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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.
October 23, 2019




Diego Rivera (Photo/ Sara Pettinella)



Award-winning, Michigan born saxophonist Diego Rivera celebrates the success of his new CD, “Connections” at the Dirty Dog this coming week.



The new album on Posi-Tone records hit the Jazz Radio charts earning the highest debut for albums released during the week of September 16. Rivera will feature music from the album during his performances at The Dirty Dog, Wednesday October 30 through Saturday November 2.




DiegoRiveraConnections LP




Diego Rivera’s new “Connections” album


Diego Rivera is a real favorite with audiences a the the Dirty Dog where he performs with many different bands including his own group, the Diego Rivera Quartet. This multi-talented saxophonist is also a composer, arranger and educator and has been playing professionally for more than two decades.



His music blends straight-ahead Jazz with sounds influenced by his Latin background and heritage. He is also an Associate Professor of Jazz Saxophone at Michigan State where he is also an Associate Director of Jazz Studies.



Born in Ann Arbor to a Mexican-American family, Mr. Rivera is proud of his Latin heritage. His parents named him after the famous muralist, Diego Rivera, whose world-renowned work is displayed on the walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts.



While at Michigan State, Diego studied with such notables as Branford Marsalis, Ron Blake and Detroit’s own Rodney Whitaker. He began his professional touring career with the great Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.



An avid composer and arranger, Rivera has written arrangements for various recordings, projects and artists most notably for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Motor City Jazz” concert, a tribute to the music and musicians of Detroit.



His many talents have allowed him to perform at prestigious festivals and concerts in various places around the world including Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as the United States.



Mr. Rivera’s performances at The Dirty Dog, are Wednesday October 30 through Saturday November 2.



For tickets and information call 313-882-5299 or go to




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 21, 2019


Expected and unexpected results


When I make pancakes I will be happy if they turn out as described on the pancake mix box. When I cut the grass and the mower gives me the expected results I can feel that I have accomplished something. But, wow, when I paint, write or witness something that was fresh and unplanned I come alive. So much of our lives  we stay in  cruise control, content to execute our tasks as expected and live a life of certainty. However we remain a little envious when we hear about that chef or artist that is always experimenting. Maybe we need to change our routine and add some uncertainty. Most of the people we admire are those who break the mold and change our world.  Explorers in their fields like Madame Curie and Count Basie didn’t settle for the results shown on the box. They didn’t seek the expected. They were deliberately  looking for the unexpected, and they got it.





Here are three guys who were just honored for stumbling on some unexpected results. All three were physicians who got distracted and turned to science to address a need in their practice of medicine. In science they had the luxury of looking for unexpected results.


William G. Kaelin Jr., Peter J. Ratcliffe  and Gregg L. Semenza were just jointly awarded the  Nobel Prize in medicine. These three scientists made important discoveries about how cells sense and adapt to different oxygen levels  Their discoveries revealed the mechanism for one of life’s most essential adaptive processes,


As an embryo grows and develops,  the oxygen available changes as the tissues themselves change. Cells need a way to adjust to the amount of oxygen they have, while still doing their important jobs.


The three physicians “found the molecular switch that regulates how our cells adapt when oxygen levels drop, Cells and tissues are constantly experiencing changes in oxygen availability. These discoveries are of fundamental importance for physiology and could blaze the trail for new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases.”


William Kaelin argues that the temptation in medical research these days is to focus on a very specific objective, but curiosity-driven research like his can really pay off


Peter Ratcliffe said  “It is important that scientists have the courage, and are allowed to derive knowledge for its own sake — i.e., independent of the perceived value at the point of creation. And the history of science tells us over and over again that the value of that knowledge can increase” in a number of random and unpredictable ways.


All of this year’s Nobel winners in medicine discussed their approach to their research with glee and pride. As scientist they were searching for unexpected results wiile an engineer’s goal is to get expected results. They looked at their role much like an artist would. Artists look at all the possibilities. They plan ahead but things don’t always go as planned. Then  voila something unexpected shows up and off they go in a new direction. This was the path that lead to the breakthrough in the research by the Nobel Prize winners. Pragmatism, certainty and predictability are valuable virtues but when a new vision pops into your brain maybe you should give it a chance to breathe. Thankfully research scientists and jazz musicians are allowed to pursue all avenues to success.




Jazz musicians are constantly asked to adapt to changing circumstances.  Changing directions on the fly is what jazz musicians do. They take risks. We have all seen the moment when suddenly a bunch of musicians do the unexpected and spontaneously burst into new territory. Jazz can be a little untidy, unpredictable, and sometimes chock full of uncertainty, but is is sure fun to play and to listen to. It is full of unpredictable characters. Here’s one.




