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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 brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
Archive for
Jazz Notes With Judy Adams
February 7, 2019


The award-winning Detroit-based label Mack Avenue records has a world-wide reputation for courting major artists and up and coming talent which is evident with these two musicians.


Artist/Group/ Album / Label


Joey DeFrancesco / In the Key of the Universe /Mack Avenue Records

Julian Lage/ Love Hurts / Mack Avenue







Grammy award winning Julian Lage is considered one of the most virtuosic guitarists and composers in contemporary Jazz. He shares his fascination with various current and historical American musical traditions from Jazz and Blues to Folk, and Bluegrass – all played within an approach that includes creative aspects of improvisational/ musical free association. He does this with amazing technique and an original style.



Julian Lage plays a mix of originals plus a diverse mix of music by Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Roy Orbison and others.This third album from Lage on Mack Avenue features his trio with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King known for his work with the Bad Plus.



Release date world-wide is Feb. 22.



Joey DeFrancesco is at the top of the list of favorites for fans of organ Jazz.

This veteran player’s music is categorized as Jazz just as Julien Lage’s is, but their styles couldn’t be more different which shows us how broad the Jazz umbrella is to hold such a diverse musical platform that encompasses so many styles and periods. In this album, Joey shows us his spiritual side.



Joey DeFrancesco’s new album is called “In The Key of the Universe” and reflects the artist’s respect for the contributions of the early leaders of the free Jazz movement of the 1950’s-1970’s led by people such as Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and many others.



Joey and the band even cover the free Jazz anthem, “The Creator Has a Master Plan”, composed by Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas. On top of that he selected saxophonist/vocalist Pharoah Sanders to be in the band along with other other top artists including Billy Hart, drums, Sammy Figueroa on percussion and Troy Roberts on saxophone and bass. It’s an allstar lineup to say the least. The official release date is March 1, 2019.



Organ Jazz fans take note that the Dirty Dog presents organist Gerard Gibbs Feb. 27-March 2. Gibbs plays piano, Hammond B-3 organ and keyboards for saxophonist James Carter and tours with him both nationally and internationally. He also leads his own keyboard Jazz quartet and Hammond organ Jazz trio.



Gibbs did such a great job pleasing the crowd at the Dirty Dog last fall they’ve invited him back again.


For more information contact the Dirty Dog Jazz cafe at 313-882-5299 or go to their website,



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.


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January 24, 2019


Rayse Biggs /photo  by John Osler



Celebrating the Trumpet with Rayse Biggs and Anthony Stanco




The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe brings us two great Detroit based trumpeters in the coming weeks, Anthony Stanco, February 13-16 and Rayse Biggs March 20-23.



As the loudest and highest pitched member of the brass family, the trumpet often takes the lead voice in an ensemble. It dates back to around 2000 B.C. and evidence of early trumpet type instruments has been found on virtually every continent.


The trumpet has played a prominent role in Jazz throughout its history. It’s bright, exuberant sound has made it one of the most well-loved instruments used in Jazz since the beginning of the art form when most instruments were portable as they were an important part of marching bands used in gatherings such as parades and other processions.



From the late 1890’s to the mid-1920’s the trumpet led the band lineup which also included cornet, clarinet, trombone, banjo, bass, and tuba and only occasionally the saxophone which rose to prominence after the advent of the big band and swing era.



Some of the music’s most important artists have been trumpeters including early Jazz pioneers King Oliver, and Louis Armstrong. The multi-faceted trumpeter/composer Miles Davis had a major influence on Jazz for five decades which included the founding of Be Bop in the 1940’s along with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie who also helped create Latin Jazz. For more than 30 years, award winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has been one of today’s top Jazz performers and has devoted his career to promoting the music to both Classical and Jazz audiences worldwide.



A short list of other significant Jazz trumpeters who made their mark over the years includes Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Bix Biederbecke, Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, Quincy Jones, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Hugh Masekela, Lester Bowie, Roy Eldridge, the recently deceased Roy Hargrove, as well as Detroiters Donald Byrd, Lonnie Hillyer, Marcus Belgrave and Howard McGhee and Pontiac’s Thad Jones to name a few.



