “Don’t slam the door.” obviously forgetting the joy of being young.

Sitting on the cabin’s screen porch I can be completely entertained by the sky over the water. It is raining heavily here while there is sunshine on the lake in the west. The lake is a rich dark gray color with the sun making straight bright horizontal white stripes quickly advancing towards me. Soon the Island will have a rainbow over it as the western sun pours through the rain. I will be under the rainbow but because it is raining I probably wont go out in the boat and look back at the rainbow. It is a shame that we never know when we are under the rainbow. I think most jazz musicians would have the instinct to get in the boat, witness the rainbow and then play it for us.

John Osler

HERE IS A GUY WHO WILL SHAKE YOU OUT OF THE DOLDRUMS OF SUMMER ARE THE GUYS COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG

AUGUST 15 _ 18

RAYSE BIGGS

Rayse Biggs will bring his gravity defying act to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café for four nights of authentic Detroit jazz. Rayse has always attracted talented musicians to play alongside him. Come and hear why.

 

 

SEVERAL YEARS OF VACATION PHOTOS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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August 9, 2018

 

rayseRalphArmstrong

 

Trumeter Rayse Biggs and bassist Ralph Armstrong at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe

 

Photo: JazzInOurTime.com

 

 

Trumpeter Rayse Biggs has been a longstanding favorite with local Detroit and international audiences for many years. He returns to the Dirty Dog stage Wednesday, August 15 through Saturday, August 18 with an all-star band consisting of pianist Buddy Budson, bassist Ibrahim Jones, and drummer Patrick Doran.

 

Rayse has been involved in music for most of his life. He came from a musical family where just about everyone played an instrument.  He says he’s never had stage fright because he was always playing for “family” early on.

 

 

Although the piano was his first instrument, Rayse was always intrigued by the trumpet.  He said his fate was sealed when trumpeter Marcus Belgrave came and played at his Junior High in 1969 and later became his mentor.

 

 

Now, Rayse is a mentor himself as he spends time educating new and emerging students of Jazz. He has shared his youth music programs with the Detroit Symphony, Plymouth Education Center and throughout metro-Detroit.​

 

 

Rayse is known for being an entertaining performer and is quite the showman who infuses a lot of humor and personality into his sets. He’ll also do interesting things with the music itself such as scat, mumble (a vocal technique he learned from the great Jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry), and play trumpet and flugelhorn at the same time.

 

 

rayse2horns

 

Rayse Biggs playing trumpet and flugelhorn at the same time.

Photo: JazzInOurTime.com

 

 

Although he started on piano, Mr. Biggs had always been intrigued by the trumpet. His musical fate was sealed after trumpeter Marcus Belgrade came to his junior high school in 1969 and later became a mentor to Mr. Biggs. Soon after he went on tour with a number of Motown groups such as Smokey Robinson, the Marvelettes and the Temptations.

 

 

Later, his brother Travis, a violinist, took him to the Metropolitan Arts Complex, where a young Rayse would meet Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard, the of whom would “play licks on the phone for me,” Mr. Biggs says. “It was just a blessing” to have that contact.

 

 

After graduating from Detroit’s Chadsey High School in 1972, Mr. Biggs went on the road with a number of Motown acts — Smokey Robinson, the Marvelettes and the Temptations, to his recollection. The next year he entered Oakland University.

 

 

​Since then his talents and musical travels have taken him far and wide to such distant places as Senegal and elsewhere around the globe, performing with the likes of Kem, Was Not Was, The Dramatics, Kidd Rock, Bob Dylan, Matthew Chicoine and Recloose and many others.

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM (NPR), where she was Director of Programming and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trumpeter Rayse Biggs has been a longstanding favorite with local Detroit and international audiences for many years. He returns to the Dirty Dog stage Wednesday, August 15 through Saturday, August 18 with an all-star band consisting of pianist Buddy Budson, bassist Ibrahim Jones, and drummer Patrick Doran.

 

 

Rayse has been involved in music for most of his life. He came from a musical family where just about everyone played an instrument. He says he’s never had stage fright because he was always playing for “family” early on.

 

 

Although the piano was his first instrument, Rayse was always intrigued by the trumpet. He said his fate was sealed when trumpeter Marcus Belgrave came and played at his Junior High in 1969 and later became his mentor.

 

 

Now, Rayse is a mentor himself as he spends time educating new and emerging students of Jazz. He has shared his youth music programs with the Detroit Symphony, Plymouth Education Center and throughout metro-Detroit.

 

 

Rayse is known for being an entertaining performer and is quite the showman who infuses a lot of humor and personality into his sets. He’ll also do interesting things with the music itself such as scat, mumble (a vocal technique he learned from the great Jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry), and play trumpet and flugelhorn at the same time.

 

 

Although he started on piano, Mr. Biggs had always been intrigued by the trumpet. His musical fate was sealed after trumpeter Marcus Belgrade came to his junior high school in 1969 and later became a mentor to Mr. Biggs. Soon after he went on tour with a number of Motown groups such as Smokey Robinson, the Marvelettes and the Temptations.
Later, his brother Travis, a violinist, took him to the Metropolitan Arts Complex, where a young Rayse would meet Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard, the of whom would “play licks on the phone for me,” Mr. Biggs says. “It was just a blessing” to have that contact.
After graduating from Detroit’s Chadsey High School in 1972, Mr. Biggs went on the road with a number of Motown acts — Smokey Robinson, the Marvelettes and the Temptations, to his recollection. The next year he entered Oakland University.

 

 

Since then his talents and musical travels have taken him far and wide to such distant places as Senegal and elsewhere around the globe, performing with the likes of Kem, Was Not Was, The Dramatics, Kidd Rock, Bob Dylan, Matthew Chicoine and Recloose and many others.

 

 

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August 7, 2018

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