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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
March 16, 2018




Multi-talented saxophonist, David McMurray, will be at the Dirty Dog March 21-24. He has a loyal following as he plays there once or twice annually with his own band, but you’ll also hear him performing as a guest soloist with other artists’ groups there as well such as with Blues diva, Thornetta Davis, and award-winning Jazz guitarist, A. Spencer Barefield.



Dave McMurray’s career has made him one of the most sought-after multi-instrumentalists, soloists and session men in modern music. That’s why he’s played with some of the top artists during the past four decades whether it’s Jazz, Rock, Funk, Blues, Folk/Country and more.


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Dave McMurray at the Jakarta International Jazz Festival



His diverse playing abilities have enabled him to perform and with a diverse roster of groups from the Rolling Stones, Khaled, and Iggy Pop to Griot Galaxy, Geri Allen, Bonnie Raitt, Gladys Knight and many others.




Dave McMurray with trumpeter Rayse Biggs


He’s continuously touring with many of these and other groups as they play some of the top venues on the planet. Downbeat magazine asked me to interview him for their special feature on the Dirty Dog that ran last summer. They specifically wanted to know why it is one of his favorite places to play in the world!



Here’s an excerpt of the interview:


At the Dirty Dog, it’s all about the music. Detroit Jazz champion, and club proprietor, Gretchen Valade makes sure of it. Because she respects the music and the artists, the audience does too. They come to listen. As a Jazz musician, it’s always better to play where people love and appreciate the music.



The atmosphere is so intimate – I feel like I’m in Gretchen’s living room. She presents the music she loves with all who share her passion for Jazz,
whether they’re new to the music or longtime fans.



Ms. Valade’s start-of-the art Jazz and super club is great for Detroit. People here are more appreciative of the music than other places. They’re more responsive and let you know they love you. Detroiters have the emotion and heart for the music



That’s why it’s always good to play at home. I look out there and see people who know me on a local level. Detroit’s Jazz community is very tight, like family. People connect at the Dirty Dog, which has become a friendly meeting place for the Detroit’s ever thriving Jazz scene.



Join us March 21-24 as the Dirty Dog presents the legendary Dave McMurray, playing with his band at one of his favorite clubs in one of the great music capitols of the world: Detroit, Michigan.


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

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March 15, 2018

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March 13, 2018




Shut your eyes and see.    

 James Joyce


De’Sean Jones was the first of of three saxophone players leading bands at the Dirty Dog this March. He will be followed by Alex Graham and Dave McMurray. This is a photographer’s dream. Horn players are camera magnets.







Our eyes generally gravitate to the guy swinging his curvy brassy instrument up and down and back and forth while the rest of the guys and gals in the band are caught in a static state of awe. Saxophone players have a fierceness in their eyes that calls for a closeup of their faces. The same face drifts into a dreamy far off look when its owner picks up a flute.





Most of us express our feelings with our eyes. Musicians usually don’t give us the same clues with their eyes which are shut most of the time. I have become an expert on jazz artists’ facial expressions from over shooting and from the consequential hours of editing. Digital photography has slowly dissipated all of my in-camera editing skills.







Usually we can tell when jazz artists are really getting along. These are people who habitually enjoy their work.  They are at ease with letting their joy show and since other parts are occupied they use their eyes to communicate their willingness to cooperate.






Guitarists seem always to be lost in the beauty of their new guitars, while piano players spend half their time looking over the piano for clues from other players and the other half staring down the keyboard during their solos.






Some drummers and bass players’ eyes are hard to photograph as their heads are always moving. Most concentrate so hard that that they lock onto something unseen by anyone  else until the tune is over. They often can be seen synchronizing their head movements to keep the band on beat.













The house asks us to respect the music by keeping our conversations to a minimum, the staff have learned to communicate with their eyes.


When you visit the Dirty Dog, or any first class establishment, you will have eyes on you. Eyes that will be looking out for your best interests.