World renowned Trumpeter and educator Marcus Belgrave came to Rayse Biggs’ junior high school in 1969 and later became a mentor to Mr. Biggs. Soon after he utilized his many talents and went on many impressive tours with a number of Motown groups such as Smokey Robinson, the Marvelettes and the Temptations.



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, Recloose and many others.



Anthony Stanco, Photo by Aguanko



Anthony Stanco has done his share of traveling with Jazz. I first met him and heard him play about 10 years ago when he was performing in the Jazz Discovery series I produced at the Music Hall. The series showcased young, newly emerging Jazz talent from around the region. He showed his many musical talents early on; having started playing in fifth grade.



He then joined the Detroit Symphony’s Civic Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Marcus Belgrave and Rodney Whitaker. Soon Stanco started playing professionally while in high school. He was then accepted by the prestigious Manhattan School of Music for his college education and musical advancement.



Currently, Anthony is proud to represent the government’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. “Anthony Stanco and The Crucial Elements” have done two international tours with American Music Abroad. On tour they partake in cultural exchange, masterclasses, and live concerts. Hearing him play is a real treat as he combines his love of and deep feeling for the music with his flawless interpretations of the art form we call Jazz.





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.



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January 17, 2019





Is listening to Jazz a private or shared experience?



Communal music experiences have been around since the beginning of time and continue to exist in improvisational forms today such as Jazz, Folk, Contemporary Classical, Dance and World music, Hip Hop and other contemporary forms. However, except for these genre and live concerts, most of today’s music tends to be “personal” and not a shared experience.







In the past 100 years or so we’ve witnessed a dramatic change in how we hear music. With the advent of radio, television, records, the internet, CDs, MP3s, You Tube, ITunes, etc. we have more choices than ever before. At the same time the listening experience has become more detached and desensitized. It is more private and less of a group experience that usually brought people together.



These new devices bring us sounds – but they are still artificial copies of the real thing.  Live music is a uniquely personal and shared experience that can be meditative, and enriching in ways that can’t be felt with a recording. It allows the listeners to pick up on the natural overtones of the instruments, feel the artist’s emotions and watch how the music is being made in real time.



Listeners in a live audience share a communal experience with each other and with the musicians on stage with the energy flowing both ways as the musicians “play off the audience” sensing their emotional and physical reactions as well. As we have pointed out many times in “Jazz Notes”,  all music was live, in all of human history, until the last one hundred years or so.



Admittedly, new personal digital file formats that are dominating the listening choices, are creating mostly private and not shared experiences.



Is listening to Jazz a private or communal experience? Or is it both?



I think it is both because Jazz is often heard live and is an improvisational music genre both  lending themselves to listeners and the performers engaging in a shared communal experience which has become a rare musical treat in today’s highly technical world. Jazz is also enjoyed on recordings by many of its fans.





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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January 3, 2019




Most Jazz is Serious Developmental Music


Welcome to part nine of our on-going mini series on “Listening to Jazz”. This is one of the important features of our JazzNotes blog which aims to take you further inside the music,  discussing what the music is all about to ultimately enhance our listening experience.



Most Jazz commands our attention and involvement. Most Jazz is “serious music”.



Music theorists usually classify Jazz as a “long form developmental musical artform”. Unlike today’s commercial/pop music offerings that are dominated by “short-form” pop singles and hit songs…Jazz is a considered a “developmental long form” genre for the most part. Much like other long form genre such as Classical, and some folk and world music where the compositions are long enough for the composers and performers to develop ideas more fully,  usually with elements of improvisation.



As a “developmental”musical art form, Jazz allows the musicians enough freedom and time to develop various compositional elements to make the music more artful and the listeners more to listen for/to. The artists have more opportunities to develop the structural composition elements that are contained in  most music. These basic elements are a major part of most compositions regardless of the cultural background or style or historical period. They consist of the melody, harmony and rhythm.



