PD9 Township Jazz Project at Motor City Wine

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Last Sunday night, December 15, 2013, I went to Motor City Wine to see the PD9 Township Jazz Project and have dinner in a pop-up restaurant featuring the food of Chef Jesse Knott. I has heard the music before and really liked the program. The menu looked great and I especially wanted the seared lamb chop and maybe the Jameson barley mushroom soup. The pop-up restaurant started at 5p.m. And the music started at 7p.m. I decided to get there about 6:30p.m. to take advantage of both.

All I had to do was look outside to know that even though it was a Sunday evening I would need a lot more time to get to to Motor City Wine than usual. I got there about 7p.m. and there were no parking spots left in the in the parking lot or on the same side of the street. I drove through again and saw a spot where I could park and slid my car into a small space and went in the back door. The place was absolutely jammed. There was no place to sit. I talked to the owner David A-P and he said the chef was in the weeds from the beginning. So, the menu was wildly popular and they were out of food. So, no dinner. I found later that they were waiting over a hour for food. The bar was out of my favorite drink so I had the San Pelligrino grapefruit drink.

The second wave of customer were for the music. I knew the music would be the kind I like and I knew some people would leave after they finished their dinner. So, I listened and kept my eye out for people leaving. With the snow deep and the temperature frigid, it is sometime hard to decide if people are leaving or going for a smoke since smoking is not allowed inside in public places. I finally got a seat at a table with a lady and her husband. And it was a short wait. I could finally just sit down and enjoy.

I have been listening to South African jazz and pop for over thirty years. A lot of the music is joyful and just make me happy when I listen to it. I really like the complex rhythms that usually are a part of the music. And some of this music makes me want to dance and at home I dance around the house to some of the music they would be playing this evening.

One of the numbers they did was an Abdullah Ibrahim( formerly Dollar Brand) called “Cape Town Fringe”. I like the melody on this number and it could go through my mind for hours very happily and I have enjoyed it for years. This evening, the band brought it back to mind and did a great job with the arrangement. Musically, tonight the number was more complex than my usual version but it was possibly more enjoyable since it was live and kept the ‘feeling’ of the original.

They did a few Brotherhood of Breath songs. As I listen again to Brotherhood of Breath, it has a sound of jazz that is “more jazzy than Abdullah Ibrahim but still retains the South African feel of memorable melody and complex rhythms. I’m not sure if they played “Country Cooking”. I forgot to take notes since the music was so good. What I can say is ” Country Cooking” is a favorite of mine and I think it was played.

One of the songs was a number commemorating Steve Biko. I remember hearing of his death and the song brought back the memories of that era. The song was haunting as are my thoughts about his death. The band did bring it back around to a more cheerful ending to the program.

Detroit Concert of Colors…

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Yesterday was the last day for the Concert of Colors this year. The festival has three stages and there were things I wanted to see all day long. I delayed going to midtown Detroit just a bit due to rain since my plans included starting at the outdoor stage.

The first group on my plan was Wissal belles as an Arab fusion group combining Arab, klezmer, classical Indian and American influences. They were on the last few numbers and there were a few drops of rain.

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They has a mandolin, guitar, and clarinet. The percussion was a a skin stretched over a rim in several sizes. There was a stringed instrument I hadn’t seen before. The music was melodic and the real difference I heard was in the percussion which was more pronounced and a part of the music than most of the music I hear.

A stand up comedian named Horace Sanders did an attempt at comedy while one group was tearing down and the next group was setting up and doing the sound check. It was not the best.

The next group was Ben Sharkey named after the vocalist. It is a Detroit group and I have not seen them. I had seen all the musicians(Kris Kurzawa, Takashi Io, and Nate Winn) except the vocalist Ben Sharkey. The music was loud enough to vibrate my body at this point. He is very good and I enjoyed most of the set. As a vocalist, he uses his voice as an instrument. On his own compositions, his words were supposed to tell the story with the music as background. At first, the mic was muffled and improved so that the last few songs were really good.

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The next set was jazz billed as Sean Dobbins and is my home. I had seen all the musicians(Sean Dobbins, Marcus Elliot, Ralph Tope and Chris Codish). I stayed for a number for two. They were as usual good. I wanted to catch a bite to eat before the next set and left for the food court.

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The food court was full and the selections were different than the previous day. There was no short cake so I bought the chicken and waffles. The server put maple syrup on the waffles and some of it migrated to the chicken. It was so good(it may not have been that good but I was so hungry) except for the chicken with the maple syrup drips.

The next set was Calypso Rose with Universal Xpression. I like the reggae beat and was looking forward to the set. The mic was muffled again and it was hard to understand anything. The spokesman who I think was call Mellowman said things that were just no clear due to the mic. After a few thoroughly enjoyable numbers, they introduced Calypso Rose.

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There was another two tier key set up to the left and a trumpet with two saxes. The mic has cleared slightly for Calypso Rose so she was a little clearer. This is the kind of music that lightens my mood and it did.

I left Calypso Rose to get to a set where I had no idea of what I would hear. The group was called Samba Mapangala which is basically an East African dance band.

20130708-123111.jpgSo, for the next hour and a half people danced. The seats vibrated with the music and as the dancing took off, the beat of the feet of the dancers on the floor began to add to the movement of the seats. I can remember sitting at the top of the venue a couple of years ago. At the top the vibration is magnified. The music was electrifying. People of all ages, sizes and colors were dancing with each other in a concert of colors. Walking back to the car, I passed the Chris Canas Blues Band and was too tired to stop and listen for more than a few minutes.

There was only one splash of fireworks in the sky on the way home and I arrived to find a calm and hungry dog. And there is the Paradise Valley Festival at Hart Plaza weekend after next.