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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.
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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
October 11, 2018

PepperAdamsFrance78

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.

 

 

kennyGarrett

 

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.

 

 

robertHurst

 

Robert Hurst / Photo: BassPlayer.com

 

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.

 

 

yusefLateer

Yusef Lateef / Photo Discogs.com

 

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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September 24, 2018

connieHan 1

 

 

This 22 year-old Los Angeles based pianist brings her unique brand of Jazz into the Neo-Noir scene on her debut album Crime Zone, coming out on Detroit’s own Mack Avenue Records, Oct. 12th.

 

 

 

 

ConnieHanCrimeZone

 

 

She grew up in a musical family environment with both parents being professional classical musicians who encouraged her to start piano lessons at age five.  She was 14 when she became interested in Jazz while at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where she connected with drummer Bill Wysaske who not only became her mentor but was also her producer on “Crime Zone”.

 

 

This multi-talented composer-pianist is comfortable playing standard acoustic piano as well as the electric Fender Rhodes which is inspired by legendary pianists, such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea from the fusion era of the 1960s and 1970s.

 

 

The new album features Han playing a mix of her own compositions and various choice covers. You’ll be able to witness a new pianist whose part of a group of new generation artists making their mark on the world Jazz scene.

 

 

It’s always exciting to discover new and fresh Jazz talent and you’ll have your chance to do so on Saturday, September 29 when Ms. Han brings her music the the Dirty Dog.

 

She’ll be giving us an advanced taste of the music on her new album roughly two weeks before it’s official release date.  Han is a next generation pianist who draws on many styles and time periods. Her music is both cutting edge and modern as well as Classic and traditional.

 

 

For one night only,  Connie Han, will be making a special appearance at The Dirty Dog on Saturday, September 29th in support of her upcoming, new release, Crime Zone, coming out on Mack Avenue Records, Oct. 12th.

 

 

Ms. Han will be performing two sets at 6pm and 7:30pm on. For more information call the Dirty Dog Jazz Café at 313-882-5299 or go to DirtyDogJazz.com

 

 

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.

 

 

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September 20, 2018

 

Detroit Album Profile:  Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra / Mulgrew-ology / Detroit Music Factory

 

 

ScottGwennllMulgrewOlogy

 

Multi-talented Scott Gwinnell performs at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe October 17-20th!

 

Although he’s known as one of our town’s most talented pianists Mr. Gwinnell is also a composer, arranger, and educator who has been playing locally and internationally for more than 25 years.

 

 

He’s put all of these musical abilities to work on his new tribute album to the late Jazz piano icon, Mulgrew Miller. One of many new releases of Detroit Jazz artists on Detroit Music Factory records – part of the Mack Avenue Records family.

 

 

Miller is considered one of the most dynamic pianists from the 1970’s until his passing in 2013. On the album, Gwinnell focuses on Miller’s extraordinary composing and arranging skills.

 

 

The album also features Mr.Gwinnell showing off his orchestral side as he has arranged all of the tracks on the new release for his own Jazz Orchestra. This star-studded ensemble features some of Detroit’s finest Jazz artists, such as James Hughes, Steve Wood, John Douglas, Anthony Stanco and others.

 

 

It’s obvious that Scott is well connected to Detroit Jazz scene. He’s very active in Detroit’s music community, which includes being Director of Vocal Jazz Education at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Ensemble Director at the MSU Community School- Detroit, and a Lecturer at Oakland University.

 

 

ScottGrinnellOsler

 

Photo by John Osler

 

 

He studied with the late Detroit pianist, Bess Bonnier, early on and says his major influences include Duke Ellington, Wynton Kelly, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner.

 

 

Over the years, he has played with many acclaimed artists including Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Dave Liebman, Marcus Belgrave, Steve Turre, and many others. He also has recorded four albums of his own.

