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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
November 12, 2018

Fall, Autumn, Winter, Snow, Leaf, Fall Leaves, November

 

GETTING ALONG TOGETHER IN NOVEMBER

 

On these cold November evenings the Dirty Dog must assemble a staff that has rid themselves of any winter blahs. These are the folks who will welcome the guests into  a serene and uplifting experience. This process happens long before any patrons show up. What I have observed is that the management sets the tone, Their good natured work ethic is contagious.

 

I have watched the Dirty Dog Jazz Café staff prepare for an evening’s upbeat event. Tables were prepared while the kitchen started to hum. All went about their tasks with a great deal of independence and purpose. The service at the Dirty Dog is a team effort and so was the preparation. This kind of service is not an easy task, and success is not an  accident.  Gretchen, Tom. André, Willy and all the staff seem to like being around each other. The Dirty Dog is a warm place even before the guests arrive. 

 

 

Here is someone who can say this better than I can. I asked Alexander Zonjic if the staff made any difference in the clubs where  he plays. Here is Alexander’s answer.

 

 

 

HOLDING ON AS WINTER APPROACHES

 

It is good to keep things in our lives. Often I am informed by my wife that there will come a day that we will have to clear out some of the stuff that I have been holding on to. Most of the stuff  has been in the same place for years, waiting quietly for me to either fix and then use them or paint and sell them. This is stuff that isn’t harming anyone and just needs a little love. My basement, attic and garage are a testimony for my love of old friends. Unfortunately they aren’t surviving neglect and time very well. The outdated electronic gear, darkroom equipment, carousel projectors, and flooded basement damaged furniture are destined to soon be by the curb. We will be consolidating our belongings, but some things will be kept, like my wife, good canvases and other familiar, still beautiful and still working stuff.

 

We all do move on eventually for a myriad of reasons. Many of us are looking for a better place. We chase the shiny apple, the romance of travel or a better place to work. Sometimes we make changes to accommodate others or improve our situation. It is  difficult to move on from friendly things and places, and it is even harder to leave friends.

 

 

But it happens even at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. I have watched as indispensable staff members are suddenly missing. Some come back with pictures of their new baby or pictures of their new house in Georgia. Most come back to say hello and express their appreciation for being part of a cohesive team at the Dirty Dog. Seldom does a door slam behind those who leave the place. Fortunately when someone leaves a new face appears  that is just as competent and good natured as the predecessor.How is this possible? I think it is  because of the quality of the Dirty Dog team. There has been a solid group that has been around since this jazz club first opened. They have lurched and stumbled. They have worked hard and laughed a lot. But most importantly they continue to create an atmosphere that is relaxed and welcoming.

 

SOMETIMES MISTAKES HAPPEN

 

Sometimes at the Dirty Dog the enthusiasm for the music and the place leads to unforeseen circumstances. One night when I was photographing  the band from the entryway, I was taken by the smiles and good natured banter going on in a group at the large window table. Unfortunately, in the middle of the set there was an accidental spill. A disaster? Well, no. The music continued, the table cleared, a new tablecloth was placed and then recovered with silverware, glasses and napkins. The music continued and the celebrants never stopped smiling and applauding. This was all done with efficiency and courtesy.

 

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I watched this play out as if it where a non-event. The staff seemed pleased to be of help. No fuss. This isn’t an easy gig, serving food in a small space with grace.

 

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I think I was the only one that noticed the resetting of the table, thanks to the  staff that provides the remarkable service at the Dirty dog Jazz Café.

 

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The Dirty Dog Café has become home for some of the country’s finest jazz artists. Musicians love to play a gig at the club because they get respect. They are surrounded by people who listen and understand. When they play the Dog they generally have the audience’s attention, an audience that is also sometimes being served in the middle of a set with a warm smile.

 

  The Dirty Dog remains a good place to work and to visit. When you visit, let the staff know you value their contribution. Smile back.

 

John Osler

 

COMING TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ

 

November 14, 15

 

CHRIS CODISH

 

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Detroit’s Chris Codish will always be true to the music, which makes him a busy guy. When Chris sits down at a keyboard he will never sacrifice emotion, feeling, expression and interaction. He believes in  making  music that moves people and gives them something they probably didn’t know they needed.“need”

November 16,17

 

ALEXANDER ZONJIC

 

 

Make your reservations early as Alexander has earned a loyal following eager to find out what he is up to. There will be music guaranteed to lift your spirits.

 

 

 

 

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November 8, 2018

DetroitJazzCityBlueNote

 

There are so many great Jazz artists from “Detroit Jazz City”, with November birthdays.   If you thought our October birthdays were good, check out November!

