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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.
May 25, 2017





This extraordinary young pianist and composer has a lot going for him.  And, you’ll get a chance to witness his virtuosity in action on the Dirty Dog stage with his band this Friday and Saturday night, May 26-27.



I first heard him while enjoying his role in the multi-generational collective of musicians on the Supreme Sonacy Vol. 1 album from 2015, performing along side everyone from Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Marc Cary to Chris Potter and others.



His recent major label debut on Mack Avenue Records has definitely put him in a worldwide spotlight. His new album, Reach, was produced by iconic bassist/producer Christian McBride, and veteran Jazz producer, Al Pryor.








In it we find all original compositions by Mr. Sands – each one a different musical story supported by a strong group of skillful artists who instinctively know how to interpret Sand’s music while maintaining their own individuality.



These include: Marcus Strickland, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Gilad Hekselman, guitar, Christian McBride and Yasushi Nakamura on bass, Christian Rivera, percussion and Marcus Baylor on drums.



However, this not his first album. This prolific young artist’s discography contains 25 albums to date – five of which are his own.






The impressive opening track on Reach is a Chick Corea inspired piece entitled “Armando’s Song”. It’s spiced up by Afro-Cuban elements and baroque-style counterpoint which he plays at breakneck speed showing off his amazing technical dexterity. Drummer, Marcus Baylor really shines on this one, as he does throughout the album.



“Freefall” utilizes electronic effects, contemporary chord progressions, and features brilliant solo work from saxophone master, Marcus Strickland.



In “Use Me” we hear a mix of Blues, Funk and a touch of Hip Hop, with Gilad Hekselman “burning up the guitar” throughout.



“Actually, my biggest influence in making this album was Michael Jackson’s Bad record,” he says. “There are so many different kinds of tunes on that, so many changes. So that’s what I was setting out to do.”



Mission accomplished!



Christian Sands will be playing two sets each night this Friday and Saturday, May 26-27.


For reservations and information call the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe at 313-882-5299 or visit





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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May 22, 2017

May 22

Just before I left to go to the south of France last Thursday I had a chance to catch one more group at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe. I was put in the perfect mood to start a new adventure by a group that Anthony Stanko put together. if you don’t know who Anthony is you likely soon will.  That Wednesday evening Anthony and friends gave me a preview of the life I hope to be living in Provence. I will be in surroundings that are quiet / tranquil but can be also intense. Gentle warm breezes  move the tops of the linden trees pointing you to the shadows where the most brilliantly colored flowers are hidden.  Anthony played all of this on Wednesday in one ballad.

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Last week I described what my version of the creative process looks like. It started with the idea of getting away from your comfort zone and entering the first stage of EXPLORING.

IMG_0454My friend JC Mathes

I wasn’t sure I was ready to explore after finding out how comfortable it is sitting in warm weather surrounded by vines, under blue skies, in the company of good friends, good food and good wine.  At moments like this it seemed like the right kind of exploring to me. I still wanted to see the wind in the fields and the trees . . so off we went.



Sometimes obstacles are put in your way. There is a lot of lamb and goat cheese dished out in this lush agricultural area. It seemed every time we got in the car we ran into the source. All traffic stops and gives way as the dogs and their masters use the narrow roads to bring the beasts to higher ground each spring. No one minds as the world slows down at times like this. No one creates a new law to prevent this from ever happening again. Smiling people ran out of their shops to observe this springtime tradition. This is the way that life is here.



Everyone has an artist’s ability to see the beautiful and meaningful things around them. We don’t always see the same things when we look closely. Some things are better off being seen at a distance. It is important to see what is in front of you and not what you hoped to see. An artist gets a chance to create what he wants to say later in the process. The creative process requires a keen sense of observation. At times an artist sees things that are overlooked in a busy life.  That is the reason that being in a place like Provence where it is part of the culture to take the time to look. Artists get in the habit of seeing, listening and discovering. It will all be used.