The only job of the first person that you will meet at the Dirty Dog is to greet you and walk you to your table. Your journey will be followed by the watchful eyes of the staff, who for the rest of the evening will have their eyes wide open looking for the best ways to serve you.


Many visiting the Dirty Dog seem to acquire a joyous glint in their eyes, which they share with the greeter as they leave.


John Osler








One thing you can count on is that when someone does something well they will look you square in the eye. Acclaimed saxophonist Alex Graham has earned this right.






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March 12, 2018

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March 9, 2018



Photos: and



Jazz has often been called “America’s Classical music” but not all of us agree. Some believe Jazz is a strong enough genre that it can stand on its own. If fact, many feel it’s an insult to compare Jazz to Classical. However, others think it’s a compliment and by doing so, Jazz is given a proper place among some of the world’s greatest music. Where do you stand on this issue?



Here’s an excerpt of an article New York Times reporter, Jon Pareles wrote on this very topic: “Don’t Call Jazz America’s Classical Music”


In bygone decades, conflating jazz and classical music had some remedial effect; it helped non-musicians understand that jazz is a serious discipline, and helped jazz make headway in institutions, with its media image and among arts donors. Now, the equation of jazz and classical music only interferes with drawing new listeners and helping them understand what they hear.


Although Jazz and Classical music are different in many ways, they do have common traits. Generally speaking, they stand apart from the pop music world as they are both considered serious art forms.




Their compositions contain depth and complexity and present many layers of content, often giving them lasting appeal. The music demands that their performers are required to be highly trained, with many of them considered virtuosos who are respected worldwide. Their respective audiences tend to be well informed and are inclined to study the history and background of the music.



Unlike pop and folk based music, both genres are often instrumental, and categorized as long-form developmental music. This means their basic structure consists of having an exposition, followed by a developmental section and concluding with a recapitulation.



But Jazz and Classical music are completely different in many other ways, and it’s the music itself that makes them so different.  Classical music is almost always written with fixed compositions, while Jazz favors improvisation and individual interpretation. Classical is composer driven while Jazz is more performer driven.


The great orchestral leader and composer, Duke Ellington, left, performing with tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves (center), who’s taking one of his famous solos, at the 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival.  Photo:



Jazz is more contemporary and mostly rooted in African folk forms, with pentatonic and/or blues scales, and complex syncopated rhythms. Classical has its roots in Western European styles, which are based on a centuries-old diatonic-scales and more basic rhythms and “even” time signatures.




“Award-winning saxophonist, Kamasi Washington, has brought worldwide attention to LA’s current Jazz scene…”

Photo: LA Weekly



Jazz is fresh with each performance with musicians extemporaneously composing in real time through the use of improvisation whereas  Classical performances are traditionally based on pre-composed material, revitalizing scores from years (or centuries) past.







Regardless of which side you are on, it’s an interesting debate as to where to place Jazz within the world of music. Jazz stands alone as an American art form that is not only the most significant and influential genre of the 20th century, it is also one of the most important genres in the history of music. Jazz is a major part of America’s cultural identity.






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



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March 6, 2018





Last week  RJ Spangler gave us in depth descriptions of the sources for the music before Planet D Nonet played each tune.



RJ Spangler spoke to the roots of the tunes. We learned a lot about Kansas City where Bennie Moten and Count Basie spent some formative years. And then Planet D Nonet played their music in a way that we were able to feel the life of Kansas city in the 1930s. RJ and most of his bands have a serious appreciation for  the jazz artists who wrote music that reflected the lives, the times and the places that these pioneers passed through. Stories of America’s music never stop inspiring us.





RJ talked about Count Basie going to Kansas City and then for a long time not being able to accumulate enough money to move on. Kansas City had a lot of jazz clubs and a lot of jazz musicians. The pay was seldom enough to buy a ticket out of the place. Lucky for us he was stuck in KC so long that he picked up the unique musical culture of Kansas City and was influenced by the other artists stranded there on their way to New York, Chicago or Detroit where the big money was.  A few KC jazz riffs landed at the Dirty Dog last week, a product of forced inspiration.