 Photograph: William P. Gottlieb


Thelonious Monk was a taciturn man who cared little about staying on course. Probably that is why is so revered.  He saw no reason to verbally explain what he felt his music was saying. He had a habit of getting up and dancing to the solos of his bandmates, He sought new ways of revisiting groupings of notes he’d already put in order, knowing that there were infinite possibilities . He was  stubborn and insisted  on playing slow”when he could play as fast. He played the piano with a percussive, splay-fingered playing style that shouldn’t work. He didn’t see his chords as being different, they were the logical result of countless hours of musical exploration. He was probably his own worst enemy when he refused to do what was expected of him. Unexpectedly he changed jazz.

Tenor player Johnny Griffin said Monk’s music “was like leaves on a tree. His music grew from nowhere else but inside of him.”




Just  this morning in the New York Times there was a full page dedicated to two very adventurous men.




Ed Clark


Ed Clark died last Friday in Detroit at the age of 93. He was an abstract artist who painted with a broom and broke with convention by using shaped canvases because he felt that the shapes were truer to the human field of vision. He was grounded in figurative painting in Paris where he was living hand to mouth. He started using an affordable janitor’s broom on large canvases. His work is in most of the major galleries and museums. in the world.


Dr Paul Polak


Paul Polack died recently at 86 years old. He was a successful psychiatrist who pivoted to advocating training the world’s poorest people to earn a living by selling basic necessities like clean water and charcoal. Dr Polack has come up with countless ideas to make life better for millions of people who survive on $2/day. One of his ideas was to make water containers in the shape of a wheel that could be rolled instead of carried on the head.


These guys didn’t passively seek expected results they actively pursued a path that had unexpected positive results for themselves and others. Bravo.


As a disclaimer, I am not an expert on how anyone should live their life. Not all unexpected results turn out to be life or world saving. There can be really bad endings when you veer off the road on an unknown path, but I think it is worth the risk.

For a demonstrative display  go to your local jazz club. Catch some artists discovering a new note or two, unexpectedly.

John Osler




October 23 – October 29




Chris Collins has the job of putting together an all star band. In a great jazz town like Detroit,  this is one tough editing job. Most of the artists on any Detroit jazz  list are deserving  and usually answer their phones. Chris’s primary job is to bring together talented individuals who will best create the style of music that he envisions

Next week the All Stars will again celebrate Detroit’s influence on jazz. The all stars will bring together some of our town’s greatest jazz musicians to play for what is always a knowledgeable house. They will not disappoint us.


All stars appearing this week:













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October 17, 2019




This week we profile drummer Nate Winn who is one of Detroit’s most respected musicians, frequently in demand to play with various Jazz ensembles both here at home and elsewhere around the world. He is also a member of the Detroit Jazz Festival Allstars, a group directed by Wayne State University Jazz Director, Chris Collins, that will be at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café October 23-26.



You’ll hear him playing alongside other highly respected, award-winning Detroit All-Stars such as bassist Marion Hayden, guitarist Chuck Newsome, saxophonist Chris Collins and pianist Rob Pipho,  who also plays vibes.




Drummer Nate Winn / Photo: Sonic



A dedicated musician, Nathaniel Winn discovered his love for the drums at the age of 4… a love that continues to inspire him to this day. Nate has had the pleasure to work with many world- renowned musicians such as pianist Danilo Perez, bassist Robert Hurst (also from Detroit), Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman.  Nate’s multi-faceted, unique style has given him the opportunity appear on numerous, major label albums.



His playing is not only influenced by a multitude of styles he grew up with including Jazz, Blues and Gospel but from of his favorite drummers as well.  These include Brian Blade, Kendrick Scott, and Calvin Rodgers, among others.



Nate graduated from Wayne State University and the highly respected Berklee College of Music,  with a Bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in Jazz performance. Currently, he spends time traveling the world to spread the message of love and hope through music.



Nate and the other award-winning “All-stars” wear many hats as most are performers and soloists, college educators,

composers, band leaders and much more.




The amazing bassist Marion Hayden has played with everyone

from Dizzy Gillespie to Kenny Burrell and James Carter.  She’s

currently on the faculty of the University of Michigan’s School of Music



Chuck Newsome

Guitarist Chuck Newsome, is on the faculty of Wayne State University’s School of Music



Later this month the “All-Stars” wlll be serving as ambassadors of Detroit culture as they perform in Japan at the Tottori Jazz Festival and other Jazz clubs. This was through an invitation from the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation which, like Jazz itself, is a global entity. The foundation provides needed financial support for special engagements, and performances that embrace and promote the sounds and many facets of Detroit Jazz.



chris collins


Chris Collins, saxophonist and director of Wayne State’s Jazz department and the Detroit Jazz Fest All-Stars




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 14, 2019



Jazz musicians have a way of communicating that is direct and clear. They have to if they want to make music on the fly as part of a group. They don’t have lengthy discussions before playing the next note, instead they depend on nods, glances and musical cues to let their pals know where they are going. When they are done with their tune they continue to use curt phases to talk to each other. This is called jazz talk.