 

KennCoxAt DJF

 

Kenny Cox at the Detroit Jazz Festival

 

Kenn Cox, November 8, 1940- December 19, 2008

 

Pianist/composer, Kenn Cox was a Detroit native, who, like so many other prominent musicians from Detroit, graduated from Cass Technical High School. Cass was known worldwide for it’s outstanding music department. Kenn then attended the Detroit Conservatory of Music and the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts.

 

 

Besides being a talented pianist, Cox was also proficient on bass, bassoon and trumpet. Well versed in the styles of bebop, hard bop and postbop, he started playing professionally in the late 50’s and 1960’s and was the pianist for singer Etta Jones and also played in the George Bohannon Quintet.

 

 

By the late 60’s he had formed his own group, “Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet”, which recorded two albums for Blue Note Records, “Introducing Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet” and “Multidirection”. He also recorded with such “giants” as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, Eddie Harris, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, and many others.

 

 

Kenn Cox is also featured on the relatively recent album from Blue Note called “Detroit Jazz City”, produced by Detroiter Don Was who combined tracks by Detroit Jazz legends from the Blue Note vaults with new recordings from current Jazz stars from Detroit. See album cover above for personnel.

 

 

In the 1980’s Cox created the Guerilla Jam Band, at times featuring Regina Carter, Tani Tabbal, James Carter, Rodney Whitaker, Shahida Nurallah, Donald Walden and many others. By the way, Miss Nurallah is at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in late December. Kenn Cox also helped form Strata Records, the Strata Concert Gallery and other Strata-brand ventures, which have since been given legendary status worldwide.

 

 

In the early 1970’s, Cox also produced a weekly radio program, Kaleidophone, on WDET, and was the station’s director of community access programming. I had just started working at WDET 101.9FM during that time and really enjoyed conversing with him about music, life and the world in general.

 

 

Saxophonist Billy Mitchell (November 3, 1926 – April 18, 2001)

 

ThisIsBillyMitchellwBobbyHutcherson

 

 

Billy Mitchell was a tenor saxophonist who was born in Kansas City. He moved to Detroit and like Kenny Cox and so many other Jazz greats, attended Cass Technical High School to receive his early music education.

 

 

Billy Mitchell was well known for his work with some of the most well respected big bands in the country, led by such luminaries as Pontiac’s own Thad Jones, as well as Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others. He also played with Count Basie for more than seven years in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

 

 

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he introduced vibest Bobby Hutcherson to the Jazz world and played and recorded with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band in Europe and also served as Stevie Wonder’s musical director for a short time.

 

 

 

SippieAndBonnie

Photo: Tunnel.ru

Sippie Wallace (born as Beulah Thomas, November 1, 1898 – November 1, 1986) was an early Blues and Jazz singer/songwriter. Known as the “Texas Nightingale” she recorded over 40 songs for the legendary Blues label, Okeh Records, many of which she composed herself.

 

 

She sang with many well-known accompanists who are considered some of the most significant early architects of Jazz and Blues, including Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and others.

 

 

She helped define the early female blues style along with her contemporaries as she ranked with vocalists Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter and Bessie Smith.

 

 

She moved to Detroit in the 1930’s to make a career change as she devoted her time to being a church organist, and choir director at the Leland Baptist Church.

 

 

Spending nearly 40 years living in Detroit, she rarely sang secular music during this period until she was coaxed by Blues singer, Victoria Spivey to resume her career as a Blues artist during the Blues resurgence of the late 1960’s.

 

 

She recorded her album “Women Be Wise” in 1966 with Roosevelt Sykes and Little Brother Montgomery. This album and title track helped inspire Bonnie Raitt to become a Blues singer/performer in the late 1960’s, recording Wallace’s signature song, “Women Be Wise” and “Don’t Advertise Your Man” on her self-titled debut release. Bonnie Raitt loved Sippie and helped catapult her career even farther, inviting her to record and tour with her for many years. She even brought her back to Detroit to perform in the late 1970’s.

 

 

Sippie Wallace was nominated for a Grammy in 1982 and was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
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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.  She was also born in November!

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November 6, 2018

american-flag-images-12

 

JAZZ AND DEMOCRACY

 

America’s music, jazz reflects the best principles of our political system when it is working.

 

 

 

PLEASE VOTE!

 

This Tuesday Americans will go to the polls. For those who are hesitating, here is a non partisan reason to vote.

 

Politicians will make an appeal for you to vote in your immediate best interest and probably his/hers. But whenever you are given the chance, vote for those who would make life better for our children, grandchildren and all the future generations. Vote for someone who asks for your help to help your neighbor and community.

Vote for those who will invest in a community that believes it is important to work together to make a safe place where children can thrive, prosper and concentrate on being children. Vote for those who work to protect our children’s futures rather than their own political future.

 

MY TAKE ON JAZZ AND DEMOCRACY

 

I wrote this earlier, but it is still true.