 

 

He’s a very prolific composer, having written over 300 compositions, not only for piano but also symphony orchestra, and other ensemble configurations. In 2012, Gwinell received two Detroit Music Awards for, “Best Jazz Composer”, and “Best Classical Composer.”

 

ScGwennll DMF

 

He brings these talents together on the new album tribute to Mulgrew Miller featuring the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra. It’s “Mulgrew-ology”. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

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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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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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 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 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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July 31, 2018

BirdMiles1945YouTubeCom

 

Charlie Parker and Miles Davis at the Three Deuces in New York, circa 1945. Both artists were not only the key architects of the highly improvisational Jazz form, BeBop, but also two of the top improvisers in the history of Jazz.  Photo: YouTube.com

 

 

Getting the most out of Jazz, involves listener participation, because the more we hear the more we can appreciate. This is also because Jazz is considered a “higher” musical art form, with its complex melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements, and use of improvisation.

 

 

I like to think of it as “improve-isation”, where artists rework structural elements of a piece such as the melody, chord progressions, etc. The musicians create “on the spot”, in real time, making each performance a unique experience.

 

 

Most of the time there is a theme that one is improvising off of. This is usually the main melody which is what fuels most solos. It is a central idea or phrase that is often repeated throughout the piece. Some artists also improvise off of rhythmic patterns or other compositional elements as well. These are things to listen for initially. Concentrating on these themes is what guides the listener through the improvisation.

 

 

Although improvisation is spontaneous it still involves tools and special techniques musicians utilize to reconstruct the music. Sometimes the theme is played with different modes or scales. Some artists will alter the phrasing by keeping the general frame work the same but changing the beginning and ending of the phrase.

 

 

Jazz improvisational styles also vary from group to group and from musician to musician. Some artists leave elements of the theme intact, allowing it to shine through the improvisation, while others favor a more abstract, formless approach. Each type of Jazz also seems to favor a different approach to improvisation as well. Traditional Jazz favors a more conservative approach while contemporary Jazz  often encourages the musicians to be more adventurous and experimental.

 

 

The attentive listener will be able to hear the alterations in the thematic material enough to appreciate the musician’s individual interpretation of the music. Most of the “pop” music today doesn’t contain these compositional complexities. But it is this intellectual and artistic depth that attracts us to the Jazz experience in the first place. It’s also what gives Jazz its lasting appeal.

 

If you want to hear a great Jazz improviser, check out the music of Charlie Parker, known as one of the top improvisers in the history of Jazz.

 

 

charlieParker

 

Charlie Parker / Photo: The Daily Beast.com

 

Charlie Parker, (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American Jazz saxophonist and compose, known as one of the most proficient improvisors of the idiom. He was a highly influential Jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of Bebop, a form of Jazz characterized by and intense use of improvisation with fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. Excerpted fromWikipedia.

 

 

 

 

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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July 23, 2018

My weekly blog, “Jazz Notes”, has been going strong now for four years! It was back in 2014 that the Dirty Dog Jazz Café approached fellow-blogger, John Osler, and I to write about Jazz for their website.

 

 

jazzCollage

 

 

Our local Jazz club in Grosse Pointe Farms, The Dirty Dog, just celebrated its tenth anniversary and has already achieved world-class status. Musicians who play there have spread the word on how dedicated the Dirty Dog is to presenting top Jazz artists, both local and international. They’re all about the music. The audience knows it and the musicians know it as well.

 

 

It’s such a thrill having the opportunity to write about Jazz each week – sharing my passion for the genre I’ve been studying and enjoying for most of my life. “Jazz Notes” aims to connect you to the style makers and leaders, both past and present, of Detroit’s, world renowned, ever fervent Jazz scene.

 

 

This is what has helped Detroit be known as one of the world’s great Jazz capitols, with musicians who have represented our city while taking the famous “Detroit Sound” on their musical travels and tours. These artists include such notables as brothers, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones and Hank Jones, Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Kenny Garrett,  Aretha Franklin (who began her major recording career as a Jazz artist), Ralph Armstrong, James Carter, Alice Coltrane, Marcus Belgrave, Wendell Harrison and so many others. “Jazz Notes” puts us in touch with Detroit’s rich Jazz history on a regular basis.