Portfolio july 25 deacon, dewrag, santa ,cassis Madison 001_edited-1

CASSIS                                                                                                           OIL/CANVAS

A few years ago on a Sunday morning in the village of Cassis, France there was almost no one out and about. The reason probably is that Cassis is a small fishing village on the Mediterranean. It has great seafood with restaurants that encourage boisterous conversations at all hours. Saturday night is a night to sample some of the fresh catch cooked by great chefs. A meal like this leads to having long conversations with plenty to drink, which can lead to rocky Sunday mornings. I was flying out of Marseille that day and got up early. I had time to go down onto the the beach and take one last look at the sea and the magical hazy light. One lone walker came slowly down the beach. I didn’t greet him or disturb him I just observed him. I don’t know whether he was reliving some happy moments or was still  in the fog of a rough Saturday night. All I know for sure is that he was deep in his thoughts.

When I painted that moment I included the color of the region rather than the gray and rather drab colorless morning just before I would have to leave this radiant place.

This act of watching and observing was very much like any jazz musician listening to the life and sounds around him when he composes his music.

John Osler


May 24 – May 25



The Dirty  Dog is proud to bring Jeff Canady back one more time.  This week he will be leading his own band. Jeff has become  a regular sight  at his  drum kit as he has supplied a steady Detroit groove behind many of our favorite artists.

May 26 – May 27

c Sandsjpg c-sands-nyc-00199-web-1200x675-e1495397721366.jpg



Recently added to Mack Avenue Records jazz label, pianist Christian Sands will be bringing us the music from his latest Mack Avenue release ” SEARCH” This young but seasoned musician has a mission to interpret his roots in his uniquely fresh way. He played professionally at age 10 and hasn’t stopped learning. The great pianist Billy Taylor took him under his wing and introduced him to all his influences. We will hear these roots when he plays the Dirty Dog’s intimate room. Christian is constantly reaching for new ways to let us hear his story.

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May 17, 2017




Ralphe Armstrong at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe

Photo: Hour Detroit magazine



World-renowned bassist and Detroit Music Factory recording artist, Ralphe Armstrong, is a regular performer at the Dirty Dog. You’ll not only hear him perform there with his own band, but with other groups including the Detroit Jazz Festival Allstars and many others.



This week Ralph is celebrating this birthday, which is May 17,  and it so happens he’s performing at the Dirty Dog this week from Wednesday 5/17/17 to Saturday, 5/20/17. He will be joined by Alex Colista on saxophone, Gary Schunk on piano and Gayelynn McKinney on drums.



Ralph Armstrong is one of Detroit’s best musical ambassadors and loves promoting this city’s impressive cultural history while performing at home and around the world.



This legendary Detroit born bassist, who like so many others, went to Cass Technical High School and Interlochen School of Fine Arts in northern Michigan. He’s played with the likes of Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, John Mclaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Larry Coryell and Jean-Luc Ponty to name a few.





The Mahavishnu Orchestra circa 1974, Ralphe is second from left.



For a more extensive look at his background as a musician please check out the link below for an exclusive interview from 2010 with Jon Liebman from “For Bass Players Only”:


Interview – Ralphe Armstrong


Most Ralphe Armstrong fans know that he’s played with incredible artists over the years, but not everyone knows that his father, Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong is national treasure and a celebrated musician who, among other things, was part of the popular group “Martin, Bogan and Armstrong”.



Howard Armstrong was playing the mandolin by the age of ten, and by his mid-teens he was a professional musician. In the early 1930s he performed as "Louie Bluie" after meeting guitarist Ted Bogan. Their career as string band musicians was disrupted by World War I1, and it was not until the 1970s that he rejoined his old friends to begin a second career as a musician and entertainer. Here, he performs at the 1997 Chicago Blues Festival. Chicago, Illinois, Photograph by Jack Vartoogian

Howard Armstrong  at the 1997 Chicago Blues Festival. Photograph by Jack Vartoogian



These excerpts from his New York Times obituary tell us more about this extraordinary American artist’s fascinating life:


Howard Armstrong, (1909-2003), the last guardian of a vanishing African-American tradition of string-band music…played 22 instruments although he was best known as a fiddle and mandolin player.


