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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.
July 17, 2018



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.





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



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.





John Coltrane, photo /



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 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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Grit has recently caused a stir in education and psychology ever since Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania began to point out that grit can be developed and is as important as IQ and talent for predicting educational success. She has shown that those who are given a chance to work through setbacks and persevere will surpass the achievements of those who lack this opportunity..Her latest book is Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Her research has shown that grit is a learnable trait for all children and should  be an essential ingredient in every child’s education.


Grit is egalitarian, The development of grit does not rely on your background, and for many grit appears to be a an  engine of social mobility.


Angela Duckworth’s Ted talks have been viewed over eight million times.




“Grit in psychology is defined as a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment, and serves as a driving force in achievement realization.”




Grit is not getting discouraged when setbacks occur. It is the ability to keep getting up and then getting up again. It is getting on and getting on. It is knowing that hard work is going to be required and continuing on.  It is finishing what you start. Grit can sometimes be coarse but in the end it is very sweet.





There are gritty surfaces where ever you look in the city of Detroit. It is a product of a good supply of slush, ice and snow in the winter and construction in the summer. Beyond the grit that shows is the grit the occupants of the city have to tolerate and deal with.






Detroit and jazz are both often described as hard driving and gritty.  This is a good thing according to most fans of the Motor City. We tend to take pride in the perseverance of those who have hung in there in the bad times and the good times.




The Dirty Dog has been privileged to  present the outstanding jazz bassist Kyle Eastwood and  his band. Kyle has shown the results of having a gritty hard working dad and putting in serious time with his stand up bass. His dad Clint is a pretty good jazz pianist and together they have written scores for his movies. Clint Eastwood has had a pretty good career acting  gritty.






I have always admired people who have grit. They are more courageous, brave, plucky, dogged, resolute, determined, feisty, gutsy and tenacious than I could ever be. They are not  gritty like Clint Eastwood the actor but like Clint and Kyle Eastwood the jazz musicians and like Clint the film director. Playing jazz is not the easiest job. It is not for the timid and it takes hard work and the ability to identify and correct mistakes over and over again. In Detroit I have watched older musicians give younger players a chance to fail and if they did, they were encouraged to try again. Character was built into the young artists one lesson at a time.


For decades Detroiters have been buoyed up by the stream of artists who have kept our spirit and blood moving. Maybe it is because there has been  a constant source of opportunity for our young musicians  in our churches. It is an inspiration that continues all their lives. Our earnest kid artists have early exposure to  stories of enduring  adversity and instruction to keep moving on. It all shows up in the music we hear today. We can listen to the rich story telling and

the loyalty to the beat when we sit down for an evening of jazz.


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Guile vs grit. We can all get wealthy if we have enough guile, but it often takes grit to do the right thing. Deciding to help others often takes sacrifice. Reaching out to those less able takes awareness, and standing up to injustice takes courage. It often takes some grit to be good.


For all of my life I have been puzzled by the brave passivity of those under siege. People who can’t seem to be heard remain quiet and calm. Until they speak. This makes their message so powerful when it comes out . They challenge violence with gentleness and tragedy with forgiveness. Often it is the result of the cumulative experiences and messages that are deeply embedded in the hearts of generations of church goers. We hear it in the music.


In Detroit the strongest musicians seem to have enough true grit to extend a hand to those coming up. And so it goes.


Come on out to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café where grit is not served  just as a side dish.


John Osler




July 18 – July 21






Pianist, singer, composer, musical director and good guy.


Wow! What better way to celebrate July in Michigan than to come out to the Dirty Dog to hear a Detroit original, Alvin Waddles. Alvin will swing into the Dirty Dog Jazz Café this coming week. Alvin in old English means elf friend, making  Alvin’s parents a little prophetic. Alvin does have an elfin twinkle in his eye when he performs. He has enormous talent that he uses with grace. For many of us  he is the friendly face of jazz.


Alvin’s musical career is a Detroit story which includes a generous and gifted teacher that showed up at the right time. For Alvin it was Mrs.Gusseye Dickey who took the gifted 8 year old Alvin under her wing. Alvin says that it was Mrs. Dickey that first instilled in him his life-long love of classical music. Alvin took his early lessons at Cass Technical High School, the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Michigan School of Music and added  his rich Detroit culture to become a multi-talented master musician.