I grew up without television which left our family with a lot of time to sit and stare at each other. We seldom did. We chose to listen to the news as dinner was prepared after which we sat down for our meal and discussed what we heard.

Following dinner we sat around the radio and listened to music. These were the best times. This is maybe why I prefer to listen to music than to the cacophony of the candidates talking about themselves.

 

I have a personal appeal. Vote for those who you think would like jazz music. They recognize democracy when they see it. Vote for a jazz musician.

 

2018 ELECTIONS

Jazz musicians will be missing on the ballot this year. If they were, I do have a long list of candidates who possess all the qualities I would be looking for in a candidate. Some that come immediately to mind are bassist Marion Hayden, Rodney Whitaker, Ralphe Armstrong, Jeff Pedras, Ibrahimm Jones, etc. etc. along with drummers Sean Dobbins, David Taylor, Jeff Canady, Gayelynn McKinney etc., etc.

These are jazz musicians who are the heart of a jazz band. Their role it is to provide a solid base while pushing for better things. A lot of men and women who play jazz  have the character traits that are necessary to bring a community together to produce  glorious results. This isn’t all that easy. Keeping a group focused on a common goal requires hard work, commitment, passion, compassion, the acknowledgement of mistakes and the ability to change course. All of these traits are essential to playing jazz and to maintaining a democracy.

 

IN ADDITION

 

“Jazz is like a musical democracy; when you get on the bandstand to play, it doesn’t matter what color you are; what matters is if you can play—and anyone can speak that language.”  RODNEY WHITAKER

 

LESSONS THAT JAZZ MUSICIANS CAN TEACH POLITICIANS

 

All the candidates could learn something from listening to more jazz and less of the advice from their handlers. What they would hear in their local jazz joint would be a group dedicated to making joyous sounds together. Together they make the group sound its very best. What politicians would find would be that each artist will be  listening to the other and making everyone better. This is democracy at work.

Successful jazz musicians listen.

Jazz musicians lead by example.

They give everybody a chance to shine.

They respect each other.

They judge people only by their ability.

They care about preserving the best parts.

Jazz musicians welcome the new guy.

Jazz musicians have something to say, and it is seldom about themselves.

 

 

RODNEY WHITAKER                                                         DIEGO RIVERA

SEAN DOBBINS

 

WE ALL CAN LEARN FROM THE JAZZ COMMUNITY ABOUT TEACHING DEMOCRACY

I have had the opportunity to be in the room when some of Detroit’s jazz musicians discussed the roles that the different instruments play in a jazz band. They were surrounded by wide eyed young people who listened intently to these important musical heroes as they demonstrated how important democracy was to allow these different elements to coexist with and actually enhance one another.

Sandra Day O’Connor, a Republican and retired Supreme Court Justice, and Wynton Marsalis, an avowed Musician, joined together to create a children’s program called Let Freedom Swing. The program informs the kids about the structure and purpose of our political institutions and how a jazz band relies on the same principles.

Children in the program are asked to see the push and pull between individual rights and, the “greater good” in both democratic society and jazz performance. Activities and discussion questions center on the system of checks and balances in the Constitution, the importance of listening, and the importance of staying  involved in society and music.

One group included Diego Rivera, Sean Dobbins and was led by Rodney Whitaker.  Wynton Marsalis had given Rodney the opportunity to bring the remarkable program LET FREEDOM SWING  to Michigan and to Detroit’s school children where I saw them in action.

 

LET FREEDOM SWING

This week will bring a pause to electioneering. Go to a jazz club and enjoy some democracy in action.

 

John Osler

 

COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE´

 

November 5 – 10

 

 

MICHAEL JELLICK

 

Michael is so gifted. He is also another example of Detroit jazz artists who continue to learn and grow. Each time he comes to the Dirty Dog he brings something new, which he will be sharing with his band mates. Come on out.

 

   

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November 1, 2018

REMEMBERING NOVEMBER

 

 

We used to rake the leaves into a pile, then we jumped into the pile, and then we burned them. The smell of burning leaves was the defining moment that meant frosty short days were coming, and we would be spending more time indoors getting warm. Going to a warm place makes me think of the Dirty Dog and all the good people who help us forget that we will be having plenty of grey and cold days ahead of us. The guy who by example makes life tolerable is Willie Jones, Director of Food, Beverage and All That Jazz at the Dirty Dog. Willy never seems to get down on life, and his upbeat spirit will help us get through Michigan’s fall and winter blues.

 

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Normally we would be reading Willie Jones’ Corner where he tells us tales of the good old days at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, and the plans for the good days coming up at the Dirty Dog. However, Willie is on a deserved vacation. He will be back next week, and with his return we will once again get his take on what is happening. Stay tuned.

 

He has assembled a team ready to follow his example of providing excellent service with grace, and Willie has already put in place a schedule of great jazz artists.