He performed with a virtuoso’s panache, pleasing audiences with fast fingers and a droll stage presence. His repertory included blues, standards, country tunes, rags, work songs, jigs, reels, polkas, spirituals, Hawaiian songs and international songs in the seven languages he spoke. His gifts as a musician and raconteur were captured in a 1985 documentary by Terry Zwigoff called ”Louie Bluie,” a nickname that Mr. Armstrong got from a drunken fan in the 1930’s….


His music went out of style after the war, and from 1944 to 1971 he worked on the Chrysler assembly line in Detroit.


But in the 1970’s that music was rediscovered, his music career revived and he reunited with Martin and Bogan. They played a weekly club date at the Earl of Old Town bar in Chicago, made albums, including ”Barnyard Dance” (Rounder) in 1972 and ”That Old Gang of Mine” (Flying Fish) in 1978, and appeared on Steve Goodman’s 1975 album ”Jessie’s Jig and Other Favorites” (Red Pajamas).


They also began touring, playing at coffeehouses, folk festivals and on a State Department tour of Central and South America.




In 1990 Mr. Armstrong received a National Heritage Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mr. Armstrong released a solo album, ”Louie Bluie” (Blue Suit), in 1995, and it won a W. C. Handy award from the Blues Foundation.


Ralphe Armstrong might be bringing a special acoustic bass, made in 1843, to play this week at the Dirty Dog that he hasn’t played in more than 7 years. He told me that it was recently getting repaired after it was damaged at an airport while he was on tour.  He’ll most likely tell us more about this special instrument that he said sounded very beautiful…almost like a violin.


For performance information and reservations call the Dirty Dog at 313-882-05299 or visit




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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May 15, 2017

For a very long time I have been fascinated by the ability of jazz musicians to create new music on the fly and make it look easy.


We all watch as another guy steps up and adds to the first guy’s thoughts. Soon they are joined by others who move the groove in a new direction.  Each time I hear Happy Birthday played at the Dirty Dog it is in a new form. No one plays it straight. It is approached like we have never heard it before. Bands that play a club like the Dirty Dog know that they will be free to wander from the conventional play list. They will have a chance to try out a new tune. Last year Ian Finklestein wrote a new tune each night and played it in the evening. The band somehow plays each new song as if it were a familiar Cole Porter song.  At times like this the musician’s creative juices are on full display. This is why we chose to listen to live music.


Sometimes it is magical. I think, however, that it is more a result of preparation, and from that preparation comes the confidence to joyfully go down new paths. They have mastered the creative process.


They first found a story they wanted to tell. They understood the depth of the story. They then constructed the story so that it was clear to them and could be shared.  Then they told it in their own unique voices.


All creative artists suffer through a creative process.


I have observed that poets, writers, musicians, actors, painters and all other artists are seldom conscious of their deliberate creative process. I do think there are definite stages most artists follow.  Over the next few weeks I will try to explore them.



STAGES (my version)


I feel the creative process can be broken down into the following four stages. We are constantly exploring, observing, editing our observations and putting our observations into our own words. All of these actions are equally important and affect each other.




This is where the subject is found. We have to make an effort to get out and experience the things around us.




It is important to clearly see those things that we have found and soak them in.




This is the process when we eliminate and include pieces of information.




This is where we put our personal stamp on our creation.





PROVENCE                                               OIL/CANVAS




When I am writing this I will be in the South of France. It is a great place to find inspiration. good food,  good wine and some wind.


The beginning of a creative act comes from the artist’s personal journey. Everything in ones life prepares that person to make something out of it. We  accumulate piles of subject matter as we go along living our lives. Some people can create from looking out the window of their favorite room if they have a passion for that view. I tend to search outside the familiar.




Through the years we have been lucky to spend time in other artists homes where I have found plenty of inspiration.





Jacques Shapiro’s magical home.