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July 9, 2018


RESILIENCE is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.


Resilient is a word that is often used to describe Detroit. Maybe Detroit is more of a slow moving slogger than a city that can snap back quickly. Recovery in Detroit has usually come from  hard work and perseverance. Toughness we have. Detroit’s resilience can be seen in its music and those who play and support the music. Hard work and perseverance are in the city of Detroit and its music’s DNA. It is who we are.
The history of jazz is a history of true resilience. Jazz music has regularly been given up on, it has been said to be old hat and just as many times has come back and been proclaimed as America’s greatest contribution to the world. Jazz is resilient because it continues to change. Jazz hasn’t so often been resurrected as it has been constantly reinventing itself. Finding something new is the what the music is about. Everyday there are players finding new ways to express their stories. We will always need jazz to illuminate the way out of our darker moments.





Resilience is having the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity, ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.


Rocky Balboa and rubber bands are extreme examples of resilience as the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. Practically, resiliency as practiced by jazz players and city planners happens in many small acts that come from a positive attitude and the ability to accept failure as part of the process. We don’t have to have as many knockdowns in a round as Rocky endures. Hopefully when we get knocked down we learn from our misfortune. In this regard, jazz could teach the city planners something.

Detroit can learn about resilience from another great jazz town, New Orleans


New Orleans has a history of its musicians being called on to lead by example after hard times set in. The cradle of jazz might still slip beneath the sea if the 133 miles of sturdy levees that were recently built don’t live up to the engineer’s promises. Thirteen years after 80% of New Orleans was under water from Katrina’s destructive path the city is still listening to its musicians to learn if they have truly recovered. New people have changed much of the culture as they have filled the void left by those who no longer could afford the rent. The musicians returning to the birthplace of jazz will let us know if New Orleans is returning to its original form.


One of those musicians is Brice Miller who writes from his personal  experience about the effect that the resilience of its musicians has had on New Orleans. Here are some of his thoughts.


“Ten years after Hurricane Katrina slashed and snarled into New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, newcomers take their juice with chia seeds and buy fixer-uppers, and longtime locals fret that the city is no longer theirs, that it’s too expensive and still might lose its soul. A city some feared might be left for dead is undergoing a social, economic and cultural evolution. Yet it is still a place deeply tied to its ancient traditions and rites, stubbornly and proudly unique, unparalleled in its embrace of the weird, the mysterious, the whimsical.


New Orleans is a city where art imitates life and life imitates art. Throughout its existence the indigenous cultural art traditions of New Orleans such as brass bands, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, and Mardi Gras Indians have manifested and exemplified the interconnectedness of art as both art-making and life-meaning. Writers, researchers, celebrities, and vacationers have long relished the unique relationship between music, culture, and the essence of the city. Following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the success and prosperity of the city’s cultural arts have served almost as a barometer with which to determine the momentum of success and recovery for the city.”

Brice Miller writes about the history, tragedy and resilience of New Orleans. He knows the difference between tearing  down and rebuilding and preservation and resilience. The spirit, values, celebrations and historic influences must be retained to truly spring back.


Our young people are more elastic than their elders, but can benefit from understanding resilience.


The Rockefeller Foundation and Jazz at Lincoln Center  Jazz for Young People: The Resilient Cities Tour is expected to reach 9,000 new students by offering a curriculum that ties American history to jazz through live performance.


Here is how they describe the program.


“Jazz for Young People: The Resilient Cities Tour is based on Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Foundation’s innovative outreach program, Jazz for Young People on Tour, which was pioneered in New York City public schools. Since 2013, Jazz for Young People on Tour has presented more than 1,000 performances to a total student audience of more than 160,000 in grades K-12 in New York City, as well as Los Angeles, California; Detroit, Michigan; and Chicago, Illinois.
Jazz for Young People: The Resilient Cities Tour is designed for students with limited access to arts education in grades K-12. The program aims to offer participating students examples of how others have used music to wrestle with the enduring social struggles of urban life in the 21st century – particularly in cities where urban stresses have been especially prevalent, sometimes tearing at the social fabric of communities, yet are now on the road to resilience. The program will do this by illustrating the connection between jazz and democracy as well as the historical power of jazz to unite communities in a non-violent manner at moments of unrest. It will also foster relationships with local jazz musicians through live performances and mentorship. These positive influences will help students to develop necessary social-emotional tools intended to foster their individual resilience.”