Jazz and other “developmental” genre command our attention because there’s so much to listen for you become part of the musical experience…which is more akin to a great meal instead of a fast food/carry out! Another essential element that makes Jazz “developmental” is the act of “soloing” in real time, “on the spot” while performing live or during a recorded performance. It is very common for all or most of the group’s musicians to play a solo allowing the artist to improvise off of the melodic and chordal structure or “chart” of the piece.



Here is where the artist spontaneously, develops the piece and composes in real time while staying within the basic structure of the original piece. Because of this, no two solos are a like which makes the music all the more experiential to the listener. This is both a developmental and communal aspect of the genre. The improvised solos treat the listener to watching and hearing Jazz being created “in the moment”.





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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December 19, 2018






Just look at that crowd! The Carhartt Amphitheater Stage at the Detroit Jazz Festival presents live Jazz at no charge to nearly a quarter of a million people each year. This makes Jazz accessible to everyone!  Photo: WEMU-FM


Detroit’s Jazz scene is thriving in part, due to more generous support from the arts community. This includes not only more gifts from individuals but also more from non-profit organizations and foundations that are making Jazz a priority. They keep the Jazz community humming with their continued financial and promotional assistance.


The Kresge Foundation, The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation, The Gretchen Valade Endowment for the Arts, The Knight Foundation, The Erb Foundation, The Lyon Foundation, and The Judd Family Endowment for the Arts among others, are major contributors. Organizations that support Jazz education, and performance opportunities include the Creative Many (formerly Art Serve of Michigan), Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Midtown Detroit, Inc.


As many of you already know, Detroit’s top Jazz lover and supporter is Gretchen Valade. This past year she has been working to expand the Jazz program at Wayne State University. The Detroit Free Press wrote: (February 4, 2018) that her gift to the University had grown to $9.5 million in 2018.


“Gretchen Valade’s ambitions for jazz in Detroit only seem to grow and grow.Now the jazz-loving philanthropist — among the most generous individual patrons of Detroit arts — is donating another $2 million to Wayne State University’s jazz program, on top of a $7.5 million commitment she announced in December 2015.”
“The latest gift from the 92-year-old Carhartt heiress will help convert the basement at the Hilberry Theatre into a performance space to be called the Jazz Underground, part of a bigger $65 million project that aims to strengthen the university’s cultural footprint in the blossoming Midtown district.”
“That includes the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center, a name announced in tandem with her 2015 pledge, which will convert the existing Hilberry on Cass Avenue into a music venue with seating capacity of 400, acoustics geared for live jazz, and broadcast capabilities. A new theater will be built nearby to house WSU’s nationally renowned repertory company.”


Local non-profit public radio stations provide valuable media exposure through locally hosted Jazz shows and live local broadcasts.


Radio is still the most effective way to expose people to music. Although, Jazz formats dwindled considerably both nationally and locally in recent years, Jazz still appears on the Detroit radio dial on a number of stations: WRCJ 90.9FM, CBC 89.9FM, WDET 101.9FM, CJAM 99.1FM and WEMU 89.1FM.


“Three new Jazz performance outlets are the Carr Center in downtown’s Harmonie Park. Aligned with the Arts League of Michigan, it provides on-going educational and performance opportunities on a weekly basis.”


Trinosophes near Eastern Market presents local and international artists who perform cutting edge contemporary and world Jazz. WTVS’s highly acclaimed new weekly show “Detroit Performs” takes us “behind” the music besides connects us to local Jazz musicians and events.


Area festivals and series with a strong Jazz component include the Detroit Jazz Festival, the DIA’s “Friday Night Live!” series, the Concert of Colors at Orchestra Hall, the DSO’s Paradise Jazz series, the Jazz series at the Music Hall Center/Jazz Cafe, Ann Arbor’s UMS series, and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.