Jean Castan’s equally magical home




I am in the first stage of exploring – the getting out of your chair stage. This will be the time that I stumble on the the subject or direction that I will be taking. I left Detroit with the idea that I will be painting large canvases filled with movement and color. The motion of the trees, fields and vines as the strong clear winds of the mistral sweeps through them has always captured my imagination.. The wind turns the leaves over and over as the sunlight comes through them. While we are here the pace of our lives becomes slower and we give more of our time to seeing, smelling and hearing nature all around us. This is a wonderful place to explore and create.


In the coming weeks, I will begin to paint in a friend’s atelier and keep you posted. When I start to paint I often stand back and spend a lot of time looking at an empty canvas. I will often stop and wipe out an ugly start. Sometimes find myself staring out in space. Is this staring at my empty canvas part of my creative process?  I think so. I will find out.




I will miss my time listening to live jazz. Jazz music is in a constant stage of exploration. The music is a result of the artists getting out of their comfort zone and discovering the joy of exploration. To fully understand jazz and exploration you just have to listen.


John Osler




May 17 – May20





A wondrous spirit, Ralphe Armstrong will bring a good argument that Detroit’s  jazz is on  the rise .Ralphe is a true champion of Detroit and of its greatest export, its music.



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May 12, 2017

Alphabetical order: Artist(s) / Title / Label







Cameron Graves / Planetary Prince / Mack Avenue


Pianist and visionary Cameron Graves is getting lots of attention 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.


His dynamic first album as a leader 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 drawn to the idiom for the first time.





Carmen Lundy / Code Noir / Afrasia Records



Acclaimed vocalist/composer Carmen Lundy uses her expressive voice in a collection of engaging songs she  wrote and arranged, which she describes as “a song cycle for turbulent times. These songs encompass the musical and artistic influences from the African diaspora and its influence on Jazz and other genres – the bossa nova, the blues, swing, funk, the exploration into the avant-garde”, says Carmen.



The songs are delivered by an impressive list of artists, including Patrice Rushen, piano, Ben Williams, bass, Jeff Parker, guitar, Kendrick Scott, drums with Ms. Lundy on vocals, keys, guitar, string programming and background vocals.






Nicholas Payton / Afro-Caribbean Mixtape / Paytone Records


Another artist who has been taking Jazz in new directions is veteran, New Orleans born trumpeter, Nicholas Payton. His new album mixes Jazz with powerful statements from powerful people, (i.e. Max Roach, Miles Davis, Art Blakey etc.) about aesthetics and world culture among other things.


These voice loops are tastefully treated with special electronic effects and interspersed with the music – gently carrying us through the evolution of Jazz bringing the continuum of the tradition into the “now”.






Chris Potter / The Dreamer is the Dream / ECM


Chris Potter is considered one of the most talented and powerful saxophonists, composers and bandleaders in Jazz today. Readers of Down Beat voted him second only to Sonny Rollins in their 2008 Readers Poll.



His flawless playing ability enables him to execute musical ideas and improvisations that are true perfection. The music on his new album explores a variety of modes, rhythmic patterns, tempos, textures, and “stories” in an emotional environment that is both peaceful and intense.




Nate Smith / Kinfolk – Postcards from Everywhere / Ropeadope


The New York Times described Nate Smith as a “firecracker of a drummer” which is quite evident on his new release, which includes such notables as Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Kris Bowers, Lionel Loueke, Jaleel Shaw and others.


Smith is another artist who creates a fresh new sound of modern Jazz, fusing Funk, R&B, Hip-Hop and other genres. He treats his band with a collective approach that allows for individual expression. He wrote most of the music on the album, which ranges from hard-driving rhythmically based pieces to lyrical ballads.




*The Jazz playlist reflects Judy Adams’ personal recommendations and does not represent those of the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe or Mack Avenue Records.



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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May 8, 2017


Gretchen Valade

For me, nothing rings truer to explain the magic of art and music than the idea that you have the freedom to explore and go in any direction  Gretchen Valade, when asked why when she sees a need she then tackles the problem, says without hesitating “Why not?”. She takes action, and it usually works. Gretchen’s attitude allows her to get past obstacles because she is a good thinker and probably because she is a musician.