Detroit’s resilience is now being tested. New Orleans offers us a cautionary tale. listen to the jazz musicians.


The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe is a good place to start.


John Osler




July 11 – July 14





This week the Dirty Dog Jazz Café is presenting one of Detroit’s best, Dwight Adams. Dwight is a powerful force , both musically and personally. He is a sure musician and always brings out the best in his band mates. Dwight is a sought out accompanist as well as being a band leader that attracts equals as accompanists. This week will be special.







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Discovering New Jazz


After writing about new Jazz releases the past two weeks on our “JazzNotes” blog, it made me think about all of the musicians on the forefront who are keeping the idiom fresh with new sounds and ideas.





Detroit Jazz Drummer Karriem Riggins will be at the 2008 Detroit Jazz Festival


As we’ve mentioned in previous blog articles, Jazz must stay current while preserving its heritage. By staying current, it ensures Jazz’s future by constantly infusing itself with the newest sounds being created by Jazz artists around the world. Since the beginning Jazz has been able to avoid becoming stagnant and has, instead, grown with the times by reflecting current culture.  This is primarily done by the younger up and coming new and emerging artists who are usually close to the newest sounds and popular trends.




Another stellar Detroit drummer, band leader,  and composer, GayeLynn McKinney, will also be at this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival





Cuban pianist, composer and bandleader, Omar Sosa, will be at the 2018 Detroit Jazz Festival


One of the best places to discover new sounds in Jazz is at well programmed Jazz festival such as the Detroit Jazz Festival which takes place Labor Day weekend on various stages in downtown Detroit. Festivals of this kind offer the full-spectrum of Jazz styles.



Our world-renowned festival has been around since 1980 and it continues to be a showcase for veteran players and classic stylists as well as new trends and fresh talent. If you want to discover new Jazz, this is the place. It takes place August 31-September 3 and t’s free so you’re able to take in as much music as you like. You can stroll from stage to stage and get a good taste from a variety of styles whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the music.



For more information on our festival, including the performance schedule, go to





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July 2, 2018




Steve Goodman asks this question in his great song City of New Orleans .



The United States of America is a young country and a work in progress. Jazz and its birthplace have a lot in common. It is always exciting to be part of a something that is trying to figure out what it’s going to be.  We are a nation that started out with a pretty good manual on how to proceed, and we have improvised on our original theme ever since.  Like a good jazz band we continue to honor our past but seek a new and better direction. We are a country with lots of good people who will figure out where we are going. The Dirty Dog Jazz Café will be closed this week to celebrate the goodness of America and the grit of its people.






America’s music in 2018 is continuing to show the world its best face. Country music is sharing the stage with hip hop, jazz is blended with electronic, zydeco accordion is inserted into funky renditions of  standard tunes, etc. etc. Everything is possible and everything is accepted. Layers are being placed on top of layers, creating magnificent wholes. Musicians are respecting other musicians’ stories and finding ways to make someone else’s ideas better. This is a surefire formula for greatness.


MUSIC IN AMERICA continues to follow the examples of our brilliant founders, who asked us to be:











“Jazz is about freedom within discipline, usually a dictatorship like in Russia and Nazi Germany will prevent jazz from being played because it just seemed to represent freedom, democracy and the United States.” Dave Brubeck




” Jazz is a very democratic musical form. It comes out of a communal experience. We take our respective instrument and collectively create a thing of beauty.” Max Roach



“The bottom line of any country is, ‘What did we contribute to the world”?….We contributed Louis Armstrong.” Tony Bennett



Louis Armstrong always claimed he was born on the Fourth of July and celebrated his birthday on the holiday.

Louis said: “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

Here he is with the national anthem.



Wynton Marsalis ” As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz because nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don’t agree with what they’re playing. It teaches you that the world is big enough to accommodate us all.”

Here is Wynton’s brother Saxophonist Branford Marsalis

The Dirty Dog will not be open this week so that they can celebrate the birthday of our country. There will be a break in the music, giving the staff some deserved time off after so many consecutive big acts.

