Mike Jellick Quintet and The Funhouse

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Last night, Wednesday, August 28, 2013 was a trip into the unexpected. I was in one of my usual ruts and wearing the rut deeper. I went to Northern Lights Lounge to see The Mike Jellick Trio. And last night it was a quintet. There were two additions during the first set. Jesse Palter, a vocalist, was in from Los Angeles. And Marcus Elliot, a saxophonist, was the other addition. I first saw Mike Jellick as the piano player for Jesse Palter at Cliff Bells in Detroit. They were much different than they are now. Both have much more depth and character to their performances now. I also saw Marcus Ellliot for the first time several years ago at Bakers Keyboard Lounge. And he is also much improved. I’ve learned that the very good performance that does not touch me emotionally from a young performer may be just a matter of a little time before they give a brilliant emotionally charged performance.

20130829-172129.jpg I came to see this. (Mike Jellick, Miles Brown and Jesse Kramer)

20130829-172249.jpgAnd got this. In this picture, Jesse Palter is the addition. I got so into the music that I forgot to get a picture of Marcus Elliot who was a big part of the reason the music made me forget about anything else.

Although I sat in the back since it was crowded when I arrived, the sound was good and is something I really like about the place. On the first number, Jesse Palter used her voice as if it were an instrument and was most like a clarinet. Marcus was on the soprano sax during that number. They all worked together as one shifting from one instrument to another seamlessly. During the set as Jesse was singing vocals, it was so refreshing to hear a vocalist enunciate making every word understandable. During the set I got my dinner of beef nachos. They went cold while I listened.

The last song of the set was “Bye, bye Blackbird” and is one I enjoy. She did not make it overly sad or snappy. And I finally got to my cold nachos. It was enough for at least three meals. They are good. The only things that could be improved is if it had fresh salsa and the jalapeño peppers were fresh. All the other veggies are fresh and flavorful.

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The quintet became a quartet losing Marcus Elliot during the second set. The quartet played “Blue Skies”. The pacing and tempo reminded me of a Frank Sinatra version I have heard with a completely different voice. All in all it is a pleasure to hear the musical growth of Mike Jellick, Marcus Elliot and Jesse Palter.

I then headed to Motor City Wine to see Skeeto’s Funhouse.

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And I expected to see Kris Kurzawa, Skeeto Valdez, Takashi Iio and Phil Whitfield. This is what I saw.

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Phil Whitfield, a Canadian, was stopped at the border crossing for an invalid visa which he will take care of by next week. So, Skeeto called in the reserves or four saxes, one trumpet a guitar and different keyboard player. It was a shock. I can’t remember what they were playing as I walked in. Takashi took me aside and explained the situation. They did sound good though. The last number they played was “Isn’t She Lovely”.

All in all it was an evening I didn’t expect. And I’m glad to have that kind of surprise in my life.

Sunday Night at the Cadieux Cafe

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a photo of a table top at the Cadieux Cafe.
The Cadieux Cafe is on the Eastside of Detroit and the home of Feather bowling. It is a Belgian cafe and specializes in mussels. A lot of people come to the Cadieux for an afternoon of feather bowling followed by a mussels dinner. To score in feather bowling, one rolls a faux cheese wheel down an alley and get as close to the feather as possible.

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The Cadieux Cafe also has a regular Soul Jazz Sunday music program. Not all of the music is actually “Soul Jazz”. I haven’t been there for a long time and decided to give it a try last night. A big part of the draw was the hot wings. The hot wings are a special treat for me. The heat of the wings is enough to clear any allergic reaction to pollen. And they include a rich, creamy bleu cheese dressing as a dip which cuts the heat go the wings. In biting into a wing, there is the smooth cheese followed by the heat of the wing. They are served with hand wipes due to the inevitable mess.

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I arrived after the band was supposed to start and they hadn’t started since they were waiting for one of the band members. Last night is was the Mark Lipson Quartet. The quartet was Mark Lipson(drums), Scott Gwinell(keys), Steve Wood(tenor sax) and Miles Brown(bass). Individually, they are all good musicians and I wanted to see what they would do.

20130826-092830.jpgLeft to right: Miles Brown, Mark Lipson, Scott Gwinell and Steve Wood.

They started with “It Could Happen to You” which is an old standard. As I expected, all the musicians played well. The second number was a composition by Mark Lipson. After the second number, Mark pulled out a tip jar. This is a no cover event and the pay is not much. He said that if we were in New York, we wild be paying a $20 cover. He was accurate. In New York, everyone has a $20 cover and it is not the case in Detroit. The last number of the set was “Raunchy Rita”.

I found something out about myself. I like music that stimulates me when I go out. The music they played was pleasant. All the music was played at the same tempo. “Raunchy Rita” had a little oomph though. I got so relaxed thatI was afraid I would need a designated driver to get me home. So , I left after the first set.