Jazz is simply the question “Why not?” asked over and over. Jazz musicians  have to make decisions without time to really question them. They constantly have to have “Why not?” as the answer. Music can certainly be an exciting job.




TV pioneer Norman Lear finds joy in creative stress


I happened this week to catch 94 year old Norman Lear talk about his rich yet challenging life. Norman Lear took on everything in his path. What we learned was that he found his greatest joys while he maneuvered around the obstacles in his way.



This may explain his ability to keep us coming back to watch Archie, Edith, Gloria and Meathead somehow surviving their extraordinary everyday kerfuffles.


Norman Lear has just published a book titled Even This I Get To Experience.  The title refers to his experience when because of bad investments he almost lost everything, including his house. Fortunately Norman Lear had the same approach to life that I found in Gretchen. He saw his tragic turn of events as an opportunity to grow. His history of trying new things had become a pattern, and his personal misfortune was just one more interesting obstacle, one more thing to experience. Why not keep going on triumphed and on he has gone on to do great things.




Henry Ford




I read  a weekly blog from Dan Mulhern who teaches leadership at the University of California at Berkley. This week he talked about reminding yourself of your goals and checking from time to time to see if you are on a straight path or need a new way to the goal line.


In an earlier blog he seemed to define Gretchen when he stated:  There was a moment in my life when things felt near perfect. My family heard me say how lucky we were all too often. I realize now that I was really trying to convince myself that things were good enough. I was physically healthy,  reasonably secure and surrounded by kind and caring friends and family. I had a job that I had figured out and I could envision  the day that I could retire. I was content. The only problem that I had was that I wasn’t comfortable being content. There was a hole in my soul. I didn’t have a goal.




This week I will exercise my freedom to go in a new direction by taking off for the South of France for a few weeks.





In the spring of 1992 I heard about this clever U of M professor who had worked out a way to  travel to the south of France, sip wine, enjoy the good life and get paid for it. He eventually turned his avocation to find the best local wines into a full fledged wine importing business, J et R Selections.


John Charles Mathes needed a place to write a textbook while on sabbatical. This was his “Why not?” moment. Why not go where a serious Francophile like J.C. would most like to be, a year in Provence?  In that year he learned some lessons that changed his life. He started drinking more wine than beer and he found that knowing the wine growers personally made the wines taste all that much better. J. C. sampled hundreds of small Côte du Rhône wines. These wines are some of the world’s great values. The wines have evolved through trial and error since before the Romans arrived . Several varieties of grapes seemed to thrive through the dry windswept summers in the valleys and hills. The rich juice of these grapes are blended by the growers in the fall in a time proven way. The smile inducing Rhône wines are as much a result of these hardy growers as the traditions and favorable landscape. The winemakers have a personal relationship with the land and ask for the same personal attention when doing business. J.C. learned to be one with his growers. He was always a friend first because that was what counted. In a place where nature can steal away your season of hard work with an ill timed rainstorm at harvest time, friendships and mutual support are essential.


When I was given the business card of this man who traveled to see his friends in the vines every spring I thought I would give him a call. He answered my call on the first ring.


I asked him if I could join him on his next trip. He said “Why not?”, . . and I did. We saw 16 domains , had picnics in the vines with new wines, and met the free spirits that created them.



My wife and I are accompanying  J.C. on a a revisiting tour of these good friends.




Every jazz musician, wine maker, artist and truly alive person has opportunities and obstacles in their life. Seeing a good path and thinking ” WHY NOT?” is the start of an adventure. The creation of something new begins with a decision to go forward, followed by more choices. When a path appears, take it and avoid the rocks in the road.


For the next three weeks while in France I will compose my thoughts on the creative process.


My hat is off to those who have said “WHY NOT?” including Getchen, Norman Lear, Dan, J.C. and all the wine growers musicians and artists who every day make the decision to go ahead and do something really good.


John Osler


May 10 – May 13





What a pleasure it is to watch Detroit’s young jazz artists come into their own. Anthony has become familiar to anyone that frequents our jazz clubs. He seems to be on everyone’s go to list. He will be bringing his ideas and his pure sound for four days this week. Why not?