 The Dirty Dog wishes you a glorious holiday. Enjoy and be safe.

John Osler






JULY 11 – JULY 14





The fireworks will return to the Dirty Dog  when  Dwight Adams brings his forceful and imaginative playing and new ideas back to the club. He will likely  keep our spirits flying and wake the staff up from their vacation mode.




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June 29, 2018







Artist/Group / Title / Label



R+R=Now / Collagically Speaking / Blue Note


R+R=NOW is a group of leading artists who continue to redefine the definition of modern Jazz for the 21st century. They include Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin & Justin Tyson.



The “R+R” in the band’s name stands for Reflect+Respond, as their music, like the 1960’s, “reflects and responds” to the current political and cultural environment. With Collagically Speaking, the band presents a deep musical hybrid that they have been championing for a few years now. The title was inspired by Nina Simone who said an artist’s duty is to reflect the times.



As Glasper says, R+R=NOW tells “our story from our point of view… It’s a very honest, fluid sound that rings of hip-hop, EDM, jazz, at times – hell – reggae… a bunch of cats that respect each other so much that we always pass the ball.” The collective approach on the album features special guests such as Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Stalley, Amanda Seales, Amber Navran, Goapele, Jahi Sundance and Yasiin Bey.



The album is a “collage” flowing seamlessly from track to track. Put in the player and let it roll.






Charles Lloyd and the Marvels + Lucinda Williams / Vanished Gardens / Blue Note


Jazz meets rock and country and is held together by the blues.  This album is a provocative blend of the musical worlds of two very different artists who have a lot in common when it comes to their approach and attitude towards the music they create.


Renowned Jazz saxophonist, Charles Lloyd, creates warm and sculptured tones as he plays emotive lines that reflect his 80 years on the planet. This leads the way for the inclusion of the award-winning,  neo-country singer/song writer, Lucinda Williams, who also has a sound all her own. The “Jazz meets C&W” feel is reflected in the instrumentation and all-star band that includes Bill Frisell on guitar and Greg Leisz on pedal steel.



The album is produced by Don Was who had the vision of bringing these genres together which is a rare yet challenging blend made possible by these stellar artists.



Other new albums of note include:




Bill Frisell / Music Is / Okeh
Marcus Miller / Laid Black / Blue Note
Terrance Blanchard and the E Collective / Live / Blue Note
Stanley Clarke / The Message / Mack Avenue
GoGo Penquin/ A Humdrum Star / Blue Note
Kamasi Washington / Heaven and Earth / Young Turks
RoB Dixon Trio with Charlie Hunter and Mike Clark/ Coast to Crossroads / RobDixonMusic




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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June 26, 2018





Once an artist has put his final touches on a piece of art he is faced with a choice, to add it to the pile in the basement or offer it up as an important piece of art. Marketing doesn’t always come naturally for a creative artist. It is easier to give it away and let someone else decide the fate of one’s art.


Certainly there are those who can go deep into the creative process completely immersed in their art and emerge transformed into a marketing giant. For these lucky folks the high from their success carries over to the final step of the creative process, that of sharing their work.


For the rest of us who create art, music, poetry, etc., we find our comfort zone is limited to the first stages of the creative process. For us this is where the excitement lies. The process can be tortuous, but the final result can elevate one to satisfying heights. Stepping back and reveling in this grand  moment of success is often short lived. The reality of what you do with your creation is upon an artist much too fast. Fortunately there is often someone to partner with artists to help get them through this potentially ego busting exposure of their newborn creation.


Marketing, promoting, and encouraging art is an art in itself. I have found that those who  bring good art forward have a passion for art and an understanding of the difficult.process. The challenge for the artist is to find that person or organization.


One day I found that I had run out of room for all the canvases that I had accumulated and realized that I sure could use some refunding of my life. I started to look for a gallery to peddle my art. I had reason to be in Washington DC, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Taos and Carmel and made a point of visiting as many galleries as I could. I found some really well curated  galleries where the staff knew something about art and marketing. Usually my work didn’t fit the current market as they saw it. I took solace in the fact  that this put me in the same league as Van Gogh and many artists and  jazz pioneers whom I most admire. It sure is nice to get a helping hand at this final stage of the creative process.