Most families have inside jokes. All it takes is someone using a familiar word or phrase and the whole family cracks up. Tight groups of people sometimes create their own language, All musicians share a vocabulary, and jazz musicians have a language all their own. Many of their words have snuck into general usage, like gig. Now more and more of us are gigging. The words that they pick can be pretty efficient. Let’s take the words that they use to describe two good places to be:  “in the groove” and “in the pocket”. How wonderfully descriptive these jazzy phrases are.






A groove is what your phonograph needle spends time in when it is working right. It can also be used when you get immersed in a task and are working smoothly and efficiently.

Those who study this stuff say that  a groove is” an understanding of rhythmic patterning, feel, intuitive sense, or cycle in motion that emerges from carefully aligned concurrent rhythmic patterns that stimulate dancing or foot-tapping on the part of the listeners”. Guys who talk like this probably can’t actually play jazz. Jazz musicians would probably simply say that a groove is what a good drummer can create when he is playing  solidly and has a great feel. When a drummer can do this for an extended time it is a deep groove. This is what makes even those who can’t dance want to dance.

Being in the groove means different things to different musicians. It can be what makes the music breathe or it can make it boring. It can be supportive with a back beat or drive the band with a front beat. It is generally accepted that it is a pretty good place to be.






All the stuff that finds its way into my pockets has a relatively safe warm place. In jazz being “in the pocket” sort of means the same thing,  a comfy place to be. Jazz artist take a lot of risks, so it must be comforting to be tucked away with good friends. There are times I would like someone to put me in a safe place, but I can’t count on there being many folks interested in creating a comfortable place just for me. At those moments I listen to some piano jazz and envy the camaraderie of jazz artists.

I found this knowledgeable description of “the pocket” written by the All-About Jazz staff :
 “The pocket isn’t a place where the musician holds something — it’s an intangible place that holds the musician. While this sounds a bit odd, the closest thing that I can think of to describe it is a spiritual experience that goes beyond playing the right notes, great timing, or being in tune. The experience of playing in the pocket is more like becoming a faucet through which the music flows. Being in the pocket is not just about “locking together or “syncing up as a band. It goes beyond this to the place where the musician allows the music to take control.Most listeners can tell when a band is in the pocket because there’s a little more electricity in the playing. Being in a room with a band that’s in the pocket is like taking an exhilarating ride. These are the most memorable concerts that I’ve attended or played. When it was time to go I didn’t want to leave, no matter how tired I felt — I just wanted to stay with the music.
 The pocket is particularly important for jazz musicians because so much of what we play is improvised. Whether we’re in the studio recording or playing live, jazz musicians take a number of risks by improvising together. Jazz has more magic, more life, and more verve when the band is together in the pocket.One of my quirks as a musician is that I learn things through music and then later figure out life because of it. The pocket is no exception. I’m convinced that everything has a pocket. The pocket is a way of experiencing life so that you are in it to the fullest extent. Being in the pocket of life is about not isolating yourself. It’s also about listening to others, about not putting your own desires first, and about understanding that you’re part of something bigger. It’s not about what you can create or achieve, it’s about being part of the creative process.”  

I was a shy student waiting for a great love to come along when Frank Sinatra’s hit song In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning came along, It sounded like my biography. Sinatra recorded David Mann and Bob Hilliard’s 1955 song at a time when it would have a considerably melancholy effect on my existence. Late at night, after studies, when I was feeling sorry for myself,  I would listen to Frank sing ” you would be hers if only she would call…in the wee small hours of the morning that’s the time you miss her most of all”




One night at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe  Cliff Monear’s Trio were playing requests. A couple asked  for In the Wee Small Hours. It was played without the poignant words but it still had the same effect on me. I was completely swept up in the music along with all the other patrons who had suffered with a lonely heart at some time in their lives. Bassist Jeff Pedraz bowed the story with feeling while Cliff’s piano took the group into some memories of unrequited love. Steve Boegehold was on drums keeping the pocket secure.


DSC_4721  DSC_3272


Before Cliff started the song, he said that he hadn’t heard it for twenty years. How then could the trio give a seven minute rendition of the song? I can understand one guy interpreting a tune as he goes along but several guys. How the heck? I asked the band after the set. I got shrugs. When I talked to Cliff after his set about his trio, he looked like a child opening his Easter basket. With Jeff on bass and Stephen on drums he could ride effortlessly in the comfort of the musical flow. They provide a pocket that gave him creative freedom. He was safe “in the pocket”.

I have always loved live jazz, I like being in the presence of people who make life easier for other people. Jazz has big pockets.


John Osler




October 16 – 19




This week, pianist Cliff Monear will bring his trio to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.

“Monear’s breathy ideas leave lots of space, girding the music with exquisite tension. What gives the music personality is Monear’s suave touch, relaxed swing, fresh melodic and harmonic turns and the unpretentious way he draws on familiar influences.”