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May 4, 2017





Detroit’s own Regina Carter celebrates Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial, (April 25, 1917-June 15, 1996) with her new album “Accentuate the Positive” (Okeh/Sony Masterworks) and with her 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival performance, “Simply Ella”,  this coming Labor Day weekend.










Internationally acclaimed Jazz violinist Regina Carter has chosen to pay tribute to the First Lady of Song’s virtuosic artistry with love and appreciation. “Accentuate the Positive, I thought, was the perfect title considering the mood of the country and the world right now,” Ms. Carter says. “We need some positive vibes.”



Carter deliberately avoided covering Ella’s most recognizable songs on the album. Instead she digs deep in to Ella’s immense catalog to present the many facets of her music.







“One of the many things that I adore about Ella is that she just loved music and didn’t box herself in,” Carter explains. “She recorded everything, not just the American Songbook– but also doo-wop, Stevie Wonder and Beatles songs, even some country western music. The fact that she experimented with so many different styles made me feel that, with this record, I would pay respect to her by taking the music and doing something else with it. I feel that she would smile in agreement.”



In the album, which presents the songs in the style of classic 1950s-’60s soul and blues, Carter enlists the talents of an impressive group of musicians and arrangers. She is accompanied by her longtime rhythm section of bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Alvester Garnett, and is joined by pianist Xavier Davis and guitarist Marvin Sewell.
Her band also features, in-demand bassist, Ben Williams, producer, Ray Angry, renowned vocalist, Charenee Wade and pianist Mike Wofford, who was one of Ella Fitzgerald’s own former accompanist and musical director.



Two tracks feature vocals by Regina’s fellow Detroiters, actress and singer, Miche Braden; and longtime friend and vocalist extraordinaire, Carla Cook, who first introduced Carter to Jazz violin while the two were classmates at Cass Technical School.



Regina Carter’s tribute to Ella at this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival will include many of these newly arranged songs from Ella’s songbook. It’s definitely a performance you won’t want to miss.







Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.



Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could imitate every instrument in an orchestra, as she was often recognized as the most talented “scat singer” Jazz has ever known. All the Jazz greats had the pleasure of working with her, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and many others. She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They came from all walks of life to hear and be inspired by the greatest of them all.



ELLA-in Mercedes






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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May 2, 2017




Maturation means the ordinary development of growth and aging. It occurs naturally without any conscious effort on the part of the individual.


Our kids are especially vulnerable as they take their long road to emotional and physical maturity. As members of the human race we use up a quarter of our lives figuring things out, longer even than those much larger than we are like the blue whale.


Our instincts are to shield, nurture, educate and protect our children. We are at a crossroads right now. We are being told it is OK to be concerned with our own safety and enrichment, but we don’t have an equal fervor to invest in our nation’s children, especially in the music and the arts.


We are watching as policies are being put in place that too often favor the protection of the caregiver over the child.




The Dirty Dog April 20, 2017




Wayne Shorter had just been in Detroit in his role as the Detroit Jazz Festival’s Resident Artist for 2017. This remarkable jazz saxophonist offered to be part of a master class held at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. When he entered the club he was greeted with awe and respect. Great artists can be a little intimidating. Any intimidation melted away under the weight of Wayne’s manner and words, while the awe and respect carried on throughout the evening. At this moment in his life Wayne Shorter has little to prove. He still can’t enter a room without having something to say that needs to be said. Wayne came into the room where the young musicians were preparing to play and sat down in a chair facing them. Without speaking he waved to them to start playing. While they played he did what jazz artists do best.  He listened. He responded to what he just heard by saying that it is what you personally bring to the gig that is more important than your instrument and all your newest tricks. He told them to live life so that they would have something to say and know when it is appropriate to say it. They learned that their music would be only as good and as big as their lives.















Later that evening Wayne Shorter played what he preached to a rapt crowd that included these same young musicians. I watched their faces as he played.


I think that the students got it.


I think I got it.


I left my safe place the following Monday to see if he was right.