Here are a few folks who thankfully have helped to share the work of artists.





In 1537 the young Cosimo de’ Medici (1519–1574) was plucked from relative obscurity in the Tuscan countryside to lead Florence. He elevated himself to absolute ruler of Florence. By 1569, when Cosimo convinced Pope Pius V (1504–1572) to bestow on him the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany, he had expanded his totalitarian rule throughout the Tuscan territories, sometimes violently seizing control of neighboring cities.


Cosima had a lot of power to get things done, but fortunately Cosimo also had a  wide-ranging intellect, including a deeply rooted interest in art and literature and a keen fascination with botany, chemistry, and zoology. He became the prototype of the arts patron. His family’s patronage of the arts rather than their overbearing power has left a glorious legacy.





Lorenzo was the grandson of Cosima de’ Medici who became the most powerful and enthusiastic patron of the Renaissance.


He was a magnate, diplomat and politician but is best known as the  patron of scholars, artists and poets.  The world can thank the de’ Medici family for sponsoring artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo
Because of their support Florence became known for its art, just as Detroit continues to be known for its music thanks to the contributions of Gretchen Valade.


Without Lorenzo’s help Michelangelo probably would have ended up selling  miniature frescoes in a square in Florence. The large hunk of marble that is David would be a large piece of marble in the quarry.


Michelangelo’s works from this period continued to influence sculptors and painters throughout the late Renaissance and Baroque eras, all thanks to the passion that the de’Medici family had for art.


Closer to home is a friend that has given so many artists the help that they needed when they needed it. She is also a lot nicer than the folks the Renaissance artists had to deal with.







Much gentler than the sometimes ruthless de’ Medicis, Gretchen has become Detroit’s angel for jazz and has shared Detroit’s jazz artistry with the world.


Out of her passion for jazz she has successfully promoted our local artists and also offered them her friendship. She has always had an unconditional love for the music and a deep empathy for the artist. She has helped Detroit jazz to maintain its role in the growth of jazz. She has been  the ultimate partner for jazz musicians especially when they needed a lift.


Detroit is a city that prides itself on being resilient. We are the comeback city. We get knocked down, and we get back up.  We need some help sometimes. We look for a champion to appear. Sometimes we get lucky and one of our own steps up. They tell us we count and that we are special. They get strong when the weak walk away.


In 2005 a champion appeared. Gretchen Valade said  “PHOOEY” to the people that thought Detroit was dying. She saw the vibrant talent in the Detroit jazz community and she knew that the people of Detroit have their hopes permanently entangled in the city’s music.  She was all over this task. How lucky that it was someone of Gretchen’s integrity who took charge. She was determined to keep the Detroit Jazz Festival distinctively Detroit’s. Today it remains free for all to enjoy and is celebrated around the world as a symbol of the best side of Detroit’s character.



She made me aware that the festival doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, hard work, attention to details and oversight.  Not just casual oversight but oversight that comes with purpose and a respect for the music and the people of Detroit.


She gets things done with grace and authority. The festival is the result of the right people doing their best to provide Detroit music lovers the best free Jazz festival in the world.


When Gretchen saved the Festival it was just one of her first acts of sharing Detroit’s most important music, jazz. She continues to be one of Detroit. jazz artists best friends.






An example of sharing gifts of art with others was on full display last week when for two nights two of jazz ‘s most visible artists played the  Dirty Dog. Bassist Esperanza Spalding and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington were in town in their role in the Detroit jazz Festival’s resident ensemble. This is a program that exists because of Gretchen’s generosity. The program is one of Gretchen Valade’s efforts to get today’s most creative artists to bring their magic both to the festival


and to Detroit’s larger jazz community.




This story of sharing didn’t stop here. Playing along with Esperanza and Teri Lyne at the sold out events at the DirtyDog were two local musicians. Ian Finkelstein was scheduled to play the Dirty Dog’s great Steinway piano and play he did. The results showed on the faces in the room, including Esperanza’s.