 

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Before Skeeto Valdez sits down at his drums, Willie will be back in his role as announcer with his familiar call ” WELCOME TO THE DIRTY DOG”.

 

John Osler

 

To help you fight the November blahs here is Willie’s lineup for November

 

COMING TO THE DIRTY DOG IN NOVEMBER

 

October 31 – November 1

 

SKEETO VALDEZ

 

 

THE LOVABLE SKEETO VALDEZ WILL BE COMING BACK TO THE DIRTY DOG

 

Skeeto Valdez will return this week leading one of his Fun House Bands. He will bring his unabashed good nature and solid drumming.  Get ready to call the roof repair guys!

 

 

 

November 2,3

 

CAMERON GRAVES

 

Image result for cameron graves

 

Following Skeeto will be Cameron Graves, who  is part of the genre-blurring Los Angeles collective West Coast Get Down who blend elements of Jazz, Classical, Rock and Hip-Hop. Cameron has recently released his first album for Mack Avenue Records. Planetary Prince. 

 

“Cameron Graves is a musical genius. He has an innovative approach to the piano
that is completely unique. Cameron’s new album ‘Planetary Prince’ is an amazing and
almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music,
and mathematical death metal. A style so cool that it deserves it’s own genre.
Cameron’s music has been inspiring me since I was thirteen years old and it still
does today! I’m so glad he’s sharing it with the world!” – Kamasi Washington

November 7 – November 10

 

 

DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL ALL STARS

 

 

Chris Collins will bring some of Detroit’s best players for four nights. The DJF All Stars will once be again declared winners by the last show on Saturday night along with those lucky enough to in the club

 

 

November 14, 15

 

CHRIS CODISH

 

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Detroit’s Chris Codish will always be true to the music, which makes him a busy guy. When Chris sits down at a keyboard he will never sacrifice emotion, feeling, expression and interaction. He believes in  making  music that moves people and gives them something they probably didn’t know they needed.“need”

 

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November 16,17

 

ALEXANDER ZONJIC

 

 

Make your reservations early as Alexander has earned a loyal following eager to find out what he is up to. There will be music guaranteed to lift your spirits.

 

   

 

November 21, 23, 24

 

ALVIN WADDLES

 

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The Dirty Dog Jazz Café will be closed and the music muted on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t  despair, on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday Alvin Waddles will bring his magic to the club. Alvin knows how to bring the holiday spirit into a room. Take a break, leave the dishes and leftovers for a moment and come with  friends and family to a warm place where large helpings of smiles come with the music, food and drinks.

 

 

 

 

 November 28 – December 1

 

AQUANKO

 

 

 

An explosion of spirit will be heard this week at the Dirty Dog. Aquanko, an assembly of some of Detroit’s very best musicians, will celebrate Latin jazz in this intimate club. You are invited to come by, lean back and enjoy some powerful music.

 

     

 

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October 29, 2018

CamGravesDisCogs

 

Discogs.com

 

 

Perhaps you’re already familiar with LA based, visionary pianist and composer, Cameron Graves, and  saw his performance at the 2017 Detroit Jazz Festival. Or maybe you’re a fan of saxophonist Kamasi Washington and heard Mr. Graves on his award-winning 3-disc debut album “The Epic”. Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard about Cameron Graves, who seems to be getting a lot of attention in many contemporary Jazz circles 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. In 2017 he signed with Detroit’s own Mack Avenue records, a label with a reputation for supporting new and emerging styles, trends and artists in Jazz.

 

 

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CameronGravesMusic.com

 

Graves’  dynamic first album as a leader, Planetary Prince (Mack Avenue), made it to my list of top recordings of 2017, and 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  being drawn to the idiom for the first time.

 

 

Here’s what Kamasi Washington wrote about his musical colleague, and friend Cameron Graves:

 

 

cameronGraves

 

Twitter.com

 

“Cameron Graves is a musical genius. He has an innovative approach to the piano
that is completely unique. Cameron’s album ‘Planetary Prince’ is an amazing and
almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music, and mathematical death metal. A style so cool that it deserves it’s own genre.


Cameron’s music has been inspiring me since I was thirteen years old and it still
does today! I’m so glad he’s sharing it with the world!” – Kamasi Washington

 

 

Kudos to the Dirty Dog for treating us to a 2-night stint with one of today’s most innovative artists in Jazz.

 

Come hear for yourself as the Dirty Dog Jazz Café presents Graves this Friday and Saturday night, November 2 and 3 for two hot 90-minute sets each night at 7:00pm and 9:30pm.

 

For reservations and information, call 313-882-5299 or go to dirtydogjazz.com

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.

