Dirty Dog Jazz with the Dwight Adams Quartet

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As you may notice, this post is quite a while after the event which took place October 17, 2013. I got some feedback that was a little upsetting and it stopped me cold. It took a bit of time to process. I also didn’t go out much. The other part of the hiatus was the feeling that I was in a rut. And I was hearing the same numbers that I liked at the same places. I am in the place rut but I have heard quite a few different numbers when I have gone out recently.

When I heard the Dwight Adams was playing at the Dirty dog, I really wanted to go. At the Dirty Dog, the people really listen so that part of being there is great and they listen very quietly and still. I am one of those who move my body to the music when I feel it. Dwight is a favorite because I feel his music easily. The best place for me in this kind of environment is in a corner so I can move to the music. So when I got there I took the available corner.

Dwight was playing with musicians I had never heard him play with before. Mark Lipson was on drums. Tony Viola was playing guitar and Gary Shunk was playing the piano. Also, Bruce Caterer(sp) was on bass. Also Angie Smith did “Take a Chance on Love” and “My Funny Valentine”. They played a number called “Hibernian Nights” composed by Mark Lipson and Tony Viola added vocals to a samba.
Left to Right: Tony Viola, Dwight Adams, Bruce Caterer, and just a peek at Gary Shunk

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The music I heard during the set was different than most of the things I heard Dwight play. It may have been that he was taking the audience into consideration. So I got to hear a new side of Dwight Adams with musicians that I had not herd him play with before that evening. As usual with Dwight, his playing is great. The clarity of his notes and how he hits notes without slur or hesitation is a listeners delight. He decorates his notes with ornaments which adds such depth and feeling to his music that I can hear him through the music and I love it. All the musicians got to play solos that exhibited their strengths. All in all the set was satisfying but not in the way I had anticipated.

Walter White Quartet at Cliff Bells

I went out to hear some jazz on Saturday night, May 25, 2013. My original plan was to go to Bakers Keyboard Lounge in Detroit to see Phil Denny. Bakers is the oldest jazz club in the world and has had it’s ups and downs in the last few years. They do have great sound and have so many wonderful jazz players coming through the place.

A Facebook page said they were sold out so I called and they said they were accepting walk ins for the 10 pm show. I know a couple of musicians who were backing Phil Denny so I decided to go. When I got there, there was a line waiting to get in the door. I joined the line. I was standing behind a woman wearing so much perfume, I tried to stand downwind. I know they were going to flip the room between shows so I had thought there would be seats. On the inside, it is crowded. The sight of a long line was not reassuring. I also know the room has a lot of seats that are not good. While I was in line, I saw a musician I knew and I told him that it was this show or Walter White Quartet at Cliff Bells, another jazz club in the entertainment district of Detroit. Given the situation, he suggested Cliff Bells and the Walter White Quartet. I was all too ready to agree knowing I would not get a decent seat at Bakers.

So, I got in the car and drove down to Cliff Bells. I had good parking karma and found a spot within 50 feet of the front door. I arrived towards the end of the first set but could see it was a good decision as soon as I walked in the door and heard the music.

I got a great table right in front of the stage. During the set break, they were correcting sound issues they had during the first set. The sound guy is not humble and I was amazed to see him actually try to get the sound balanced. I got my usual club soda and lime and watched the sound show while waiting for the second set.

Tonight the Walter White Quartet consisted of Walter White (tpt), Gary Shunk (keys), Sean Dobbins (drums) and Miles Brown (bass). They started out with a song names “Kayak” which I had not heard before. I have only been going out for 6 or 7 years and am still learning so much, it was a good start.

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The next number was “Midnight” from the 1930’s as an homage to a young lady in the audience having her 30th birthday. It was not the usual. The next number was “Moanin” and if this was the only song they did, it would be enough. They did it so well it was a highlight for me. The other songs in the set were “Always and Foreever”, Walt’s Waltz and Nica’s Dream.

One of the best things about the quartet is how well they created a good energy. Walter White is so much more than good technique. He has found his voice in the trumpet, you can hear him in the music. There were some things he was doing that I haven’t heard before and I enjoyed it all. All the musicians had there own unique voice and yet they brought it together to create something very special. It is so much fun to see musicians who are having fun, enjoying what they do and giving everyone an evening to remember.