The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe – The Music

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The Dirty Dog is a great place to go for music. It has really excellent food. The sound is good. They ask patrons to keep the conversation down during performance. The music is almost always a real gig. You know who and what you are getting when you walk into the place.

A friend and I saw the Rayse Biggs Quartet last Thursday. Thursday is a “no cover” day for the most part. They do want you to order food. There are sides and appetizers available for the frugal.

20131012-161807.jpgLeft to Right: Gayelynn McKinney, Ib Jones, Rayse Biggs, and on the screen you can see the hands of Buddy Budson.

The first number they played was “Oriental Folk Song” which is a Wayne Shorter composition. I really like the melody on this one and was pleased to hear it. I don’t hear it often. sometimes I tend to go see the same folks play and altering my choices can renew my joy in the music. this set was one of those that pushed me back into music. Also, Thursday is a quiet night and it is so nice to sit and listen and not have a loud table right next to me. It was about the music. They also did “First Light” by Freddie Hubbard and the flugelhorn was wonderful. And “Break City” by Horace Silver was another number. For me, this was an especially good set since I do not hear these numbers often.

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Friday Night Music at Bert’s Motown Room

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Left to right: Mike Malis on keys, John Douglas on trumpet, Alex White on drums and Ib Jones on bass

After my visit to Cliff Bells on Friday night, I went over to Bert’s Motown room. Sometimes I feel as if I am personally wearing a rut in the streets of Detroit going to see the John Douglas Quartet at Bert’s Motown Room. It has a small cover of $5 and it is one I pay knowing the music will be well worth it. I got there when they were on break. I saw someone I knew and we had a pleasant chat waiting for the music and made sure I got back to my table before the music started.

The quartet started with “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” And later played “So What” another favorite.It is one of my favorites and probably why I like this venue so much. For this venue, the mic is open with the approval of John Douglas. Both David Greene and Mark Croft, trumpet players joined in the set. There was also another trumpet player and I did not know his name. I was ready to throttle him since he was standing in front of me for a good part of the song talking to another trumpet player. He did move before I got up and did something. After the noise of their conversation and view blockage ended, I was able to listen the way I like. One of the trumpet players was sitting at the next table was playing along softly and another was plying softly behind me. Not only did I have live music,I had a quadrophonic experience. It was a relaxing and good experience.

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Music Triple Play

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Last Wednesday, July 17, 2013, I went out for music and the music and the energy led me to three different places and basically three different musical vibes.

The first place I went was Northern Lights Lounge which is in the the thriving, energetic midtown area. I go there quite a few Wednesday evenings to see the Mike Jellick Trio. When I first started going, it was a quiet bar. Now, more often than not, it is crowded. The trio has built quite a following. This night it was not the usual trio. It was Mike Jellick (keys), Ben Rolston (bass) and Stephen Boegehold (drums).

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On the food, this time I decided to go with my old favorite of Beef Nachos. I got enough food for two days. It is spicy, cheesy and best of all they use fresh tomatoes, onions and green peppers. It is served with a salsa and sour cream. It was good.

They did play “Caravan” and as usual it was different than anyone done before that I can remember. This is a song that does not tire me especially when Mike Jellick can have a different take on it every time he plays it. I arrived late and was towards the back. The tables between me and the music were filled with some very loud people. If they think this music is back ground music, I disagree. There are a lot of very nice elevators in town if they want background music. This a good straight jazz vibe.

I moved on to Motor City Wine. They will be moving in a couple of weeks and I wanted to go there before they moved and I do like The Funhouse with Skeeto Valdez(drums), Kris Kurzawa (gtr), Takashi Io(bass) and Phil Whitfield (keys).

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I got my blood orange soda which is so intensely good and settled in for a set of music. They started with “Carrot Cake” Which is one of my favorites. This music has a fun, funky vibe. Jazzthat is little more modern. And with the wall of sound, I can feel the vibrations.

A guy sat down to join me. He has joined me before and wants to hang out. This is maybe the fourth time. He can’t remember my name. He is interested and I’m not. I mentioned that MCW was moving. This was his first time in the place. He asked why I hadn’t told him about the place and he does not know my name. Why does he think I somehow should have known that he would be interested? A puzzle.

I went over to Harbor House to see Sky Covington. I hadn’t seen hear for a while.

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My phone was out of juice so no more pics. Again, another vibe. I got there during the jam portion so I got to talk to Sky and didn’t hear her. There is always this week because she be doing the gig for a month. This one was surprisingly more social with a little listening. I was open to the music and was able to relax and enjoy most of what I heard.

It was a good evening.

Other Music This Week

I went out several times and only have mentioned one so far. Now, time to mention the others. It may seem strange how often I go out. For me, live music of the kind I like brings me to a transcendent place and it is a place I like. I feel like it is my authentic self rather than the self that is proscribed by all the the conventions that are a part of getting along in the world. Since I don’t drink alcohol, it is a “high” that can go on for hours and even days.

Last Monday, I went to the Monday night at the Harbor House featuring the Milt Show. The base group is Milton Hale(dms), Phil Hale(keys) and Greg Cook(bass). This week, Chris Branch(sax) joined in for the first set. I was sitting with a couple of girlfriends. They are both listeners and do not do a lot of talking while the music is playing. It was a good evening of music. During the evening there were two sax players…..Chris Branch and Scott Reiter. Both of them are good musicians. And there were four trumpets…..Dwight Adams, Alan Denard, Mark Croft and David Greene. Dwight Adams plays with Stevie Wonder. He is one of my favorite trumpets. His notes are brain piercing clear. When he plays the trumpet, that is all there is. I am completely drawn into the music. These are all experienced musicians and play so well together.

During the second set, Misty Love sang. My table friends left and another girlfriend joined me. It was a good evening.

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Dwight Adams on trumpet, Milt Hale on drums and Phil Hale on keys…

Last night is was Bert’s Jazz Room again and the John Douglas Quartet. The quartet this week was John Douglas(tpt), Mike Malis(keys), Ib Jones(bass) and Butter Hawkins(dms). I was there for the second set. When they did “Lazy Bird”, everyone in the place started cheering. Mike Malis was so hot that when another musician touched him you could almost see the steam rising from his body. There were other musicians as well : David Greene (tpt), Dan Rice(trbn), Mark Croft(tpt) and Roger Vincent(dms). It told Mike after the set hold much I thought he had improved in the last year. He said that meant a lot to him. He had seen me in the audience for a couple of years and knew I was a listener. It pleased me to hear that it meant something to him. I gave John a hug and left.

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John Douglas in light shirt standing to the left, Mike Malis on keys, Ib Jones on bass, Butter Hawkins on drums and David Greene sitting on the stage at right.

I am glad to go back after an incident two weeks ago which made it so difficult to go back to Bert’s. I had to force myself and I’m glad I did.

Bert’s Jazz and the John Douglas Quartet

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.

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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.