 

 

 

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October 22, 2018

 

FRIENDS

 

The Charles Boles Quartet is a band that has a healthy accumulation of experiences and stories from life and from being jazz musicians. All the members have the perspectives of jazz where one learns from each other’s experiences and enjoy sharing their stories. These are jazz brothers, pals, amigos, cronies and certainly friends. Charles seems to go through life as an active friend collector.

 

Bassist John Dana always arrived on time every Tuesday for the band’s weekly gig at the Dirty Dog. He would haul his bass in his strong hands through the back door, past the green room and leave it on the band stand. He then returned to the green room to join Charles Boles who usually had his head in  his music.  Charles likes to arrive early to the Dirty Dog to organize his music for that evening,  before his band mates arrive. Guitarist Ron English is usually the first to join Charles in the green room at the Dirty dog. Many of the new tunes the group plays will be Ron’s compositions. Ron English would peruse his music and strum some key parts while staying respectfully quiet. That’s what friends do. When he arrived drummer Renell Gonsalves would scan the menu and announce the specials. Before going on they would exchange some familiar banter including some news and political opinions. It was a standard musician ritual, with a little  humor at each other’s expense. But it seemed to me that it was more than that. The four piece jazz band was a band of close friends happy to see each other after a week apart, happy to see they all made it one more time. Happy to get one more gig together.

 

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JOHN DANA   1947-2018

 

The past week brought with it some difficult news. Our friend John Dana passed away leaving a huge hole in our lives.

 

John’s smile will be missing this week in the green room, a smile that assured us that everything was going to be alright. We will miss this sturdy man who was the rock of the Charles Boles Quintet. Bassist John Dana created the solid pocket that his mates depended on. He was the floor that held them up and when they needed it his bass line would lift them up to soar. John was the solid one, the supporting member of the cast until his solos. We then got a taste of his spirit. He sometimes hunched over his bass and became one with it. We knew he was on to something. These were great moments and will not be forgotten.

 

  

JEFF PEDRAZ

 

This week the Charles Boles Quartet gathered in the Dirty Dog green room for their Tuesday night gig. The banter was muted but smiles slowly returned. A new bass was hauled into the club and carried to the band stand by a good friend of the band, Jeff Pedraz.  Jeff  would not be replacing John but simply carrying on his spirit. Throughout the night John’s positive presence could be felt.

 

It has probably always been this way with musicians. They are able to escape into the music and for a moment escape their sorrow.

 

On Tuesday night music once again salved some of the hurt. There is something about playing jazz that is healing. So many times its effects have been studied and documented, but when it happens in front of you like that evening you become a believer.

 

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Jeff Pedraz was a friend of John’s and said this of him: “Rest easy John. I feel fortunate to have known you, your beat, and your truly beautiful soul.”

 

That goes from all of us at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.

 

John Osler

 

THIS WEEK AT THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ

 

The music goes on.

 

October 23-25

 

 

CHARLS BOLES pianist

 

I have often been a bit intimidated by Charles Boles. He towers over me when I am in his presence. He is not imposing physically, but he has an assurance that comes from a lifetime of  experiences and hard work. He is a product of Detroit’s black bottom neighborhood, which was a cauldron of creative jazz artists. Charles has faced down hardships, racism, personal losses and has persevered. He has a powerful inter-strength and has has benefited from a lifetime of playing with great musicians. It shows in his piano playing. He has earned the respect of other musicians and those lucky enough to hear him live in a small club.

 

October 26-27

 

 

RODNEY WHITAKER bassist

 

I have known Rodney Whitaker since he was a young man earnestly starting out on his storied career. There is little that Rodney has set out to do that he hasn’t achieved.  He is someone whose personal fortitude has made all around him better, just ask his students that come out of his program at Michigan State, or better yet ask his band mates when you catch him at the Dirty Dog this week.

 

 

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October 19, 2018

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October 11, 2018

PepperAdamsFrance78

Pepper Adams at the Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice, France, July 7, 1978

 

 

Born in Highland Park, Michigan, October 8, 1930, Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III was a Jazz baritone saxophonist and composer. A very prolific artist, he composed 42 pieces, was the leader on eighteen albums spanning 28 years, and participated in 600 sessions as a sideman.

 

 

It’s no wonder that he became a key figure of the fervent 1950’s Detroit Jazz scene before expanding his influence on a international level.

 

 

He started playing piano at a very early age and soon went on to play tenor sax and clarinet. It wasn’t until he used his employee discount while working at Detroit’s Grinnell’s music store that he bought his first baritone sax, for which he is best known.

 

 

He was soon playing with Detroit’s legendary Lucky Thompson and his band and began meeting other notables from that era, who would become future musical collaborators such as Donald Byrd. During that period he also became Music Director of Detroit’s famed Blue Bird Inn where he played with Thad Jones and other greats.

