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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 brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
September 28, 2015



Last week the phone was ringing off the hook with disappointed Straight Ahead fans, All of their programs were fully booked by their many fans. Straight Ahead didn’t disappoint those who got a chance to hear them. Sometimes it seems a shame that the Dirty Dog is an intimate venue. But the limited seating is what makes this such a good destination for an intimate evening with jazz. Straight Ahead will return, and while we wait there will be all kinds of jazz to be heard at the Dog.




The band Straight Ahead has been crafting their art for 25 years, and yet when I am with these musicians I  feel their excitement as they approach each tune as if it were the first time they were playing it. Their joy in the process is palpable. I had a chance to spend some time with them for a practice session at Marion Hayden’s house. In Marion’s living room, surrounded by paintings and drawings by Detroit artist M Saffell Gardner, who happens to be Marion’s husband. Room had been made for a drum kit, a keyboard, a stand up bass player, a saxophonist, a singer and a lot of laughter. This was a roomful of friends with the very real task of preparing for eight shows in the coming days. They never lost sight of this goal. However, the learning was a demonstration of mutual respect, accepted whimsy, and a comfort with the creative process. Should a job really be this much fun?


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Bringing fun to the job isn’t limited to musicians. We lost a champion of goodnaturedness last week. Yogi Berra was a serious ball player. He also made us smile. He made us smile because he knew how to smile. He took his performance but not himself seriously.




Here are some of Yogi’s quotes:


“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

“It’s deja vu all over again.”

“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4.”

“You can observe a lot by watching.”

“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

“It gets late early out here.”

“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

“Pair up in threes.”

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”

“I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”

“Take it with a grin of salt.”

“The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”






Which reminds me that Randy Napoleon will be in the house starting Wednesday. We are used to watching Freddy Cole and Randy grin at each other as they create their magic. Freddy knew what he was doing when he selected Michigander Randy to accompany and collaborate with him on his tours.


Randy has creds:

George Benson said:  “I like the guitar player who’s playing with Freddy Cole [Randy Napoleon]. He has an all-fingers approach; he doesn’t use just thumb or pick. He’s spectacular”.

Napoleon has performed on The Tonight Show, Late Night With David Letterman, The View, The Today Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres show as well as TV shows in South America, Europe and Asia. Napoleon has played or arranged on over seventy records.

Comparing him to Wes Montgomery, music critic Michael G. Nastos says, “he displays an even balance of swing, soul, and single-line or chord elements that mark an emerging voice dedicated to tradition and universally accessible jazz values.”


Randy has returned to Michigan to teach in the important jazz program at MSU after an extended stay in New York. Randy has had the opportunity to work steadily and still develop his own musical projects. He continues to be in demand.


And if it isn’t enough to have Randy this week, he has assembled some of our finest musicians. Rodney Whitaker, one of the world’s premier bassist, will be joined by Diego Rivera on saxophone and Sean Dobbins on drums. This is a tribute to Randy Napoleon to have so many fellow band leaders join him and his music. Nick Bracewell will be on the drum set Wednesday and Friday.


These are all guys who can grin when they start to share their ideas. They are likely to make you forget that they are serious musicians.


Come on out to the Dirty Dog this week and see how much fun seriously talented musicians can have.
John Osler






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