Changed Perspective


Credit: MacMillan Dictionary

Last night was the first night of the Detroit Jazz Festival and I didn’t go. I got dressed and ready. I realized I was really tired and just did not want to be there in the huge crowd.

This last week I have had insomnia. My dog, Bonnie, gets up each morning at 7:30 a.m. and also wants to go out at about 3:00 a.m. Yesterday Bonnie went to the kennel for the weekend since I was not planning on being home a lot. She is in a play room all day and walks in the door without hesitation when I take her there.

The first night is usually a showcase of the various upcoming acts. The crowds are huge. Walking anywhere is blocked by people. As an introvert, it is not a great place for me. I got a great night of uninterrupted sleep and feel good and ready for three days of jazz.

There was a time in my life when I would have gone without paying attention to how I felt. I have learned to pay attention. I used to be afraid I would miss something. Now, I can leave when I have had enough knowing that feeling good is more important than anything I may miss.

Today I am refreshed and ready to enjoy.

Bagger Lottery


The other day I went grocery shopping at my favorite store. I was able to shop during a time when there are not many shoppers. I am usually able to get through the checkout lines without much waiting. During the slow times, the batters cover several lanes. This means I can pick it the checkout cashier and not the bigger.

I picked a cashier I had never seen before since there was no waiting at her lane. She handed me a store discount card and asked me if I had an email. I do have an email address. I got a discount and am not sure if I am supposed to register it with my email or what.

The bragger asked my if I wanted paper or plastic and I made my choice. Each bagger packs things differently. I hadn’t seen this one before. I’m sometimes think the bagger makes an assessment of the shopper. Or, maybe they pack the bags the way they do just because that is the way they pack the bags. I had an average amount of groceries. Some how it required 10 bags.

When I got home and checked the bags as I was getting them out of my trunk, I found each bag had very few items. Some bags had only two items. It is better than jammed full which causes the bags to break. Do they think I can’t handle over five pounds? This way of packing just seems wasteful.

I picked up all ten bags and carried them into the house in one trip. The error I have made in the past with this type of packing is not getting all the bags out of the trunk. This time I did and it all turned out well.

Mike Jellick Quintet and The Funhouse


Last night, Wednesday, August 28, 2013 was a trip into the unexpected. I was in one of my usual ruts and wearing the rut deeper. I went to Northern Lights Lounge to see The Mike Jellick Trio. And last night it was a quintet. There were two additions during the first set. Jesse Palter, a vocalist, was in from Los Angeles. And Marcus Elliot, a saxophonist, was the other addition. I first saw Mike Jellick as the piano player for Jesse Palter at Cliff Bells in Detroit. They were much different than they are now. Both have much more depth and character to their performances now. I also saw Marcus Ellliot for the first time several years ago at Bakers Keyboard Lounge. And he is also much improved. I’ve learned that the very good performance that does not touch me emotionally from a young performer may be just a matter of a little time before they give a brilliant emotionally charged performance.

20130829-172129.jpg I came to see this. (Mike Jellick, Miles Brown and Jesse Kramer)

20130829-172249.jpgAnd got this. In this picture, Jesse Palter is the addition. I got so into the music that I forgot to get a picture of Marcus Elliot who was a big part of the reason the music made me forget about anything else.

Although I sat in the back since it was crowded when I arrived, the sound was good and is something I really like about the place. On the first number, Jesse Palter used her voice as if it were an instrument and was most like a clarinet. Marcus was on the soprano sax during that number. They all worked together as one shifting from one instrument to another seamlessly. During the set as Jesse was singing vocals, it was so refreshing to hear a vocalist enunciate making every word understandable. During the set I got my dinner of beef nachos. They went cold while I listened.

The last song of the set was “Bye, bye Blackbird” and is one I enjoy. She did not make it overly sad or snappy. And I finally got to my cold nachos. It was enough for at least three meals. They are good. The only things that could be improved is if it had fresh salsa and the jalapeño peppers were fresh. All the other veggies are fresh and flavorful.


The quintet became a quartet losing Marcus Elliot during the second set. The quartet played “Blue Skies”. The pacing and tempo reminded me of a Frank Sinatra version I have heard with a completely different voice. All in all it is a pleasure to hear the musical growth of Mike Jellick, Marcus Elliot and Jesse Palter.

I then headed to Motor City Wine to see Skeeto’s Funhouse.

And I expected to see Kris Kurzawa, Skeeto Valdez, Takashi Iio and Phil Whitfield. This is what I saw.