A bassist, Jonathan Muir-Cotton was introduced to the house when Esperanza vacated the bass to sing. He was good. His story that night is even better. Jonathan was a new face and it was assumed that he traveled with the headliners from New York. It turns out he is from Ann Arbor and a student at Wayne State. The morning of the gig he happened to play in a master class with Esperanza Spalding as part of Gretchen’s program. She liked his playing, took his card and later she called him and asked if his was doing anything that night. This is how it works when those at the top share the stage. It was a magical night and the musicians faces showed us the results. It turned out that there wasn’t one featured player, it was the process of sharing the music that was the star of the show.




It was all in all a great event. It revealed to us what sharing and passion looks like.



John Osler




June 27 – June 30





Randy Napoleon will be in the house starting Wednesday


George Benson said: [Randy Napoleon]. He has an all-fingers approach; he doesn’t use just thumb or pick. He’s spectacular”.


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 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.


Randy has returned to Michigan to teach in the important jazz program at MSU after an extended stay in New York. Randy knows how to share his good fortune.


Come out to the Dirty Dog where he will be sharing his music and smile with us.


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June 22, 2018





This is part one of our profile of great new summer albums that may be of interest to adventurous Jazz Notes readers such as yourself.



Our two featured albums are both from guitarists Nels Cline and Steve Tibbetts, who couldn’t be more different from each other. However, what they have in common is their dedication to staying true to their original “voice”. They both utilize a creative approach to their music as they discover new sounds that define their unique styles.  Where Nels Cline is frenetic and full of energy, Steve Tibbetts is meditative, dreamy and ethereal but both artists are masterful when it comes to their improvisational abilities.






Artist/Group / Title / Label


The Nels Cline 4/ Currents, Constellations/ Blue Note



Nels Cline is known for his work as lead guitarist with the band Wilco since 2004. He is also getting lots of attention for his genre-bending collaborations with Jazz guitar virtuoso Julian Lage as heard on their 2014 album as a duo, Room, on Detroit’s Mack Avenue Records. Here they explore new musical territory, drawing on everything from Jazz and Blues to Bluegass, and Country.



“When Julian and I started playing together it kicked my ass hard,” Cline told JazzTimes around the time of Room’s release. “At the same time, it inspired me and refreshed my soul.”



On Currents and Constellations they’ve since added a rhythm section consisting of of bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey to the guitar duo we first heard on Room. The new expanded band really rocks!









Steve Tibbetts / Life Of / ECM


Guitarist and pianist, Steve Tibbetts, has been a signature artist with ECM records since 1981. “Life Of” is his ninth album on the label. This new release is a collection of musical portraits, mostly of family and friends with titles such as “Life of El” and “Life of Emily.



Although raised in Midwest America,  Tibbetts has travelled extensively to Southeast Asia, including Bali and Nepal. This is very evident in his music from the use of certain modes and scales to instrumentation and the essence of spirituality. These characteristics have been the foundation of his music, and have defined his sound throughout his career.



The album features him collaborating with Marc Anderson on percussion and handpan, and Michelle Kinney on cello and drones. The music they create is uncluttered, meditative, other worldly and beautiful.



Next week’s Jazz Notes features profiles of two more new releases from Robert Glasper and Charles Lloyd.



Other new albums of note include:
Bill Frisell / Music Is / Okeh
Marcus Miller / Laid Black / Blue Note
Terrance Blanchard and the E Collective / Live / Blue Note
Stanley Clark/ The Message / Mack Avenue
Gogo Penquin/ A Humdrum Star / Blue Note




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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June 20, 2018


There must be a new way to look at this


Taking the usual and making it interesting is the artist’s task, adding  a dab of paint or a note in an unexpected place. That something that grabs our attention and makes us take a look is what we call art.


In the glorious month of June everything around us is getting into shape. This will be the form it will take for the summer. We get an explosion of color and eager growth. This is a good time to talk about the fourth stage of the creative process, interpreting.





In my thoughts on the four stages of the creative process the final stage is where the fun lies.




After artists (1) find a subject (2) use all their senses looking at or listening to all the possibilities, (3) edit to clarify, (4) they get to put their stamp on the creation and it becomes uniquely theirs. They can go wild and add dabs of color or twist a phrase. No one can come into a room and hear Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra and have to ask who it is.




A Woody Allen or Coen Brothers movie is pretty easy to spot, and a Van Gogh shouts Van Gogh, while a Mark Rothko is sublimely a Rothko.