There’s also no shortage of Jazz clubs in Detroit where one can find live Jazz seven nights a week. The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe is proud to be considered one of the best Jazz clubs in the world with its stellar line up of artists it presents on a weekly basis.


Detroiters are fortunate to have a loyal team of cultural organizations and Jazz advocates who add so much to the success of our world-renowned music reputation and cultural environment in which Jazz plays a vital role.


Of course, the largest and most important group of Detroit Jazz Heroes is the audience itself – one of the most appreciative and supportive Jazz audiences in the world. Thank you Detroit.


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 7, 2018



Donald Byrd / Photo:



This month we honor the musical contributions and Jazz artistry of trumpeter, Donald Byrd, born Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II in Detroit on Dec. 9, 1932 and who died in Delaware on 2/4/13 at the age of 80.



World-renowned trumpeter, Donald Byrd, is one of the most successful musicians to come out of Detroit. Like so many other music greats from the motor city, he was inspired by the legendary music program at Cass Technical High School, using it to further his education even more. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University he moved to New York and received a master’s degree in music education from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.



Donald Byrd became a cross-generational, natural master of various Jazz sub-genre. He became known throughout the many facets of the Jazz world as his prolific career spanned many diverse style periods from Hard Bop to Soul Jazz and Fusion.. His calling card was his warm, pure tone and flawless technique which enabled him to play with some of the most important and influential artists and style makers in Jazz, including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and drummer Art Blakey who were all drawn to his unique musical abilities.
During the 1970s he released many commercially successful albums including “Blackbyrd” in 1973, produced by the brothers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who had been his students at Howard University in Washington.





Donald Byrd’s “Blackbyrd” album on Blue Note Records



The album remains one of the best-selling albums in the history of Blue Note records. Yet, he received a lot of criticism from some members of the Jazz community who felt he had “sold out” because, like other Jazz artists of that period, he was fusing his music with funk grooves, R&B, world and more.


The music also utilized more amplified instruments and special effects, such as wah-wah guitar. They were merely reflecting the current music of that period which is what Jazz has done all along.



I find it sad when an artist’s peers overlook all of the great contributions many of them make while exploring new directions in Jazz. People complain that Jazz is stagnant or isn’t attracting enough young people. But, when younger artists start reflecting newer trends in music, some become offended and think that music is no longer relevant or respectful of its history.





Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock




Here is a great excerpt from the New York Times obituary on Donald Byrd. I found it very moving to read how he was inspired by John Coltrane while still in high school, and how he himself became dedicated to guiding and mentoring new artists to the art form through his work as an educator.



“His musical pursuits were paralleled by a lifelong interest in education. He taught jazz at Howard, North Carolina Central University, Rutgers, Cornell, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, and also studied law. In 1982 he received a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. He spent many years, at various institutions, teaching a curriculum that integrated math and music education.


In 2000 Mr. Byrd was given a Jazz Masters award by the National Endowment for the Arts.


In his 1998 Cornell lecture Mr. Byrd said he had been inspired by musicians who changed music, notably John Coltrane.


“I met him in the 11th grade in Detroit,” he said. “I skipped school one day to see Dizzy Gillespie, and that’s where I met Coltrane. Coltrane and Jimmy Heath just joined the band, and I brought my trumpet, and he was sitting at the piano downstairs waiting to join Dizzy’s band. He had his saxophone across his lap, and he looked at me and he said, ‘You want to play?’

“So he played piano, and I soloed. I never thought that six years later we would be recording together, and that we would be doing all of this stuff. The point is that you never know what happens in life.”


New York Times, February 11, 2013



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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November 21, 2018

The saxophone is one of the most popular instruments in Jazz and one of Detroit’s most celebrated saxophonists, Dave McMurray, performs at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, December 12-15.






Always a favorite at the Dirty Dog, Dave has played with an impressive list of diverse artists during his lengthy career, ranging from The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan to Herbie Hancock, Bootsy Collins, the late Geri Allen and countless others.