Inspired by what Wayne shorter said I spent last Monday morning finishing up a blog about good things trickling down and good things trickling back up. I wrote about things that had turned out right because of good people doing good things. I did this while sitting in my safe room with my computer. I wrote that things will be OK because of all the caring musicians and artist that I was coming in contact with. It turns out that I was somewhat prophetic. When I wandered out later in the day I found really good moments and kind acts taking place, and most involved young artists.












I have been joining a group of Detroit graphic artists at Noni’s family restaurant down the street from Baker’s Keyboard Lounge on Livernois Ave. It is an impromptu support group. As word has gotten out more and more artists have shown up. Old cats and younger artists sharing their work and helping each other. There are a lot of conversations mixed in with reserved admiration for each artists work, except when a young child’s work is held up for all to see. Children’s art is greeted universally with deserved approval. The children who show up are welcomed and affirmed.


















The fourth Monday of each month the Dirty Dog Jazz Café opens for the Detroit Jazz Festival sponsored OPEN JAM. This Monday the house band was once again filled with some of Detroit’s finest jazz artists and educators. Anyone lucky enough to have hear about this evening was treated to some serious musical strutting as the young musicians  unpacked their best stuff and put forward their challenges to any old thinking. The evening seems to build in intensity as the night goes on. What was on display here was a room full of wisdom.











Wayne Shorter was sure right.


John Osler






 Kimmie Horne is an International Artist with a Detroiter’s skill and heart. Enjoy.







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April 28, 2017

Let’s celebrate Jazz EVERYDAY as we also celebrate April 30th as International Jazz Day.



Here is some official information on the massive global event which includes the all-day, International Jazz Day Global Concert in Havana, Cuba this Sunday, April 30th starting at 21:00 EDT. It’s a live Jazz concert like no other, that you won’t want to miss. Watch live on JAZZDAY.COM





The historic Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso, one of the world’s leading performing arts centers and the oldest theater in Latin America. Originally built in 1838 as the Teatro Tacón, the Gran Teatro has presented top performers from around the world and currently houses the National Ballet of Cuba and the Havana International Ballet Festival. Located in the heart of Old Havana, the building recently reopened after an extensive restoration. It will provide an extraordinary setting for the highly anticipated, culminating performance of International Jazz Day 2017.





Legendary Jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.







The 2017 All-Star Global Concert will feature more than 50 renowned artists representing 14 countries, including…


Ambrose Akinmusire (United States), Carl Allen (United States), Melissa Aldana (Chile), Francisco “Pancho” Amat (Cuba), Marc Antoine (France), John Beasley (United States), Richard Bona (Cameroon), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Bobby Carcassés (Cuba), Regina Carter (United States), Kurt Elling (United States), Roberto Fonseca (Cuba), Kenny Garrett (United States), Herbie Hancock (United States), Antonio Hart (United States), Quincy Jones (United States) Takuya Kuroda (Japan), Ivan Lins (Brazil), Sixto Llorente (Cuba), Marcus Miller (United States), Youn Sun Nah (Republic of Korea), Julio Padrón (Cuba), Gianluca Petrella (Italy), Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Christian Sands (United States), Esperanza Spalding (United States), Chucho Valdés (Cuba), Ben Williams (United States), Tarek Yamani (Lebanon), Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia), and more!  Can you count the many Detroit Jazz artists are on this prestigious list?




Regina Carter



Kenny Garrett




Harold Lopez-Nussa



In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.


International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration.


International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.


Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.


International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April.





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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April 24, 2017





It was a beautiful day to go out into the big part of the lake. I placed my wife and three young children into the small power boat that we would use to go to see Silver Falls. The boat needed some help to get going. Hitting the starter with a hammer did the trick, and off we went into a perfect day. With with the help of a map and still water we traversed the large lake and finally entered Cache Bay in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. The bay narrowed into a river. This was where we thought we would get a good view of the falls. Nothing, the majestic falls were not tumbling down into the river. I turned the boat’s motor off and sure enough we could hear the sound of a waterfall, getting louder and louder as we drifted towards the noise. We were at the top of the falls. I turned the key and nothing happened.