 

 

During lengthy and illustrious career he also played with all of the great musicians of the period including Kenny Burrell, Kenny Clarke, Curtis Fuller, Chet Baker and Quincy Jones. He played with John Coltrane in New York and on the album “Dakar”, and with the renowned trumpeter Lee Morgan on “The Cooker” as well.

 

 

In the 1960’s Pepper Adams continued to work with the top musicians of the idiom including Charles Mingus, Marcus Belgrave, Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton. He also worked for Motown records as a sideman during their influential years when they were developing their famous sound.

 

 

kennyGarrett

 

Kenny Garrett / photo by BBC

 

Kenny Garrett was born in Detroit on October 9, 1960; he is a 1978 graduate of Mackenzie High School, which is known for having a great music department.  His father was a carpenter who played tenor saxophone as a hobby.

 

 

With a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Kenny Garrett is one of the most important alto saxophonists in contemporary Jazz. Having played early on with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) followed by time spent with musicians and influential style makers as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has continued to bring his truly distinctive “voice” to each musical situation. He is also a gifted composer and writes and arranges most of the music on his recordings and live performances.

 

 

During his career, Garrett has performed and recorded with many other Jazz greats. This includes a life-changing five year period with Miles Davis in addition to time spent with other legendary artists who help shaped the direction of modern Jazz including , Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones and many others.

 

 

robertHurst

 

Robert Hurst / Photo: BassPlayer.com

 

Born in Detroit on October 4, 1964, Bob Hurst has enjoyed a magnificent career for the past 3 decades, and is a highly respected composer, electric and acoustic bassist, educator, and recording artist.

 

 

He has been one of the most respected and sought-after bassists by a diverse list of significant musicians from around the world. These include Paul McCartney, Charles Lloyd, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Terrence Blanchard, Sting, Carl Allen, the legendary Pharaoh Sanders, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson, Yo Yo Ma, Ravi Coltrane, and others. He was also a member of The Tonight Show Band.

 

 

Robert Hurst currently serves as Associate Professor of Music, with Tenure, and the Director of Small Jazz Ensembles in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan’s School of Music.

 

 

Mr. Hurst, who has graced the Dirty Dog stage many times over the years, has performed on over 150 diverse and critically acclaimed recordings. A select group of these productions have garnered him performances yielding seven GRAMMY® Awards.

 

 

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Yusef Lateef / Photo Discogs.com

 

Yusef Abdul Lateef, born William Emanuel Huddleston; (October 9, 1920 – December 23, 2013) was a Jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer and prominent member of the Muslim community following his conversion to Islam in 1950, becoming one of the first Jazz artists to do so.

 

 

Known primarily as saxophonist and flute player, he also played many other instruments including the oboe and bassoon and was also one of the first musicians to play an assortment of instruments from many cultures including the bamboo flute, shanai, and koto. This led to him incorporating styles into his music such as fusing Jazz with Middle Eastern and Asian music. Peter Keepnews of the New York Times wrote that Lateef “played world music before world music had a name.”

 

 

In the 1950’s he attended Wayne State University, During that period and was a leading figure of the world famous Detroit Jazz scene. Uncomfortable with the term “Jazz” he coined the word “autophysiopsychic” to describe music that comes from the physical, mental and spiritual self. The National Endowment for the Arts made him an American Jazz Master in 2010.

 

 

The multi-talented Yusel Lateef wrote several books including a collection of short stories and a novella. He also wrote his autobiography The Gentle Giant, written in collaboration with award-winning Detroit writer, Herb Boyd.

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

 

 

 

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October 10, 2018

 

IS THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ THE BEST JAZZ CLUB IN THE WORLD?

I will keep asking this question until someone tells me that maybe it isn’t, and why.

I haven’t heard any jazz artists say that this club isn’t one of the very best venues in the world. I think it would be hard to beat the gang at the Dirty Dog and the jazz club they have built.

 

 

I get around Detroit listening to music, and Detroit has good choices of places to hear some jazz. Most of the time I am at the Dirty Dog taking pictures. This has given me a chance to listen to out of town artists like Freda Payne and well traveled local artists like Ralphe Armstrong. Sometimes world travelers like Freda and Ralphe talk about their favorite places. They talk about how they are treated, the respect of the audience, the sound in the room and the prestige of playing a first class club. When all is said and done, they often end up saying one club that makes the effort to accommodate the musician as well as the customer is the place they are both playing this week, the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. At the Dirty Dog they also get a respectful audience and some of the best food in town in their own green room.

 

   

 

The Dirty Dog Jazz Café is an intimate jazz club that serves really good food. It has been promoted mainly through word of mouth and the proclamations of others. The word is out that this place makes an honest effort to give jazz artists and their fans a great place to come together. Friends tell friends, and Detroit has a way of finding out about anything that is a cut above.