This act of interpreting is when craft becomes art.


Artists don’t always set out to  insert their individual stamp on their creations. It is just that creating freely is generally allowed, usually encouraged and often liberating.  When you create for yourself you get to do anything you want. My greatest enjoyment comes during this time when I feel free to express my thoughts. I enjoy other folks’ art most when I see what the artist wanted to say in his/her work.






Detroit surrounds you with liberating examples of artists who feel comfortable about revealing themselves.


Detroiter Judy Bowman






Judy Bowman, is a Detroiter. She is as strong, gentle and kind as a person can get. She seldom seems uncomfortable with her life. I have never seen a photo of her when she isn’t smiling. Yet Judy understands all emotions and feels free to show them. She was principal of Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences at the same time she raised her family. All her life Judy has had something to say and on retirement she threw herself completely into her paintings. This was good for us. We get to see how Judy sees. All of Judy’s work has a force and energy that inspires those around her, including her friends in Detroit’s Fine Art Breakfast Club.




The Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club is a place where artists gather to encourage and inspire other artists to let fly and show who they are. It works. This ad hoc seat of the pants organization started as a breakfast confab among a few friends who were artists and art patrons. There are now more than 100 friends who meet at a neighborhood restaurant. Everyone gets a chance to be seen and heard, and no two are alike.




France 07 Panosonic 020_edited-1 


When  I am in France I will always spend some time with a friend of many years, Pascal Balay.




Pascal has supported herself and successfully raised three children just with her skill as a potter. Pascal is more than a potter, she is an artist. Her work is uniquely hers and each piece stands on its own as a work of art. Her spirit is included with the purchase of anything she produces.


She was trained in England and thankfully for me can communicate in English about her art. She makes it clear that her art is always going to be her very own art. Even though the potter’s wheel goes round and round in exact circles it is her hands that will create a Pascal Balay piece. There will be no perfect circles nor repetitive color glazes. It will be easy to know whose hands did the work. For Pascal each pot, bowl, plate or platter is a new adventure.


Pascal, like many artists I know, will probably never be wealthy. They will be satisfied with rich lives, lives that they define. The decision not to produce products but to follow your vision has benefits. Among the benefits are the  respect of other artists, users, listeners and viewers. Pascal Balay has always willingly shared her passion with students. Watching her with eager young potters reminds me of Detroit’s master teachers working with up coming jazz artists.




I have spent some time rummaging around her workshop. She has any number of discarded pieces thrown into the bushes and along the studio wall. I would love to own most of her rejects. They are Pascal’s and they are unique, and they are special. Pascal has not had an easy life. Like many artists I know she is quick to smile and quick to show her disapproval when she falls short. I leave Pascal’s studio feeling that this is OK and is all part of the process.


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Being around highly skilled but wildly creative artists like Judy, the Breakfast Clubbers, Pascal and the jazz musicians at the Dirty Dog I am able to detect a playful attitude, a freedom to express themselves that borders on bravery. They lack a fear of failure. They are very fortunate. We are always very fortunate when we bring these creative people into our lives and get to see what is possible.


There are places where individual expression is not only accepted, but is expected. Fortunately Detroit is one of those places. Every artist who shows up at the Dirty Dog  comes with a style and an attitude that is his/her own. I usually leave the club inspired.


John Osler



JUNE 19 – JUNE 20





Here are the opening  notes from Esperanza’s website that say it all about hearing live jazz.


“Today’s world has a way of teaching us that who we are is not good enough as it is. It tells us that we’re better when we look our best. And that as artists, our work requires polish before it can be seen.


But the truth is, the creations that come from us are at their most powerful, at their most potent, the moment they surface.


Part of the theory comes from the idea that everything we’ve ever seen as people – anything we’ve ever seen, studied, heard, wished, read or thought – has been permanently captured by the mind.   Esperanza will aim to open this cache in her mind, allowing songs, lyrics, music and themes to develop spontaneously from the depths of her imagination and experience.”


Esperanza says, “I foresee that creating before a live audience will add excitement and extra inspiration energy.  Knowing someone is watching and listening to what you’re making seems to conjure up a sort of “can’t fail” energy, the necessity to keep going because it’s live draws up another depth of creative facility that can’t be reached when you know you can try again tomorrow.”