In our arrogance we assumed that all water ran into our lake, not out of it. It does make a difference if you are at the top or at the bottom.


I did have a hammer to hit the starter and as we approached the edge the boat motor kicked on and we turned around safely.


Closer to home I have often watched jazz artists hit the starter with their hammer and get things going again. They call it improvising, I call it scary.





It does matter whether you are at the top or at the bottom.


While nature has strict rules, we get to make up our own rules on the fly. For a while now good meaning folks have played with the idea of a trickle down economy.  It seemed like a good idea. The assumption is that the economy would follow the good rules of nature. That those at the top had a finite capacity that when reached would overflow.


Unfortunately sometimes for those at the bottom stuff hasn’t always trickled down. When that happens, the lake of stuff at the top just gets bigger and bigger.


This causes the rivers to dry up.







The people who set up our parks’ hiking trails think it is important for us to see the waterfalls. It is always uphill and a long climb. We do it because we will get a chance to watch the water tumble down the mountain. Waterfalls and cascades always travel from upstream to downstream. They go from the snow or lake at the top of the hill to the lake or stream at the bottom.



Water has a high level of obedience to the laws of gravity. It finds its way around and through all barriers, sometimes with tragic results like into our basements or over the banks of our rivers.. Generally you can count on water to do the right thing. In nature the rules are always followed. Mother is always right.




The will of musicians can be stronger than gravity.


Jazz music has a power all its own, in a good way. It challenges the ordinary flow of things. It also wants to see what is upstream and downstream.


That is why when I see a sign for a jazz club I go straight in. It will be a place where things may go up, down, sideways but the music always moves straight ahead. Goodness and respect trickle up and trickle down. Large lakes feed small lakes who turn around and give back to the big lakes when they need it. Stature doesn’t seem to matter as much as it does outside the club’s walls.


I have witnessed the results of the generous spirit of the artists over and over. It is fitting that the Dirty dog Jazz Cafe is a place that operates in the same spirit. I have watched as the kindness of the proprietor and the management has trickled down to the staff and respect has trickled back up in return.




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Music makes such good sense sometimes. Two years ago about this time in April Marcus Belgrave played for the last time at the Dirty dog Jazz Café. Shortly after that magical evening we lost Marcus. He was one of Detroit’s greatest ambassadors of jazz who passed on to others much of the good fortunes his life had given him. Many generations have benefited from his wisdom  What a gift.  What a legacy.


Marcus came to the club that night just a couple of hours after he had been discharged from the hospital, He came into the club on the arm of his his long time friend, the great Detroit trumpet player Rayse Biggs. The band paused as he was seated at a table. This could have been an awkward moment .. but it wasn’t. The fact that his life had touched all those on the bandstand was evident in their music and on their faces. The capacity crowd knew what was going on and that it was a special moment. Rayse handed him his horn and he started to play. Grins replaced looks of concern. Joy filled the room along with Marcus’ great tones. They finished with a raucous version of Summertime… and the living is easyA fitting ending to one of our first warm spring days. Smiles and hugs followed.


That night we witnessed the healing power of music. We also saw many random acts of kindness trickling down and then trickle back up, defying gravity.


John Osler







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.



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Each week the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe hosts live performances from the greatest jazz musicians across the country.
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STARTS: Wed, May 31 2017
ENDS: Sat, June 03 2017
Shahida Nurullah
STARTS: Wed, June 07 2017
ENDS: Thu, June 08 2017
Alexander Zonjic
STARTS: Fri, June 09 2017
ENDS: Sat, June 10 2017
Scott Gwinnell
STARTS: Wed, June 14 2017
ENDS: Thu, June 15 2017
Dave Bennett
STARTS: Fri, June 16 2017
ENDS: Sat, June 17 2017
Detroit Jazz Festival Jam Session
STARTS: Mon, June 26 2017
ENDS: Mon, June 26 2017
Michael Zaporski
STARTS: Wed, June 28 2017
ENDS: Sat, July 01 2017
Closed for the 4th of July Week
STARTS: Tue, July 04 2017
ENDS: Sat, July 08 2017