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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
January 16, 2020

 

 

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Ralph Armstrong performing at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe/ photo by John Osler

 

 

Award winning Jazz Bassist, Ralph Armstrong is at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe from January 29-Saturday Feb. 1

 

As a well respected Jazz bassist, Ralph Armstrong, loves being from Detroit and enjoys promoting its cultural treasures while performing in various places around the world.  Ralph’s personal history goes back to the turn of the 20th century with his father, (Howard Armstrong) taking a lead role in promoting the blues and other early American folk traditions.

 

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Ralph’s father, Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong

 

 

Ralph’s musical talents have allowed him to play with some of the top names in Jazz and cutting edge contemporary music including Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Larry Coryell and Jean-Luc Ponty to name a few. That’s Ralph , second on the left, with Mahavishnu in the 1970’s.

 

 

RalphArmstrong+JohnMcLaughlin's Mahavishu orchestra

 

And, like so many other successful musicians from Detroit, he went to Cass Technical High School and Interlochen School of Fine Arts in northern Michigan. Something else that sets Ralph apart, was that he was born into a musical family as his father Howard Armstrong was a famous musician and artist known as “Louie Bluie” (1909-2003) who was part of a an award-winning trio known as Martin, /Bogan and Armstrong.

 

It started when he joined a band led by Blind Roland Martin and his brother Carl Martin. He was known as a well-respected musicologist and blues historian, a country blues musician who played many different instruments, including fiddle, mandolin, and guitar.

 

Ralphe Armstrong as a child, with his father Howard

 

Ralph Armstrong as a child, with his father Howard, “Louie Bluie”, in the early 1960s

 

 

They toured the United States playing work songs and spirituals through popular Tin Pan Alley tunes. As Martin, Bogan and Armstrong, they also performed at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. The music these artists created and played is at the core of blues-based contemporary music which is the root of most of the music created in the past century. That is very significant when you stop and think about it.

 

 

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Louie Bluie Album Cover

 

 

After serving in World War II, Howard Armstrong moved to Detroit and worked in the Auto Industry until 1971. With a revival of old-time African-American music, Martin, Bogan and Armstrong reunited, and the band recorded, performed at clubs and festivals and went on a tour of South America sponsored by the U.S.State Department. They played together until Martin’s death in 1979.

 

 

Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong (March 4, 1909 – July 30, 2003) was a recipient of a prestigious  1990 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

 

 

He continued to perform with a younger generation of musicians and released his first solo album, Louie Bluie, in collaboration with his son Ralphe Armstrong and Ray Kamalay in 1995. The album earned him a W.C. Handy Blues award nomination for Acoustic Album.

 

Armstrong was also an expert painter, and designed the juke joint set for the film The Color Purple.
He died in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 94.

 

 

 

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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