He brings this musical diversity to his new album, “Music is Life”, his seventh, which was released on Blue Note records this past May, and featured in “Jazz Notes”. Each song is different with elements  ranging from Jazz, Funk, Rock, Soul and more, clearly reflecting his multi-faceted career.



The new album contains mostly Dave’s original compositions as well as covers of the White Stripes, the Parliament-Funkadelics, French singer Johnny Halladay, who Dave worked and toured with for many years and many others.



The role of the saxophone has changed a bit over the years but it remains a prominent voice that usually leads the band, “front and center”.   In fact, Jazz is where the saxophone rules.



No instrument is more identified with Jazz than the saxophone. The saxophone is to Jazz what the banjo is to Bluegrass.Its use in Jazz is pervasive, compared to its limited use in other genres. Whereas the piano isn’t associated with just one style of music and can be heard in many genres from Classical to R&B.



Aside from Jazz and marching bands where the saxophone remains a primary instrument, we can also hear it used by some 20th century Classical composers George Gershwin, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein and others.



A member of the woodwind family, the saxophone is usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece. It was invented in 1840 by Belgian, Adolphe Sax and was designed for use in military or marching bands. Marching bands had an influence on early Jazz.






Since the 1960’s the saxophone has continued to define Jazz’s signature sound.
This includes the complete choir from sopranissimo to contrabass and subcontrabass. Modern saxophonists who’ve made their mark include Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Oliver Lake, Arthur Blythe, Wayne Shorter and many others. Detroit has certainly had its share of the world’s great saxophonists including Sonny Stitt, Yusef Lateef, Pepper Adams, Charles McPherson, Kenny Garrett, and James Carter to name a few.





World renowned Detroit born saxophonist, James Carter
with a baritone saxophone.

Photo: St.Louis Public Radio






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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November 8, 2018



There are so many great Jazz artists from “Detroit Jazz City”, with November birthdays.   If you thought our October birthdays were good, check out November!


KennCoxAt DJF


Kenny Cox at the Detroit Jazz Festival


Kenn Cox, November 8, 1940- December 19, 2008


Pianist/composer, Kenn Cox was a Detroit native, who, like so many other prominent musicians from Detroit, graduated from Cass Technical High School. Cass was known worldwide for it’s outstanding music department. Kenn then attended the Detroit Conservatory of Music and the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts.



Besides being a talented pianist, Cox was also proficient on bass, bassoon and trumpet. Well versed in the styles of bebop, hard bop and postbop, he started playing professionally in the late 50’s and 1960’s and was the pianist for singer Etta Jones and also played in the George Bohannon Quintet.



By the late 60’s he had formed his own group, “Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet”, which recorded two albums for Blue Note Records, “Introducing Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet” and “Multidirection”. He also recorded with such “giants” as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, Eddie Harris, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, and many others.



Kenn Cox is also featured on the relatively recent album from Blue Note called “Detroit Jazz City”, produced by Detroiter Don Was who combined tracks by Detroit Jazz legends from the Blue Note vaults with new recordings from current Jazz stars from Detroit. See album cover above for personnel.



In the 1980’s Cox created the Guerilla Jam Band, at times featuring Regina Carter, Tani Tabbal, James Carter, Rodney Whitaker, Shahida Nurallah, Donald Walden and many others. By the way, Miss Nurallah is at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in late December. Kenn Cox also helped form Strata Records, the Strata Concert Gallery and other Strata-brand ventures, which have since been given legendary status worldwide.



In the early 1970’s, Cox also produced a weekly radio program, Kaleidophone, on WDET, and was the station’s director of community access programming. I had just started working at WDET 101.9FM during that time and really enjoyed conversing with him about music, life and the world in general.



Saxophonist Billy Mitchell (November 3, 1926 – April 18, 2001)





Billy Mitchell was a tenor saxophonist who was born in Kansas City. He moved to Detroit and like Kenny Cox and so many other Jazz greats, attended Cass Technical High School to receive his early music education.



