The Milton Show on Monday Night

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On Monday night I went out to The Milton Show at the Harbor House. I went late so it was easy parking and headed into the place and heard the music had already started. It was the house band with Milton Hale on drums, Phillip Hale on keys, Chris Branch on sax and Greg Cook on bass.

20130924-222657.jpgLeft to Right: Greg Cook, Chris Branch, Milton Hale( behind Chris) and Phil Hale. As I walked in, I saw the tables in the front were taken and then saw Mecca (sax) sitting at a booth and she waves so I went over to sit with her. She had her sax out and was ready to join the music when the spirit moved her. Just then, John Douglas walked in and Mecca got more serious about playing. John began to warm up his trumpet.

20130924-225253.jpgAt the time, the band was playing “Little Sunflower” which is a Freddie Hubbard tune. It was a good number since both trumpet players, John Douglas and James O’Donnell, played solos on this one. The sax players, Mecca and Chris Branch also played some solos. I got to lean back in my booth and enjoy the music. Usually the sound where I sit is too loud. sitting back a little softened the sound. The first set is usually all instrumental with a lots of musicians taking long solos. Songs can last over a half an hour.

During the break I wandered around land talked to people. I talked to Scott Reiter(sax) and he introduced me to a vocalist named Nicky Pierce(I think). This was a more social evening than usual probably since I was talking with Mecca in a booth.

After the break, they played “So What”. Since I had heard this one just last week, I was doing a mental comparison in my mind. Last Friday was really extraordinary so this version was just a little more laid back. One of the reasons I like jazz is hearing how many different ways one song can be played. For me, it stays fresh that way. Everyone played and there were quite a few solos. I also like to hear how each musician interprets what a “good” solo is for a song. For me a “good” solo is one where I am not waiting for it to end. During the second set there were several vocalists. I’m not even sure what song Tosha Owens sang but she really had a good stage presence and managed to not get pushed into the background like some of the other vocalists. I enjoyed hearing her. The other vocalist is like was Nicky. she sang “Caravan”, a song I really like. I am partial to an instrumental version. She did it well and for once I didn’t mind the song with lyrics.

It was a nice evening and I left feeling happy and relaxed.

Harbor House on Monday with the Milton Show

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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.

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