 Mark Stryker, Music Critic and author of the new book Jazz From Detroit

Get your reservations in early as Cliff has a following and they may fill the club this Wednesday through Saturday. Cliff is a piano player’s piano player. He will spend four days challenging his rhythm section to keep up. Having players like Cliff is the reason that the Dirty Dog spent big bucks for their great Steinway.


Here is Cliff.

_DSC0235  DSC_4773



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October 10, 2019


Robert Hurst



Born in Detroit on October 4, 1964, Hurst has enjoyed a exemplary career for the past 30 years, and is a highly respected composer, electric and acoustic bassist, educator, and recording artist.


He has been one of the most sought-after bassists by talented musicians from around the world, including as Paul McCartney, Charles Lloyd, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Terrence Blanchard, Tony Williams, Nicholas Payton, 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.



Robert Hurst has performed on over 150 diverse and critically acclaimed recordings. A select group of these productions have garnered him performances yielding seven GRAMMY® Awards.

He is also a major recording artist having recorded more than seven albums as a leader and 80 as a sideman.





Yusef Lateef   /  Yusef Lateef .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 Ahmadiyva Muslim Community following his conversion to Islam in 1950, becoming one of the first Jazz artists to do so.



Although his main instruments were the tenor saxophone and flute, he also played the oboe and bassoon, which was quite out of the ordinary for Jazz artists to play. He was also one of the first musicians to play an assortment of instruments from many cultures including the bamboo flute, shanai, and koto. He also blended styles 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.”



Mr. 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.




Photo / Atlantic Records



He attended Wayne State University in the 1950s. During that period, he was a leading figure of the famous Detroit Jazz scene although he was uncomfortable with the term “Jazz” and 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.



Excerpts: From his website:

Yusef Lateef introduced delightful new sounds and blends of tone colors to audiences all over the world, and he incorporated the sounds of many countries into his own music.

As a result, he is considered a pioneer in what is known today as “world music.”

As a composer, Yusef Lateef compiled a catalogue of works not only for the quartets and quintets he led, but for symphony and chamber orchestras, stage bands, small ensembles, vocalists, choruses, and various solo instrumental compositions.





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 7, 2019



This coming week trumpeter Walt Szymanski will be playing at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. Walt is exactly like what  a Walt Szymanski should be like. He is an affable, easy going guy from Detroit and is one heck of a horn player. He has a typical Detroit jazz artist’s bio. It is long and full of famous associates, impressive gigs and descriptions of the time he spent in NYC. Walt has gotten around and is now living in a suburb of Quito, Ecuador where he teaches at a university.  Jazz musicians can settle in anywhere and find a common language in their music. It may take a few moments, but most jazz musicians end up on the same beat. The rest of us can just walk through life moving at our own familiar beat,  a rhythm shared by those around us.




I bounced my children on my knees probably with the same rhythm that my dad used to comfort me. My sister and I jumped swirled and clapped to the beat coming from my parents record player. I had  rhythm, we all got rhythm. When the rhythm of life is right, everything else seems to fall into place.

When I watch a group bustling along a downtown street, I am fascinated by the different body types and strides of the pedestrians. If you look at the movement of the group en masse their feet land at the same time and there is a definite rhythm of the stream. You could put a beat to it. The individuals have adapted their movement to match those around them. We live a life sharing a beat with those around us. We are not always aware of the complex rhythmic patterns of life. There are times when we slow down and listen.  On vacation in a quiet place it may take a few days before our beat becomes one with the sound of the waves or the wind in the trees. And then there is a trip to Cuba.


Son clave 3 side and 2 side-B.png





In the New York Times’ Travel section this week was an article titled The Sweet Sounds of Cuba. It describes a  road trip through Cuba that finds each region of the island moves to its own defining rhythm.Here are some excerpts from the article by Shannon Sims.Her observations mirrored what my son Bill and I experienced on our visit to Cuba.

“Just an hour’s flight from the United States, Cuba is drenched in music. You hear it everywhere, emanating from bars or homes or religious ceremonies. For many visitors, Cuban music is defined by the traditional sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club or Celia Cruz. But Cuban music stretches far beyond those sounds; its roots draw on Africa and Haiti, France and Spain. Genres come together and break apart, like flocks of starlings at dusk, endlessly forming new shapes and sounds.

Cuban music is often described as a tree, with various primary roots that supply life for many branches. But separating the island’s music into distinct genres is an inherently flawed task — they intertwine and cross. And it’s become trickier in recent years: Styles shift with increasing speed as Cubans dive into the possibilities provided by the internet. Across the island, we met musicians taking traditional sounds and twisting them, and finding new ways to reach an audience. Cuban music is in turbo mode.