 

 

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Saxophonist and composer, Wendell Harrison

 

 

“Jazz Notes” tries to demystify the music and make it accessible to all who are drawn to it.
We write about its compositional styles and structure and about the musicians and what they bring to the stage with their individualistic creative improvisations and performance skills.

 

 

This past year has been so full of special moments, with “Jazz Notes” taking all of us deeper into the magic of Jazz by reflecting and sharing these special moments with you.

 

 

Some of these include “Jazz Notes” blog features on 2018 Detroit Jazz Festival Artist in Resident, Chick Corea, and his stunning performance at the Dirty Dog in April. Other blog highlights this year include album reviews of new releases from David McMurray, Gayelynn McKinney as well as Dirty Dog performances featuring the recent reunion of Straight Head and Esperanza Spalding with Terri Lyne Carrington, who are this year’s Resident Ensemble at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Their sets at the Dirty Dog also featured multi-talented pianist Ian Finkelstein.

 

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Detroit pianist, Ian Finkelstein / photo by John Osler

 

Follow Jazz Notes on Facebook or on the Dirty Dog Jazz Café website, DirtyDogJazz.com where our past blogs have been archived and available. Thanks again for your interest in the music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 17, 2018

 

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John Coltrane, “Both Directions at Once, the Lost Album” / Impulse (2018)

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, Impulse records released a new album by the late John Coltrane entitled “Both Directions at Once – The Lost Album”. It was a lost studio album from 1963 featuring his classic quartet with McCoy Tyner, piano, Jimmy Garrison, bass, Elvin Jones drums and Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophones.

 

 

History was in the making as the album put us in a time warp with one of the most important bands in Jazz during one of their most creative periods.

 

 

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John Coltrane’s classic quartet in the recording studio in 1963. Photo/ NPR.org

 

 

Iconic saxophonist Sonny Rollins said “this is like finding a new room in the great pyramid”. This new release is a true treasure for Jazz fans around the world.

 

 

The story from Impulse goes like this:

“The first week of March in 1964 was busy for John Coltrane. He was in the midst of a two-week run at Birdland and was gearing up to record the famed John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album which he did on March 7. But there was a session the day before that was a stuff of legend, until now.

 

 

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John Coltrane, photo / Billboard.com

 

 

On March 6, Coltrane and the quartet went to the legendary Van Gelder studios and cut a complete album’s worth of material, including several original compositions that were never recorded elsewhere. They spent the day committing different versions of these pieces to tape, playing them different ways and in different configurations.

 

 

At the end of the day, Coltrane left the studios with a reference tape and brought it to the home in Queens he shared with his wife Naima. These tapes remained untouched for the next 54 years until Impulse approached the family, including his son, Ravi Coltrane, about finally releasing the last album. Mr. Coltrane now presides over important reissues of his parent’s recordings.

 

 

The musical implications, the original compositions, the arrangements, the band, the year it was recorded, all amount to a rediscovery and re-contextualization of one of the most important musicians of our time.

 

 

“Both Directions at Once” features original never-before-heard compositions along with alternative versions of Trane’s classics from this period such as “Impressions”, “Nature Boy”, “One Up, One Down” and more”.

 

 

And, as you may know, “Jazz Notes” loves finding a Detroit connection to our many Jazz stories and features we present each week. Our connection here is to inform you that world-class saxophonist in his own right, Ravi Coltrane, is one of the headliners at this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival, August 31-September 3 in downtown Detroit. He will be presenting “Ravi Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness: Melodic Meditations of Alice Coltrane”. Go to DetroitJazzFest.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Visit the Dirty Dog Jazz Channel on YouTube to view our collection of videos. Watch Now
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
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