Billy Mitchell was well known for his work with some of the most well respected big bands in the country, led by such luminaries as Pontiac’s own Thad Jones, as well as Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others. He also played with Count Basie for more than seven years in the 1950’s and 1960’s.



In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he introduced vibest Bobby Hutcherson to the Jazz world and played and recorded with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band in Europe and also served as Stevie Wonder’s musical director for a short time.






Sippie Wallace (born as Beulah Thomas, November 1, 1898 – November 1, 1986) was an early Blues and Jazz singer/songwriter. Known as the “Texas Nightingale” she recorded over 40 songs for the legendary Blues label, Okeh Records, many of which she composed herself.



She sang with many well-known accompanists who are considered some of the most significant early architects of Jazz and Blues, including Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and others.



She helped define the early female blues style along with her contemporaries as she ranked with vocalists Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter and Bessie Smith.



She moved to Detroit in the 1930’s to make a career change as she devoted her time to being a church organist, and choir director at the Leland Baptist Church.



Spending nearly 40 years living in Detroit, she rarely sang secular music during this period until she was coaxed by Blues singer, Victoria Spivey to resume her career as a Blues artist during the Blues resurgence of the late 1960’s.



She recorded her album “Women Be Wise” in 1966 with Roosevelt Sykes and Little Brother Montgomery. This album and title track helped inspire Bonnie Raitt to become a Blues singer/performer in the late 1960’s, recording Wallace’s signature song, “Women Be Wise” and “Don’t Advertise Your Man” on her self-titled debut release. Bonnie Raitt loved Sippie and helped catapult her career even farther, inviting her to record and tour with her for many years. She even brought her back to Detroit to perform in the late 1970’s.



Sippie Wallace was nominated for a Grammy in 1982 and was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.



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.  She was also born in November!

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October 29, 2018




Perhaps you’re already familiar with LA based, visionary pianist and composer, Cameron Graves, and  saw his performance at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival. Or maybe you’re a fan of saxophonist Kamasi Washington and heard Mr. Graves on his award-winning 3-disc debut album “The Epic”. Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard about Cameron Graves, who seems to be getting a lot of attention in many contemporary Jazz circles these days.



He’s one of the leaders of the thriving Los Angeles Jazz scene and is a founding member of the West Coast Get Down Collective, which supports a new “brand” of multi-faceted, progressive Jazz from such artists as saxophonist Kamasi Washington, bassist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and others. In 2017 he signed with Detroit’s own Mack Avenue records, a label with a reputation for supporting new and emerging styles, trends and artists in Jazz.





Graves’  dynamic first album as a leader, Planetary Prince (Mack Avenue), made it to my list of top recordings of 2017, and is full of original music that explores cutting edge arrangements, rhythmic patterns, and melodic structure, creatively utilizing the full capacity of the piano as a harmonic, melodic and percussive instrument. His music is so relevant and current that it is luring a new generation of Jazz fans who are  being drawn to the idiom for the first time.



Here’s what Kamasi Washington wrote about his musical colleague, and friend Cameron Graves:





“Cameron Graves is a musical genius. He has an innovative approach to the piano
that is completely unique. Cameron’s album ‘Planetary Prince’ is an amazing and
almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music, and mathematical death metal. A style so cool that it deserves it’s own genre.

Cameron’s music has been inspiring me since I was thirteen years old and it still
does today! I’m so glad he’s sharing it with the world!” – Kamasi Washington



Kudos to the Dirty Dog for treating us to a 2-night stint with one of today’s most innovative artists in Jazz.


Come hear for yourself as the Dirty Dog Jazz Café presents Graves this Friday and Saturday night, November 2 and 3 for two hot 90-minute sets each night at 7:00pm and 9:30pm.


For reservations and information, call 313-882-5299 or go to




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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October 11, 2018


Pepper Adams at the Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice, France, July 7, 1978



Born in Highland Park, Michigan, October 8, 1930, Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III was a Jazz baritone saxophonist and composer. A very prolific artist, he composed 42 pieces, was the leader on eighteen albums spanning 28 years, and participated in 600 sessions as a sideman.