Phil Whitfield, a Canadian, was stopped at the border crossing for an invalid visa which he will take care of by next week. So, Skeeto called in the reserves or four saxes, one trumpet a guitar and different keyboard player. It was a shock. I can’t remember what they were playing as I walked in. Takashi took me aside and explained the situation. They did sound good though. The last number they played was “Isn’t She Lovely”.

All in all it was an evening I didn’t expect. And I’m glad to have that kind of surprise in my life.

Harbor House on Monday with the Milton Show


Left to Right: Oliver Nevels, Greg Cook, Milton Hale, Chris Branch and Phil Hale.

On August 26, 2013, I went down to the Harbor House to see the Milton Show. It was supposed to start at 10:30 p.m. and go until 2:00 a.m.. I got there at 11:35 p.m. and the music had not started. The owner of the Harbor House was searching for the musicians and quite upset. There was a much larger crowd than usual since the crowd was a combination of the after the Tiger Baseball game crowd and the music crowd. The staff was larger than usual and the service was good despite the numbers. I hadn’t been there for a while so there were lots of hugs.

There were so many very good musicians that the house band did not play alone for the first set. The original house band for the evening was Milton Hale(drums), Phil Hale(keys), Greg Cook(bass), Chris Branch(sax) and Oliver Nevels(guitar). The set was all instrumental even though there were a few vocalists in the house. Some of the vocalists showed up around 1:30 a.m.. I left at about 1:45 a.m. which was before the second set started so I have no idea how many vocalists sang.

With the large number of excellent musicians, the actual numbers have to be ones that all the musicians know or can at least fake fairly well like “Moanin'”. The group of musicians there all play well with others so the solos were short and sweet. What I like best about this kind of night is how the musicians comp each other. I was sitting towards the back but I could still hear when Dwight Adams started playing his trumpet. His sound reaches straight into my brain and lets the music flow through me.

20130827-104126.jpg In the picture above you can see John Douglas and Sabrina comp the other musicians. This makes such a full and rich sound totally unlike the normal trio or quartet. It is a different experience. Sometime you see musicians experiment with something a little different as well.

20130827-104817.jpg in the picture above Reichlan Small who usually play guitar is trying out jazz violin.

On this one I can’t go into much detail about the individual playing. I can say that this is the kind of music I feel and it opens my heart and brings joy to my world.

I left feeling emotionally satisfied knowing that staying longer would not improve my well being event though the crowd was large and there was a promise of more music to come.


Sunday Night at the Cadieux Cafe


a photo of a table top at the Cadieux Cafe.
The Cadieux Cafe is on the Eastside of Detroit and the home of Feather bowling. It is a Belgian cafe and specializes in mussels. A lot of people come to the Cadieux for an afternoon of feather bowling followed by a mussels dinner. To score in feather bowling, one rolls a faux cheese wheel down an alley and get as close to the feather as possible.


The Cadieux Cafe also has a regular Soul Jazz Sunday music program. Not all of the music is actually “Soul Jazz”. I haven’t been there for a long time and decided to give it a try last night. A big part of the draw was the hot wings. The hot wings are a special treat for me. The heat of the wings is enough to clear any allergic reaction to pollen. And they include a rich, creamy bleu cheese dressing as a dip which cuts the heat go the wings. In biting into a wing, there is the smooth cheese followed by the heat of the wing. They are served with hand wipes due to the inevitable mess.

I arrived after the band was supposed to start and they hadn’t started since they were waiting for one of the band members. Last night is was the Mark Lipson Quartet. The quartet was Mark Lipson(drums), Scott Gwinell(keys), Steve Wood(tenor sax) and Miles Brown(bass). Individually, they are all good musicians and I wanted to see what they would do.

20130826-092830.jpgLeft to right: Miles Brown, Mark Lipson, Scott Gwinell and Steve Wood.

They started with “It Could Happen to You” which is an old standard. As I expected, all the musicians played well. The second number was a composition by Mark Lipson. After the second number, Mark pulled out a tip jar. This is a no cover event and the pay is not much. He said that if we were in New York, we wild be paying a $20 cover. He was accurate. In New York, everyone has a $20 cover and it is not the case in Detroit. The last number of the set was “Raunchy Rita”.

I found something out about myself. I like music that stimulates me when I go out. The music they played was pleasant. All the music was played at the same tempo. “Raunchy Rita” had a little oomph though. I got so relaxed thatI was afraid I would need a designated driver to get me home. So , I left after the first set.

Getting Ready


Photo by Crains Detroit

Next week at this time, I will probably be listening to some jazz from someone that I have not heard. It is the time of year for the annual Detroit Jazz Fest on Labor Day Weekend.