 

PRAISE FOR A REALLY GOOD LOCAL JAZZ CLUB

 

Every time Ralphe Armstrong comes to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café he reminds us that we can have something really good in our backyard. Sometimes you have to go away and come back to appreciate what you have.

 

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THE WORLDLY RALPHE ARMSTRONG

I never thought about this idea until one night the well traveled Ralphe Armstrong offhandedly asked the question, “Has anyone been in a better jazz club in their life?”

No one stood up and challenged him. Truthfully, there are few people who would stand up and challenge Ralphe.  Since then, Ralphe rarely appears at the Dirty Dog without making this claim. He is not alone. many artists pause to remind us how remarkable this venue is, and when they do they don’t hold back. I started listening to these artists when they praised the club.

 

 

SOME REASONS THAT THE DIRTY DOG IS SO ADMIRED:

 

RESPECT FOR THE MUSIC

The club is a place that is run almost entirely to honor the music and the musicians.. The Dog has paid attention to those things that allow the music to live. There is a great sound system with a sound engineer on staff. The Dog is a place with an openness to new ideas and encourages musicians to stretch their craft. Jazz is respected at the Dog.

RESPECT FOR THE ARTISTS

What I have heard from visiting artists is that the Dirty Dog is an oasis of respect. Respect pours over musicians from the moment they enter the club. The Dirty Dog is a place where jazz thrives because Gretchen, the management and the audience think that the music deserves to be heard. Finally, where else do artists get four day gigs?

RESPECT FOR THE AUDIENCE

It is an intimate space small enough to offer proximity to the action. Jazz is often a spontaneous, evolving relationship that is sometimes sublimely harmonious, often gleeful and sometimes raucous. Patrons can witness the fleeting glance and the startled smile between players.  Jazz can be at its most engaging when you can experience that process unfolding with your eyes as well as your ears.

 

AND A FEW MORE REASONS THAT CLINCH IT FOR THE DIRTY DOG

 

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SOME REALLY GOOD FOOD AND  A GREAT BAR

The Dog has some really good food and a great bar for the customers

 

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THE GREEN ROOM AT THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ

The same great food and drink is served in a beautiful green room reserved for the artists.

 

BONUS POINTS FOR:

 

Chef Andre Neimanus, Manager / Director of jazz Willie Jones, the world’s most lovable bartender Carl and the amazing staff with all their good cheer and  smiles.

 

EXTRA BONUS POINTS:

 

The classiest proprietor in all of jazzdom, Gretchen Valade.

 

 

THIS WEEK GET OUT AND LISTEN TO SOME LIVE MUSIC

 

Visit the Dirty Dog and see for yourselves how the the artists are treated, the respect of the audience, the sound in the room and the prestige of being in a first class club. When all is said and done, you may add your voice in saying that the one club that makes the effort to accommodate the musician as well as the customer is the Dirty Dog.

 

ALL THIS LEAVES ME WITH THE BURNING QUESTION, COULD THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ POSSIBLY BE “THE BEST JAZZ CLUB IN THE WORLD?” AND WHY NOT?

 

We will need more information to really know the answer, so, please think about it and after you have spent some at the Dog, let us know.

 

John Osler

 

THIS WEEK THE DIRTY DOG WILL PRESENT A PRETTY GOOD CASE THAT IT IS A TRULY GREAT JAZZ CLUB

 

 

October 10, October 11

 

 

RALPHE ARMSTRONG

 

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.

 October 12 – October 13

 

 

FREDA PAYNE

 

The multi-talented Freda Payne is best known for her singing career, yet she has also performed in musicals and acted in movies over the years. Freda was born in Detroit, Michigan, Payne developed an appreciation of music at an early age (due to such sultry jazz singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday). She will bring much needed heat to a Michigan fall.

 

   

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October 1, 2018
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“No problem” Willie Jones

 

WILLIE’S CORNER

 

This week Willie Jones makes his first post in what we will call Willie’s Corner.

 

Willie is officially the dining room manager/programming director. Unofficially he is the Director of Food,Spirits and all that Jazz. Because Willie Jones directs the food, spirits and jazz with a firm but light touch, the Dirty Dog Jazz Café looks and feels the way it does.

 

He is responsible for all the things that work, and when they don’t he is there making things right. Lucky for us that he is going to share some insights and stories. Knowing Willie, they will be to the point and upbeat.

 

 

 

WILLIE’S CORNER

 

I love October. It is my favorite month of the year. Fall is my favorite season of the year. OK, I admit it, I’m a little biased for October. I was born in October. Fall Colors, fall weather and of course fall Jazz.

 

So the fall season has officially arrived. The cool nights of fall are the perfect time to come on into the Dirty Dog Jazz Café to enjoy some warm jazz in a cozy intimate environment.