Kansas City in the 1930s was on the path North and became the starting point for those seeking their fortunes in  the United States. Transcontinental trips at the time whether by plane or train often required a stop in the city. It was the era of the political boss Tom Pendergast. He allowed the liquor laws and hours to be totally ignored, and Kansas City became a wide open town.


Jazz musicians crowded the all night jazz joints and took part in cutting sessions that could keep a single song performed in variations for an entire night.


Kansas City was different from all other places because of the jamming all night. “And [if] you come up here … playing the wrong thing, we’d straighten you out.” 


Kansas City style jazz introduced the following:


Kansas City jazz had a more relaxed, fluid sound than other jazz styles with  a walking 4 beat feel.


The KC big bands often played from memory, composing and arranging the music collectively, rather than sight-reading as other big bands of the time did. This further contributed to a loose, spontaneous Kansas City sound.


With their extended soloing. the purpose was to “say something” with one’s instrument, rather than simply show off one’s technique.  Riffing was an integral part of Kansas City jazz with elaborate riffing by the different sections. Riffs were often improvised collectively and took many forms. Sometimes with one section riffing alone, then behind a soloist, adding excitement to the song and thentwo or more sections will riff in counterpoint, creating a hard-swinging sound. Count Basie’s oft played tunes “One O’Clock Jump” and “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” are simply complex riffs, memorized in a head arrangement, and punctuated with solos. Glenn Miller’s famous swing anthem “In the Mood” closely follows the Kansas City pattern of riffing sections, and is a good example of the Kansas City style that has been exported to the rest of the world.


Somewhere in the back of our heads are these influences. We aren’t always sure where our inspiration comes from. Occasionally we just need RJ to remind us.




Inspiration is just part of a process of creating. We don’t always realize what it was that got us to do something. This happened to me a few years ago when I was struggling with finding an image that the Detroit Jazz Festival could use on their poster.





I made numerous sketches of  singers passionately singing their hearts out. Then I added a guy playing a sax behind them and then I eliminated the singer.



I then focused on the sax player’s face to show the effort and force required to play the instrument. Then I backed off to better compose the page.




I used photos that I had shot at the Dirty Dog as reference. Among the images I had next to me were shots of De’Sean Jones. De’Sean is a real Detroit jazz musician. It comes through in his strength and force when he plays. It comes through when you hear him talk about his music. He is a thoughtful, kind and purposeful man. I had watched De’Sean play a little while  before I did the sketch to show my idea. I often worried that I was stealing his act. DeSean put my mind at ease when he told me how proud his grandmother was that he was on the Detroit Jazz Festival poster.



I am sure there will be people looking back and getting inspired by the power of Detroit’s high energy jazz musicians from the 2010s. I have been.


John Osler





March 7 – March 10



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Visit the Dirty Dog Jazz Video Gallery to view our collection. Watch Now
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
    Multi-talented saxophonist, David McMurray, will be at the Dirty Dog March 21-24. He h [..]
Dealing with writing a dissertation for finding a clinical amount of a physician? A dissertation for [..]
There are several diverse topics that you can use in writing procedure documents. Apart from this, p [..]
Each week the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe hosts live performances from the greatest jazz musicians across the country.
Dave McMurray
STARTS: Wed, March 21 2018
ENDS: Sat, March 24 2018
Jeff Canady
STARTS: Wed, March 28 2018
ENDS: Sat, March 31 2018
Kimmie Horne
STARTS: Wed, April 04 2018
ENDS: Sat, April 07 2018
David Thomas
STARTS: Thu, April 12 2018
ENDS: Thu, April 12 2018
Sachal Vasandani
STARTS: Fri, April 13 2018
ENDS: Sat, April 14 2018