There are four stages that run from noon to about 10:00 p.m. each evening. Then all the clubs in Detroit open the doors and have more music. It is free. There are volunteers that are picking up the musicians at the airports and getting them back. The volunteers act as security at each of the stages. Some are driving golf carts to get musicians from one end of the event to the other. It is a huge volunteer effort. Some of the audience bring coolers filled with food so they can stay all day and not have to spend anything.

A few years ago, I started buying tickets. The tickets get seats up front at three of the stages. We get a catered dinner, parking and a clean bathroom. We also get free water and coffee and a lounge area. Some of the businesses support the event there is a JP Morgan Chase stage, an Absopure stage, a Mack Ave(record label) stage and the Carhartt Stage. Most of the musicians on the Mack Ave label play in the concert.

This week I will study the schedule and plan who I want to see next weekend knowing things will change and I will love every minute of it.

Wayne Shorter’s punishment

In honor of Wayne Shorter’s 80 th birthday….


Wayne Shorter

In a 2012 interview, Wayne Shorter described a life-changing incident.

One day when he was in high school, Shorter, who was not a musician at the time, was called to the vice-principal’s office, “and there’s my mother and father, and they had all the forged letters I wrote, signing a doctor’s name, my parent’s name, and everything like that.”

“I was put in the music [theory] class because I played hooky, and the teacher was a disciplinarian—when people were talking in the back of the room, he took the chalk and threw it at them.”

“This teacher said that music could take form in three avenues. He had a record of a lady from Peru named Yma Sumac; she had that range—high octaves and all that stuff. Then he brought out another record, Igor Stravinsky’s The rite of spring, which is happenin’. The third record he pulled out was

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Once Upon a Time

Just my cup of tea….



Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night.

A tall, dark, and handsome knight was bored out of his mind.

Far, far away, a damsel was in distress.

The knight woke up and smelled the coffee.

The time had come to cut to the chase.

So he put the pedal to the metal.

He went the whole nine yards.

Then he went the extra mile.

He was careful not to burn any bridges along the way.

But he did break a leg.

It was nothing to sneeze at.

He took two cookies and saw the doctor in the morning.

Then he felt snug as a bug in a rug.

He turned nutty as a fruitcake and barked like a dog.

Unfortunately, he was barking up the wrong tree.

Fortunately, he had an ace up his sleeve.

Until he lost his shirt.

So he followed his nose.


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Clean Water Fresh Air Contaminated Parks

The pet coke is being moved and will be gone since Detroit Bulk Storage did not get a permit. However, if the permit is granted, it may be right back. Their solution to the blowing problem for the company is to spray the pile with epoxy.


We are told the water is safe. The air is clean. But it is unsafe to play on the swings and slide because the park next to where the Petroleum Coke is stored on the Detroit River is contaminated.


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Adventurous Jazz


Last night, August 22, 2013, I finally got out for some music. I went to Motor City Wine to see the Michael Jellick Trio. This one is a gig rather than a jam so it is much more unified event without trying to integrate many musicians.

It was a small crowd which is ambiguous situation for me. It means much less ambient noise. I worry the bar owner will cancel. Last night, it allowed the musicians to experiment a little. I had planned to go to Cliff Bells after one set but the quality of the music kept me for the second set.

The sound here is such that it is a good listening event. They did “One Day My Prince Will Come”. The way this group does it has made it one of my favorites. When I hear the first few notes, I begin to smile. Each time, the intro is different and it is a new song each time. After the number, I was thinking how much I liked it when a friend sitting with me commented on how beautiful it was.

This trio has an amazing calming effect on me. It makes for great sleeping when I get home. Michael Jellick plays with so much complexity that my brain gets tired. Last night, the musicians were on an experimental playground. Michael was changing the volume inside some of the numbers. Michael also did a lot of tempo changes last night. The other kept up with all the changes making for a great sound.

The drummer, Jesse Kramer, kept up with all of it. During one number he used his brushes three ways for three different sounds matching Michael’s play with volume. Last night he used some sticks that had another different sound. After the evening was over, I talked to him and found out it was many little bamboo skewers taped together. Most young drummers do their solos as long and loud. Jesse shows a subtlety and comprehension not usually seen in young drummers.

Eric Nachtrab is relatively new to this trio and is a good fit. His solos are not too long. I am slowly seeing his musical character revealed . Most important though is that he completes the group unified sound.

So, my brain was worn out when I left for home and I was happy,


A small clip from early in the evening….