It’s no wonder that he became a key figure of the fervent 1950’s Detroit Jazz scene before expanding his influence on a international level.



He started playing piano at a very early age and soon went on to play tenor sax and clarinet. It wasn’t until he used his employee discount while working at Detroit’s Grinnell’s music store that he bought his first baritone sax, for which he is best known.



He was soon playing with Detroit’s legendary Lucky Thompson and his band and began meeting other notables from that era, who would become future musical collaborators such as Donald Byrd. During that period he also became Music Director of Detroit’s famed Blue Bird Inn where he played with Thad Jones and other greats.



During lengthy and illustrious career he also played with all of the great musicians of the period including Kenny Burrell, Kenny Clarke, Curtis Fuller, Chet Baker and Quincy Jones. He played with John Coltrane in New York and on the album “Dakar”, and with the renowned trumpeter Lee Morgan on “The Cooker” as well.



In the 1960’s Pepper Adams continued to work with the top musicians of the idiom including Charles Mingus, Marcus Belgrave, Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton. He also worked for Motown records as a sideman during their influential years when they were developing their famous sound.





Kenny Garrett / photo by BBC


Kenny Garrett was born in Detroit on October 9, 1960; he is a 1978 graduate of Mackenzie High School, which is known for having a great music department.  His father was a carpenter who played tenor saxophone as a hobby.



With a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Kenny Garrett is one of the most important alto saxophonists in contemporary Jazz. Having played early on with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) followed by time spent with musicians and influential style makers as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has continued to bring his truly distinctive “voice” to each musical situation. He is also a gifted composer and writes and arranges most of the music on his recordings and live performances.



During his career, Garrett has performed and recorded with many other Jazz greats. This includes a life-changing five year period with Miles Davis in addition to time spent with other legendary artists who help shaped the direction of modern Jazz including , Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones and many others.





Robert Hurst / Photo:


Born in Detroit on October 4, 1964, Bob Hurst has enjoyed a magnificent career for the past 3 decades, and is a highly respected composer, electric and acoustic bassist, educator, and recording artist.



He has been one of the most respected and sought-after bassists by a diverse list of significant musicians from around the world. These include Paul McCartney, Charles Lloyd, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Terrence Blanchard, Sting, Carl Allen, the legendary Pharaoh Sanders, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson, Yo Yo Ma, Ravi Coltrane, and others. He was also a member of The Tonight Show Band.



Robert Hurst currently serves as Associate Professor of Music, with Tenure, and the Director of Small Jazz Ensembles in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan’s School of Music.



Mr. Hurst, who has graced the Dirty Dog stage many times over the years, has performed on over 150 diverse and critically acclaimed recordings. A select group of these productions have garnered him performances yielding seven GRAMMY® Awards.




Yusef Lateef / Photo


Yusef Abdul Lateef, born William Emanuel Huddleston; (October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013) was a Jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer and prominent member of the Muslim community following his conversion to Islam in 1950, becoming one of the first Jazz artists to do so.



Known primarily as saxophonist and flute player, he also played many other instruments including the oboe and bassoon and was also one of the first musicians to play an assortment of instruments from many cultures including the bamboo flute, shanai, and koto. This led to him incorporating styles into his music such as fusing Jazz with Middle Eastern and Asian music. Peter Keepnews of the New York Times wrote that Lateef “played world music before world music had a name.”



In the 1950’s he attended Wayne State University, During that period and was a leading figure of the world famous Detroit Jazz scene. Uncomfortable with the term “Jazz” he coined the word “autophysiopsychic” to describe music that comes from the physical, mental and spiritual self. The National Endowment for the Arts made him an American Jazz Master in 2010.



The multi-talented Yusel Lateef wrote several books including a collection of short stories and a novella. He also wrote his autobiography The Gentle Giant, written in collaboration with award-winning Detroit writer, Herb Boyd.






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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