Northern Lights Lounge on May 14, 2014

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Last Wednesday night I went to Northern Lights Lounge to see the Mike Jellick Trio. And Mike was in New York replaced by Zion Israel. I was a bit disappointed. So, I decided to make it a little adventure and ordered the “Lava Wings”. I had been disappointed at another restaurant with the hot wing recently and remembered seeing this one on the menu. The best part is that appetizers are half off the price on Wednesday night.

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The wings were hot and tasty. The blue cheese dressing cuts the heat just enough. And the wings were good. They were done without being dried out. My mouth had a flood of heat cooled by the rich taste of chunky blue cheese dip.

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Left to right: Zion Israel, Miles Brown and Jesse Kramer.

About half way through the set, I got over my snit and was able to listen to the music. It was so different than what I had been expecting. I was so good in its own way though. I was fully won over by the last tune of “Caravan”.

The Mike Jellick Trio Conflated with a little Funhouse

MJT set ip at NNL

<The Mike Jellick Trio is conflated since it is covering two weeks. Every Wednesday night, unless there are substitutions, the Mike Jellick Trio plays for the evening, They play alone for the first set and have other musicians substitute or join in on other sets. I feely admit that I like the first set and much more often than not give the other sets a miss. I admire that the members of the trio do a lot towards mentoring many young musicians. The music is usually so good for me that I go home after the first set even though I may start the evening with other intentions. It may be also that I have something to eat at Northern Lights Lounge so I am also somewhat relaxed after the first set with a little food and a glass of club soda garnished with a slice of lime on the table.

The weeks I am talking about were November 20, 2013 and December 4, 2013. The trio had the same musicians with Mike Jellick on keys, Jesse Kramer on drums and Miles Brown on Bass. The two evenings had a completely different feel or maybe I did. Something I will never know. The factual difference is that on the first evening, Mike Jellick announced all the songs and on the second, one was announced. I did arrive after the set started on both evenings so all I can say absolutely is the only song I heard Mike announce on the second evening was “Swinging at the Haven”. The first week had Autumn Leaves, “Swinging at the Haven”, “Caravan” and “Benny’s Tune” and more.The difference may have been the crowd. The first week, the crowd was loud, attentive and appreciative. The second night was much quieter.DSCN0085/p> Left to right: Mike Jellick on keys, Miles Brown on bass and Jesse Kramer on drums.

I found that I really like hearing “Autumn Leaves”, “Caravan”, and “Swinging at the Haven”. Although some songs get tired and some are done too much, when I hear a group that can make these songs sound so fresh and new it is exciting and that is precisely what the Mike Jellick Trio does to the music. Of the three, my favorite is “Caravan” (not played the second week) and I have heard the song so many times it has its own groove in my brain. When the trio plays the song my groove has to rearrange itself to accommodate the fresh perspective offered. And it is exciting and makes me excited by music all over again. So, the key to why I like the group as I have said before in different words, the innovation I hear at this venue is beyond compare.

MJT

After the Mike Jellick Trio on December 4, 2013, I headed to Motor City wine for The Funhouse since I had the energy and had not been there in a while. The server at the bar remembered that I like the San Pelligrino blood Orange soda and got me a glass as soon as she was free. I walked in on the last song of the set. I refer to this as my impeccable timing.

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Left to right: Kris Kurzawa on guitar, Skeeto Valdez on Drums, James Simonson on bass and Philip Whitfield on keys.

I was sitting by myself when the servers from Northern Lights Lounge came in and we sat together. Skeeto had wished me a happy birthday and the refrain was repeated several times to my embarrassment. Of well, once a year is not all that tough. The Funhouse is another unique style of funky, happy jazz that is a real pick me up for me. This is a place where I can settle into a groove and go with it. It is another place where the musicians have played enough with each other that it is a group rather that a battle of egos. The music is tight and cohesive and is always solid entertainment. I left toward the end if the set since I had an early morning appointment. It is always hard to leave when you want more.

Wednesday Night at Northern Lights Lounge

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Last night, I finally got out for some music. I went to see the Michael Jellick Trio at Northern Lights Lounge. I hadn’t been for a couple of weeks and even though I was really tired from work and a sleepless night the prior night, I decided I needed some music to relax and get away from some problems I carry home from work with me.

As I walked in, I could hear Miles Brown on the bass and Jesse Kramer on the drums. As I walked to a table and sat down,I could hear the complex rhythms of the two instruments combined and I had a different perspective for the moment. These are the moments I live for when listening to music.

I ordered some beef nachos for dinner and leaned back to listen. This time I recorded most of the evening. I have realized that I am such an intense listener and get so lost in the music that I have a hard time recalling just what was played. Or, if I really pay attention to what is played, I don’t feel the music. Tonight, I wanted to feel the music.

The first complete song I heard was “Yes or No” (Wayne Shorter on Juju album). First, I was hearing Michael Jellick play the melody on the keys clearly and beautifully. Then, once the melody in firmly in mind going into the improvisations that I like so much. Going further and further out and still within the song’s framework. By recording, I was much more able to appreciate Miles Brown’s solo on the bass. Then, a melody phrase to hook back into the music and more improv leading to Jesse Kramer’s great solo on drums. And , back into the melody and more improv to the end. Part of what I like about the experience is how cohesive and well these musicians play together.

I felt like the next number was not new to me and could not place it. This one had some funk to it and the rhythms were so different than the previous number. Something about this one for me made me feel good. Since the break came after this one, I left while I was feeling so good.

The Modern CAP Band at Northern Lights Lounge

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I finally got out to hear some music again on Thursday, September 19, 2013. I went to the Northern Lights Lounge in midtown Detroit. The place usually has someone who can set up the sound so this is one of the places where the music sounds good or as good as it can depending on the band.

I also did not want to cook dinner and tonight was the half off for all dinner items. I ordered another Reuben asking for it grilled and hoped for a better outcome than the last time.

20130920-211355.jpgit was virtually the same. It is a shame since all the ingredients are good and it is well put together. Again, it was so lightly grilled that it was cool inside. So, I will give up on getting a good grilled Reuben sandwich here.

The Modern CAP Band is a group that is comprised of composers, arrangers and performers. They do a lot of their own arrangements. It is well organized and through the t, each of the musicians was featured at one time or another.
There are nine musicians so they do have a big band sound.

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The front row is Mark Berger( Bari sax), Jimmy Smith( trumpet), Joe O’Mara( alto sax), Jake Shadik(tenor sax), and Daniel Meinecke(keys). The hidden musicians in the back are Skeeto Valdez( drums), Caleb Nelson(gtr) and Mike Palazzolo(bass).
It was a crowded stage and hard to see anything going on in the back row. They did “Venus de Milo”. I am most familiar with the Miles Davis version so it was much different with the big band sound. It was obvious that all the musicians are skilled musicians and the sound was good. They also did a mash up of two swing numbers which sounded better to me probably because it is more what I amused to hearing with that type of band. aAfter one more number, they took a break.

I am trying to expand my listening range and am glad I went.

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.