JUNE 21 – JUNE 23





Charles is a treasure that keeps being discovered. Each time we hear Charles play piano jazz, what comes through is a freshness and his joy at having a chance to do what he does.


What a treat to have three days with Charles and his friends.

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June 14, 2018



The 2018 Detroit Jazz Festival’s Resident Ensemble featuring Bassist Esperanza Spalding and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington; shown here at the Festival’s press conference in April 2018.



A new performance feature has been added to the Detroit Jazz Festival. It’s the debut of  Resident Ensemble. Much like the yearly Artist-in-Residence feature, the Resident Ensemble will perform many times both before and during the Festival.


A different core “Ensemble” will be chosen each year and will interact with the Detroit music community and feature significant artists in a group setting.   The Detroit Jazz Festival explained that “the Resident Ensemble epitomizes the value of group interaction and shared creative vision that is at the heart of the Jazz art form”.



This inaugural year for the new ensemble brings us the acclaimed duo of bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. One of their many performance settings includes two nights at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café with two shows each night on Tuesday, June 19 and Wednesday, June 20. For tickets and information call 313-882-5299. This is a chance to witness their creative artistry and improvisational talents up close in the intimate setting of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.





The ACS trio at the Village Vanguard with the late great pianist from Detroit, Geri Allen along with Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding.



Their upcoming performances at the Dirty Dog are a tribute to the award-winning Detroit pianist, composer, Guggenheim felllow and educator, Geri Allen, who died of cancer at the age of 60 on June 27, 2017. During her last few years she was the musical mentor of Esperanza Spalding and Terry Lyne Carrington as the three of them played under her direction in their ACS trio.



As we mentioned in our Jazz Notes tribute to Allen, the word spread fast of her passing last year with musicians here in Detroit and around the world expressing not only their sadness, but their deep appreciation for the musical gifts she shared with us during brilliant career.


She played with such Jazz greats as Charlie Haden, Wayne Shorter, Ornette Coleman, Cassandra Wilson, Carl Craig and countless others, including her husband, trumpeter Wallace Roney.



Guitarist Vernon Reid said on Twitter, that “Geri Allen advanced the position of women in Jazz and creative music for REAL”.  He called her an “inspiration for original voices”.   The two remaining artists, Spalding and Carrington carrying on in her absence, especially in her home town of Detroit as this year’s Resident Ensemble.




geriAllen CD


Detroit’s own Geri Allen (6/12/57-6/27/17). Her 2013 album “Grand River Crossing” that pays tribute to Detroit’s musical legacy.


Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington both made statements about playing in Geri Allen’s absence and the significance of playing a Dirty Dog tribute to her in her home town of Detroit. The Detroit News reported her statement about Ms. Allen during the Detroit Jazz Festival press conference in April 2018:  “It’s like bringing the seeds back to the soil of the plant they came from,” said Spalding. “This woman gave us so much. All that she gave us, we’re trying to give a little bit of that back in this space.”
“I think there’s a massive homegoing in a sense,” Carrington said. “The way we’re going to do it with the orchestra, and it’s what she would have wanted. I can see her smiling down. We’re trying to make this as grand as we can … contributing to her legacy.”



Terri Lyne Carrington  is a jazz drummer, composer, singer, record producer and entrepreneur. She has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Yellowjackets, and many others. She toured with each of Hancock’s musical configurations (from electric to acoustic) between 1997 and 2007.
In 2007 she was appointed professor at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music, where she received an honorary doctorate in 2003. She has won three Grammy Awards.


Esperanza Emily Spalding is an American jazz bassist and singer, raised in Portland, Oregon, and was a musical prodigy, playing violin in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at five years old. She was later both self-taught and -trained on a number of instruments, including guitar and bass. Her proficiency earned her scholarships to Portland State University and the Berklee College of Music. In 2017 she was appointed Professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University.[4]



She has won four Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards,[5] making her the first jazz artist to win the award.







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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Each week the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe hosts live performances from the greatest jazz musicians across the country.
The Four Freshmen
STARTS: Wed, July 25 2018
ENDS: Sat, July 28 2018
Tad Weed Trio
STARTS: Wed, August 01 2018
ENDS: Sat, August 04 2018