Last night, I went to Bert’s Jazz Room in Detroit, MI located in the Eastern Market or the largest farmer market in the area for a bit of jazz, The group was the John Douglas Quartet who of one of my favorites. The group plays from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m.. Last night the quartet was John Douglas (tpt), Michael Malis (keys), Ib Jones (bass)and Alex White(drums). Rafael Statin(sax) was also there and played. All better than average musicians.
There are 3 hour long sets. It is usual for each set to have a unique characteristic. My favorite is the second set. The first set is a warm up and the crowd is there for dinner and usually loud making it hard to hear the music. The second set is usually the best set of the evening or me. The musicians have meshed and are playing easily together. The songs are usually standards and done well. The third set from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. And brings in other musicians getting off their gigs and winding. Sometimes the 3rd set has musicians who have had just a little too much and the set can be great or really bad. The musicians who have had too much all seem to think the playing is great.
So, I ordered my chicken wings and had a club soda and lime. Since I am the sober one in the place, I get to enjoy the music unfiltered. I have to say the reason I like the John Douglas Quartet is John Douglas. The sound of his trumpet just pierces the air and enters my brain as soon as he starts to blow. When I first started going, I waited for his solos. Now, I have learned how to enjoy the gestalt of the group. And for me last night was good.
The set started with “Softly as the morning sunrise”. It is one of my favorites and set the tone for the rest of the set. I settled in and lost myself in the music. Michael Malis really stepped up last night and did some great innovative licks on the keys. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.