“I wish you luck in trying to describe Cuban music with words,” Claudio laughed at me as we headed home that night in Gibara, after a stop for a pork sandwich. “The way to know Cuban music is to hear it for yourself.”

Other percussion elements are usually added into a rumba composition, and soon it becomes a crowd of sounds, almost like a cascade of beats. Because rumba is polyrhythmic, with multiple rhythms happening at the same time in one song, to an outsider it can sound cacophonous and disorganized. But if you let your mind give up trying to find the rhythm, you have a better chance of actually finding it.

The percussion of rumba is spiked by call-and-response singing. For some rumba musicians and listeners, rumba is a religious experience. Listeners who are also believers in Afro-Cuban religions like Santería may experience the African gods taking control of their body, forcing them to dance and move in ways typical of that orisha.

The sound of conga is predominantly percussive: Drums of all kinds are gathered (“you just grab anything and start playing!” one onlooker explained to me), but there is usually always a higher-pitched quinto drum in the mix. The earsplitting bang of conga is made by hitting metal sticks on doughnut-shaped motorcycle brakes.

Together the instruments — the six-stringed tres, the conga drums, and the cheese-grater-like guayo scratcher — sound like rain drops, falling in different tones and at different speeds, but ultimately crescendoing to form a rolling storm, one that you can almost envision rolling across the Oriente’s green hills.

The instrument that makes changüí unique is the marímbula. The marímbula looks like a big box. On the front of the box, a row of wide metal teeth bridge over holes carved into the wood. The marímbula player sits on the box, and reaches between his or her legs to pluck the metal teeth, whose vibration builds inside the box and exits the holes with a deep bass note. Listening to the marímbula in the studio, we could feel the sounds in the bottoms of our feet first, a buzzing vibration almost demanding them to lift up and dance.”

My son Bill and I were at an open air concert in Havana, Cuba. Bill is a very good drummer and was studying with local percussionists. He was trying to get a handle on Cuban rhythms. One of his new friends invited us to hear some of the Island’s hottest salsa music. The place was packed and everyone was on their feet. They moved to the music en mass, shoulder to shoulder except for the two doofuses from the USA. It wasn’t that we didn’t make the right moves, it was that we moved at the wrong time. We both moved and clapped out of sync with those around us. We opted to remain still and smile with appreciation for the remarkable complex rhythms surrounding us. With time Bill mastered the complex pulse of the Island, I learned a deep appreciation for Bill and for all drummers.




Bill tried again and again to teach me the son clave. The five-stroke son clave pattern represents the structural core of most Afro-Cuban rhythms. All those at the concert had the clave embedded in their every move. I needed to learn this beat. Bill would clap the beat and I would match him once or twice. When I was alone I could never sustain the beat. It never happened. I guess that I am who I am and I move on my own beat.

When I hear it I can really feel the clave beat. I am moved by this beat, but I just can’t replicate it. What is going on.? What is missing?





Playing for Change features musicians from around the world, all sharing their music. take a look.


Studies have shown that North American adults are not rhythm challenged, We have plenty of rhythm, but we are just more accustomed to a regular meter. It is our music’s underlying beat. We are just challenged by more complex beats that are not common in our music.

“What you find in almost all the world’s music is that at some level, there is a regular beat,” said Edward Large, who studies the neuroscience and psychology of rhythm at Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in Boca Raton.

“Music might have a relatively complicated pattern of timing. But you still hear a basic, underlying beat—that framework that formulates the rhythm,” Large said. “We have a very strong bias toward hearing periodic regularity. Some say we actively try to impose [that regularity] on an incoming rhythm”. ( like the son clava)




Lange’s studies point out that our culture deeply influences our perception. “Culture encompasses a tremendous range of complex societal constructs, including laws, beliefs, morals, and art.  In addition, music and language from a given culture share rhythmic properties. For example, English and French musical rhythmic structures are more similar to English and French speech rhythms (respectively) than to each other, in the sense that English music is more rhythmically variable than French music, and English speech is more rhythmically variable than French speech  broader cultural linguistic experience can improve rhythm perception. These studies show that enculturation to the rhythmic aspects of music and language occurs early in development and continues into adulthood.” This may explain my struggle learning French late in life.




A recent study found that kids in North American are more adept than adults at recognizing complex musical rhythms. When we are infants we respond to both familiar and more complex foreign musical rhythms. This is good, but we can also lose the ability to discern irregular rhythms. By the time babies celebrate their first birthday, their ears are already tuned to the rhythms and sounds of their culture. One-year-olds in North America, for example, notice subtle changes in waltz-like rhythms but not in the complex dance rhythms unique to other continents. At some point I didn’t get enough Xavier Cugat spun on the Victrola and have suffered rhythmically ever since.