 

The entire month of October at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café will bring you a montage of Mack Avenue Records and Detroit Music Factory artists like vocalist Freda Payne, Bassist Ralphe Armstrong, Pianist Scott Gwinnell, Guitarist Ron English, Bassist Rodney Whitaker and the legendary Pianist Charles Boles.

 

While you’re at the Dirty Dog feasting on a hearty or even light fare dinner before the music starts, might I highly recommend that you indulge yourself in a few of our culinary favorites such as Short Ribs, Grilled Salmon, Shrimp Pasta, Chicken and Waffles and the “Must Have” Fork and Knife Burger.

 

You also should take a moment (before the music starts) to view the incredible décor and wealth of photos of musical legendary talents sprinkled throughout the Café. During your visual tour, expect to stumble across several beautiful paintings by our resident photographer and blogger John Osler.

 

Only John Osler can capture Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Carl the bartender and the Dirty Dog’s fearless leader Gretchen Valade all hanging out together at the Bar at the Dirty Dog. Ask anyone on my gracious staff to take you to our private boardroom and just look above the fireplace.

 

YES the Dirty Dog Jazz Café is all about jazz, but expect to find much more than just amazing jazz as you take on the “entire experience” of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.Willie Jones

EXPLAINING WILLIE JONES

 

WILLIE JONES IS SOMEONE WHO JUST MAKES THINGS BETTER

 

 

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Wille has guided the Dirty Dog Jazz Café since its conception ten years ago. He has done this with an unusual amount of surety, confidence in outcomes,  combined with  grace and joy. Knowing Willie is around makes one feel like everything is going to be alright.

 

There are situations that spring up and test us. Everyone looks around for a way out of the mess. Sometimes the monstrous obstacle that is thrown in our path isn’t as big as we think it is, and we just needed someone to bring the problem into perspective. Willie Jones the manager of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café is that someone.

 

All eyes turn to Willie. Willie will certainly handle this. Everything will be all right.

 

When others might go into  semi-panic mode as events unfold, Willie looks as calm as our old cat lying in front of the fireplace. He reminded me of those other kids that had really studied before a test. Nonplussed and unshaken their demeanor is always calming and reassuring.

 

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Willie’s lesson for all of us is that old saying “Opportunity seldom rises with blood pressure.”

 

Everyone coming to the Dirty Dog will experience the sense of order that Willie Jones brings to his tasks. Willie has the ability to place the right person in the right place at crucial times.  Smiles are allowed, mistakes are corrected, and the results are apparent, as Willie in his role as Director of Food, Spirits and all that Jazz says, ” WELCOME TO THE DIRTY DOG”.

 

October is Willie’s favorite month and for the rest of us it is time to get an appointment with someone to check the furnace and to put the summer lawn furniture away. October can be our prettiest month in Detroit with sunny days and bright colored leaves. It is harvest time and we will be getting the last of fresh local produce. It also means that we may be spending more time indoors.

 

John Osler

 

GOOD NEWS

 

Playing indoors at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café this October will be:

 

 

October 3 – October 6

 

 

RON ENGLISH

 

Guitarist Ron English has had a decades-long career that has spanned a spectrum of musical styles. His new Detroit Music Factory release  Dance/Cry/Dance shows off his command of his instrument and  creative freedom.

 

“You have to sort of triangulate,” laughs English. “It’s in between. It’s a jazz record. It has a relationship to dance rhythms, out in groove territory, and it uses song forms, with what I like to think are fresh and appealing melodies. But the record also emphasizes the emotional development and storytelling and dialogue in the improvised solos, within the strength of the various grooves.”

 

October 10 – October 11

 

 

RALPHE ARMSTRONG

 

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.

 

October 12 – October 13

 

 

FREDA PAYNE

The multi-talented Freda Payne is best known for her singing career, yet she has also performed in musicals and acted in movies over the years. Freda was born in Detroit, Michigan, Payne developed an appreciation of music at an early age (due to such sultry jazz singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday). She will bring much needed heat to a Michigan fall.

 

October 17 – October 20

 

 

SCOTT GWINNELL

 

Scott is a major talent who was given a chance to be one of the first to play the Dirty Dog. Every time he has played the Dog he has given back for the opportunity he was given. Scott, as usual, will surround himself with other remarkable players.

 

October 24 – October 25

 

 

CHARLES BOLES

 

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 two days with Charles and his friends.

 

October 26 – October 27

 

 

RODNEY WHITAKER

 

I have known Rodney Whitaker since he was a young man earnestly starting out on his storied career. There is little that Rodney has set out to do that he hasn’t achieved.  He is someone whose personal fortitude has made everyone around him better, just ask the students that come out of his program at Michigan State, or better yet ask his band mates when you catch him at the Dirty Dog this week.

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