” Because that’s where it all started, and that’s where it all come from – that’s where I learned to keep rhythm – in church.”  Art Blakey

Art Blakey was a professional rhythmologist, he was a drummer with an unwavering solid beat. Art Blakey was as solid as his church building and as spirited as the services he . attended. My rhythm did not come from the time I spent at an all white Episcopal Church. If anyone moved to the music it was because they began to waver from standing so properly for such a long time. I am still trying to learn to go with the beat. I have to find someone who has the beat and clap along with them.




“I’m very much aware in the writing of dialogue, or even in the narrative too, of a rhythm. There has to be a rhythm with it … Interviewers have said, you like jazz, don’t you? Because we can hear it in your writing. And I thought that was a compliment.”― Elmore Leonard


I will be tapping this out on a computer keyboard, sometimes with a latin beat. It maybe never too late to get rhythm.

John Osler




October 9 – October 12




Walt was a student of Herbie Williams and Marcus Belgrave. He became the musical director for the J. C. Heard Orchestra and then spent twenty years in NYC. Walt now lives in Ecuador where he continues to compose, study, teach and chill out. We are blessed when he slips out of paradise, heads north and played a gig in his hometown at the Dirty Dog



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October 3, 2019

Detroit Jazz Birthdays for October, Part One

Pepper Adams and Kenny Garrett 


Pepper Adams / Photo:


 Pepper Adams, (Photo: Pinteres)


 Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III (October 8, 1930 – September 10, 1986)


“Pepper ” Adams was a Baritone Saxophonist and composer who was born in Highland Park, Mi. and was one of the leaders of the fervent 1950’s Detroit Jazz scene before expanding his influence on a national and international level.


He began 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 big names.


During the course of his career he also played with such notables as  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 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 during the label’s formative years.




Kenny Garrett / courtesy All About


 Kenny Garrett was born in Detroit on October 9, 1960 and was a 1978 graduate of Mackenzie High School. His father was a carpenter who played tenor saxophone as a hobby.


Over the course of his 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


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


Kenny talks about playing with Miles Davis…


“ I was in Miles’ band for about five years. I think that tag will always be there. That is five years of my life. That’s the only musical situation that I was there longer than a year. It was a good five years. I have gotten used to that. Some people became aware of me through Miles and then they would come to my concerts. I think that is part of my history and I am proud of that.


” I am still trying to carve out my own name and my own music. I just look at it as a part of history and it is going to be there.


Every time they mention Kenny Garrett, there will probably be some association with Miles Davis, but at the same time, when they mention Herbie Hancock, they always mention Miles Davis, or Wayne Shorter. You get used to it after a while. ( ”




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 1, 2019



When I stand alone in front of a blank canvas, I am seldom aware of something outside of me sending a message where I should make the first brush stroke on the canvas. I seldom stop to question what is motivating me. However most actions we take are a response to an outside influence, or maybe in the case of great art an accumulation of experiences directing the artist. Sometimes we just can’t help but respond to something that moves us. We react by retelling the message in our own voice. In music this is sometimes a deliberate act called call and response.





Call and response is a style of music where there are two succeeding phrases of music  played by different musicians. The second phrase is a direct commentary on the first, hence, call and response. It is a common pattern of human communication.

Call and Response is one of the most basic musical concepts in music. Although the use of call and response is found as far back as the middle ages, music with “opposite voices” that started in African work songs can still be heard in modern jazz.

The ships that carried enslaved Africans also carried call and response music with them to the New World. The simplicity of the form was probably the reason it has survived. It was first heard in chants as work was done. It was inclusive.  It allowed, maybe even expected that everyone be part of the response. For all the right reasons call and response has survived through the centuries in various forms of cultural expression—in religious observance, in public gatherings, in sporting events, in children’s rhymes, and in all of our music influenced by African American music including soul, gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk, hip hop and jazz.


The call and response figures we recognize in our music today began in African traditions and eventually found their full expression in blues, spirituals and jazz.


One of the most popular forms of call and response in music is ‘the verse and the chorus.

It is what you think of when you think of gospel music, It is when the pastor or song leader calls out or sings a line, and the congregation or choir responds.

Dennis Slaughter has written:

“Gospel music has a history which can be traced to the 18th century. During this time, hymns were lined and repeated in a call and response fashion and the Negro spirituals and work songs came on the scene. Because the enslaved Africans attended their masters’ worship services, the seventeenth century influences on Negro spirituals and work songs were traditional hymns the enslaved Africans heard in worship. Worship services served several purposes; not only were they a means by which the Africans could be monitored, but they also served as a reinforcement of the slavery indoctrination. Quite often readings were from St. Paul whose message was that good servants should be  loving, obeying, and trusting of one’s master.  The worship music (hymns) of the white masters became the backdrop for the music the enslaved Africans would use at their eventual worship meetings


Call and response fostered dialogue, helped bridge generations and has been an important component of oral traditions in the music of Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize. and many nations of the diaspora, All of this ended up in New Orleans



Jazz originated in New Orleans.  It has always been a mish-mash of a genre, drawing inspiration from the blues, ragtime, West African music, and European Band music, all of which have some elements of call and response.

This eclectic mix worked, and jazz became an original American art form. All of this blending created complex music. This complexity sometimes requires a level of concentration that sometimes sends casual listeners looking for a time out. We all recognize and are drawn back to the music when suddenly we hear a little familiar call and response refrain. It makes us feel like maybe we understand something about this difficult music.

Call and response doesn’t mean call and copy. That could be boring like a conversation where everyone one agrees with everything. Jazz is seldom boring.




Musicians, teachers, pastors, parents and anyone else who is trying to recapture someone else’s attention will often use the great communication tool, call and response

Call and response is a great way to speak directly to the listener. In live performances  performers use call and response as a way to connect and sometimes reconnect with their audience.


Here are 5 types of call and response phrases used by jazz artists.


Compiled by Steve Treseler


1. Imitation

The response copies the call.Most jazz musicians find excessive imitation annoying, so they use it sparingly on the bandstand.

2. Question and Answer

Same words, much different meaning. What’s the difference? You may have noticed your voice raised in pitch at the end of the question phrase. Musically, we can play a question phrase by ending with an ascending interval. We can play an answer by ending with a repeated or descending interval.

3. Statement and Commentary

Originally an instrumental response to a vocalized phrase.

4. Affirmation

A short phrase affirming the statement.

5. Surprise

An unexpected and startling response to mix things up.


Here are some call and response attention getters for a classroom


Compiled by Elizabeth Mulvahill

For Quieting A Noisy Classroom


Teacher says: “When I say PEACE, you say QUIET. Peace…”  Students respond: “…Quiet!”

Teacher says: “Hocus, pocus.”   Students respond: “Time to focus!”

Teacher says:  “Jazz hands.”  Students stop everything, look at teacher and show jazz hands.

Teacher says: “Everybody listen.” (in sing-song voice)  Students respond: “Right now!”






I am about to begin on an adventure. It would ordinarily be a low risk venture as it will be a painting and only I can be the victim of a failure. This project however involves a second artist in a collaborative endeavor adding an element of risk.

Annually our church has an arts program that is a Call & Response event. It is a dialogue between Artists and Poets that goes like this. Each participating poet brings several poems, while visual artists bring a piece or two that might inspire the poets. Each artist choses a poet and each poet picks an artist. They then try to decipher the piece of work that they have chosen and create a work in response. The work is displayed and at some time after that the artists and poets gather to explain why they painted the paintings and poems that they submitted and and why they responded the way that they did. . Listening to artists talking about their art wears thin after a few minutes. This event is different in that the artists are talking about their response to someone else’s thoughts. I look forward each year to this evening, because of the quality of the discussion

This year I have chosen a poem by Mary Schmidt, Stopping on a Bridge on a September Morning.  In the poem she speaks of stopping on a bridge, being overcome by the peacefulness of the moment and filled with personal memories.

I will be doing a painting in response to her poem.  I am just beginning the creative process, but first I think that I should start with acknowledging that I will be heavily influenced by Edvard Munch and Marc Chagall.




They were both visually creative geniuses and both dove deep inside themselves for subject matter, like Mary has done. Munch also used bridges a lot in his paintings,








Can You Hear Them Speak?


I am not sure that trying to understand the structure of jazz will help me better enjoy listening to jazz in an intimate jazz club like the Dirty Dog. I am usually content to live inside my cone of wonder and amazement. The exception might be when I hear the artists talk to each other. Sometimes they will include me in on the conversation when they are  involved in a deliberate call and response. They will be smiling at each other and I get to knowingly grin back at them.











Kevin Jones is a percussionist, educator and band leader. He has worked extensively with icons of the music industry like Whitney Houston, The Isley Brothers, Reggie Workman, Archie Shepp, Charles McPherson, Talib Kibwe, and Winard Harper.

Tenth World is a group formed by percussionist Kevin Jones and pianist/composer, Kelvin Sholar through a partnership created back in 1999 in New York City. Together Jones and Sholar formed a collective of young talented master musicians on the cusp of realizing a new and creative sound that combined the harmonic sensibilities of Jazz and Soul with the rhythms of the African Diaspora. The nucleus of Tenth World formed around Kelvin Sholar’s group Esoterica which was a quartet. This week features Damon Warmack on Bass, Allen Dennard on Trumpet, DeSean Jones on Saxophone, Nate Winn (Wed/Sat) and Madison George (Thurs/Fri) on Drums.

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September 24, 2019

scott gwinnell@DirtyDog


Pianist Scott Gwinnell presents his Strayhorn Project this week at the Dirty Dog. Photo by John Osler



To coincide with his performances this week at the Dirty Dog we are doing a profile of Detroit pianist Scott Gwinnell. This multi-talented artist is not only a highly trained Jazz pianist, but also a composer, band leader, arranger, educator and much more.



The Dirty Dog Jazz Café prides itself as a Jazz club that showcases the best talent Detroit has to offer. In doing so, this venue keeps quality Jazz alive in our community.



Scott Gwinnell is a regular at the Dirty Dog who headlines there on an annual or semi-annual basis. He now has quite a following who come out to hear his renditions of standards and classics as well as many of his own compositions. His playing is flawless and can be hypnotic at times.



His expressive touch, “draws us in” as he creates interesting rhythmic figures with his left hand while playing, well-crafted, delicate melodic lines with his right. All in all he has complete creative control of the instrument which translates the musician’s emotions and musical ideas to the audience. He’s also a Jazz historian who’s latest work is his Scott Gwinnell Strayhorn Project.



dukeEllington and Billy Strayhorn


Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington / Photo:



The name of his current band reflects this and is called the Strayhorn Gwinnell Quintet in honor of the great Billy Strayhorn, lyricist, composer, pianist and arranger who was Duke Ellington’s musical partner for more than 30 years. Together they wrote some of the most significant Jazz standards in the history of Jazz, memorable songs such as “Take the A Train”, “Lush Life” and countless others.



Many of these Jazz masterpieces will be included in their sets at the Dirty Dog where they’ll be from Wednesday, September 25th through Saturday, September 28th. The band consists of some great local talent such as Emma Aboucasm, vocals, Janelle Reichman on tenor saxophone, Rob Bickley on bass, Pete Siers on drums, with Scott Gwinnell, arranging and on piano.



Great music, outstanding musicians and a perfect location. Don’t miss it!


For tickets and reservations call the Dirty Dog Jazz Café at 313-882-5299.




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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September 18, 2019



An appreciative audience at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe  /  Photo by John Osler


Welcome to part six of our continuing series on the “art of listening to Jazz”.    Jazz is attracting new fans every day. It’s one of the few genres that keeps growing and  has stayed in “style”  for several decades,  since the late 19th century!



Listening to Jazz can be quite different than most other styles of music. The music is usually more complex. There’s so much to listen for and like other art forms, the more you understand its history, content and structure, the more there is to appreciate. On the other hand, all that really matters is if you like it or not – if it “inspires” you in some way, or you feel emotionally moved by it.



Over the years, many people have told me they’d like to listen to more Jazz but they don’t “understand it”.  Others said they feel awkward in live Jazz situations because they don’t know “how to act” or when to applaud a musicians’ solos.




AppreciativeDetroitJazzFestivalAudience for StanleyClarek2019: DetoitNews


An attentive audience enjoying the music of  bassist Stanley Clarke  and his band at the 2019 Detroit Jazz Festival

photo: Detroit News



As we listen to Jazz it’s helpful to listen carefully to its compositional elements such as its complex harmonies, intricate rhythms, creative arrangements and other elements. And, we also become aware of its spontaneous nature, and use of improvisation by skilled musicians, which is why Jazz is so exciting, especially when performed live.



This is because live Jazz really encourages the audience to be attentive and concentrate on what they’re hearing to fully appreciate what’s being created in the moment. It’s the spontaneity that keeps Jazz fresh and why no two performances of the same piece are alike.



Although Jazz is very “free” and encourages individual interpretation, the music for the most part is built upon the following basic structure. Most pieces start with an introduction, followed by the theme or “head”. Then each musician will take turns with their solos, reinterpreting the melody, harmonies and rhythms of the theme.



Sometimes just the “melodic” instruments, such as the saxophone, trumpet, flute, etc., will solo. Other times they’ll include the rhythm section, comprised of the piano/keyboards, bass and drums/percussion. After this “developmental” section of solos, the theme or “head” returns to close out the piece.



Saxophonist Diego Rivera and bassist Rodney Whitaker trading solos at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe. Mr. Rivera is performing with his group at the Dirty Dog October 30-November 2. For more information go to the website or call 313-882-5299.






Photo by John Osler



It is in the solos where we hear the most significant artistry in Jazz and that is the use of improvisation. No two solos are identical because the musicians are composing “on the spot”, usually staying true to and playing off of the basic melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structure of the piece.



This is why it’s important to be an attentive listener. If not, you miss the true essence of the music. This is also why there is a certain code of listening behavior with live Jazz.



As we mentioned earlier, listeners show appreciation and feel free to applaud after each solo within the piece itself. They generally keep their conversations to a minimum out of respect for other audience members and for the musicians themselves who are spontaneously playing, composing and communicating with each other and with the audience.



Musicians have often said how much they love playing at the Dirty Dog. They say it’s because it’s “all about the music”. It respects the art of listening to Jazz by creating the perfect listening environment. Listeners keep their conversations to a minimum much like they would in a Classical music setting. It’s all about concentrating on the music itself, while appreciating the art of the performance.




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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