Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 16, 2017

Next Time: Saturday, Sep. 23 at the Hook and Ladder (Minnehaha Ave. just below Lake St.), 1:00-5:00 pm.

We met at TowerLight again, and quite a crew it eventually was: Sam (bass, trumpet, valve trombone), Wes (tenor), Ray (bass, violin), Carl (trombone), Annie (vocals), Serdar (guitar), yours truly (alto), and a couple of newcomers to the workshop, Jeffrey (keyboard), and Josh (tenor). Good to have a bit of young blood in here.

Sam, Wes, Jeffrey and I got the Early Segment going with Sam's Add-A-Tune, Cantelope Island (II-76), once again proving the wisdom of the ancient Greek proverb, "Never mix old men and jazz funk." Still, we gave it a gallant effort, then moved on to the possible gig tune, Robbin's Nest (II-330). Wes called the next one, and while we forbade him from choosing anything ending in "-ology," we left ourselves open to picking Groovin' High (I-166), which went better than expected. Meanwhile, Ray got set up. Your scribe got to call Up Jumped Spring (I-425). Jeffrey's first choice was another possible gig tune, Out of Nowhere (I-318).

Serdar, Annie and Carl had arrived, and Josh showed up at some point soon thereafter, so we got cooking on vocalist time with Annie asking for Dearly Beloved (I-103), followed by Bye Bye Blackbird (II-73). Carl had the option on the first instrumental, and went with old favorite Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West (II-408). Annie next pulled out the sultry Angel Eyes (I-28), and then the bouncy Let There Be Love (III-236). Josh got his first shot at a call, and went with All The Things You Are (I-22). Autumn Leaves (I-39) and Fine And Mellow (III-122) were Annie's next two vocals. Sam decided on Dear Old Stockholm (I-102). Annie tackled One Note Samba (I-314), and finished things off with a lively version of On The Sunny Side Of The Street (II-298).

Participant Picks
Herbie Hancock, Cantelope Island

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Groovin’ High

Freddie Hubbard, Up Jumped Spring

Dear Old Stockholm
John Coltrane
Stan Getz



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 9, 2017

Next Session: TowerLight, 3601 Wooddale Ave.  11:00am to 3:00pm

Early Segment: Robbins Nest (II-330)
Work-In Tune: Cantaloupe Island (II-76)

Back to the Hook and Ladder, we had a merry gathering for Annie's birthday. Serdar (guitar) got the place opened up, followed by Wes (tenor), Jack D (trumpet) and your scribe (alto and piano). Along about 2:30 Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone) swung by, followed shortly thereafter by Dick (vocals) and finally Steve M (alto).

The first four of us got started just playing, even before the Early Segment. Serdar got it going with All Of Me (I-20), followed by my request for Autumn in New York (I-38). We moved next door to Autumn Leaves (I-39), and sung back for Jack and Angel Eyes (I-28). Then we took on the Early Segment tune of the day, Red Top (III-332), which we worked on a few times.

After the Early Segment tune, we continued with a medium speed version of Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise (II-   ). Annie, having gotten settle in, wished for a reprise of Autumn Leaves, which we were now all warmed up to cover. Carl suppled his sheet music for Walkin', which we have promised to keep working on. Annie's next call was the 3/4 time Lover. Wes took a turn choosing an instrumental, and we took on Sweet and Lovely (III-383).

Dick was ready by now to sing one, and we did Out Of Nowhere (I-318). Always looking for stuff we've never done, Annie asked for Never Will I Marry (I-298), which was oddly arranged in the book, but we worked it out. Dick had some sheet music for By The Time I Get To Phoenix, but it was only in concert, so we did not do a lot of soloing. Song For My Father (I-373) was Annie's next song, followed by Dick and Serdar's combined choice of Corcovado (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars)(I-335). We rocked through A Good Man Is Hard To Find (I-133) for Annie, and Dindi (II-105) for Dick. Steve M wanted Skylark (II-351), which was a nice instrumental moment near the end. We finished up with a swingy The Nearness of You (II-285), with Dick on vocals.

Participant Picks

Never Will I Marry
Anthony Perkins!

Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderly

Buddy Rich Swingin’ New Big Band

A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Bessie Smith

Brenda Lee

Fats Waller

Miles Davis All Stars

John Coltrane



Monday, September 4, 2017

September 2, 2017

NEXT TIME: September 9, at the Hook and Ladder.
Early Segment: Robbin's Nest (II-330)
Add A Tune: On the Trail (IV-318)

We were out at TowerLight this session. It was Sam (bass and trumpet), Serdar (guitar) and I (alto) to get things started. Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone) joined us a little before 1:00.

Without the usual people to do the Early Segment work, the three of us got things rolling by running through our chart of Double Clutching. Then, at Serdar's request, we had some fun with Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise (II-355). Yours truly also had a request, On The Street Where You Live (III-310). Sam decided to work on a chart we hadn't looked at for a while, Irv Williams' Swiggles.

Serdar realized that we could do some work out of Volume IV of The Real Book which, since the Workshop is dedicated to working out of the first three volumes, is typically out of bounds. We spent the remainder of the session in IV. We started with a slow version of Summertime (IV-435). I have a favorite from that book, Days Of Wine And Roses (IV-99), which the others accommodated. Sam found Adios (IV-11), which we tried out. Serdar thought Sunny (IV-436) would be fun, and so it was. We then went to Doctor Jazz (IV-112).

Carl, with his penchant for strange little blues tunes, supplied the chart for Walkin'. Annie asked for Save Your Love For Me (IV-376), a lovely tune with a complicated set of chord changes, which we did not butcher as badly as we could have. Sam suggested Minor Swing (IV-284), which swung fine. Annie's next call was The Best Is Yet To Come (IV-41). Serdar suggested Kansas City (IV-238), which hit a pretty good groove. The arrangement of Mr. Wonderful (IV-293) too us a few minutes to work out, but once done, it worked fairly well until the ending. Somebody called for Night And Day (IV-304), which was straightforward enough for us to get through successfully. We finished with Annie's idea, I Got You (IV-183), but it turns out that one of the things that disappears with age if not practiced regularly is the ability to get down with James Brown. Sad!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 26, 2017

NEXT MEETING: September 2, 2017
Meet at TowerLight, 3691 Wooddale Ave. S. (Enter from parking lot)

Early Segment: Out of Nowhere (I-318)
Add-A-Tune: Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (II-355)

A busy Saturday afternoon at the Hook and Ladder this time around. Sam (bass), Steve H (soprano and piano), Steve M (alto), Wes (tenor), Jack D (trumpet), Carl (trombone), Annie (vocals), Serdar (guitar), Dick (vocals), Jim D (alto), and Victor (vocals).

The first four of us chatted about the kind of song list we should develop for playing at gigs. Once Jack D was there, we set to practicing on Cherokee (I-77), and threw in Out of Nowhere (I-318) and Red Top (III-332). We made Annie wait until 3:00 by picking up Jack's request, Only Trust Your Heart (I-315); it's a lovely tune, but we made a hash of it, so it was time to move on to the vocal portion.

We've been trying to get back to flow of playing and vocals that is more like we used to do when we were operating out of the park system. So until 3:00, it's all instrumental, and after 3:00 vocals with fewer instrumental solos, and every three or four songs an instrumental.

Annie kicked things off with Dindi (II-105), including an a capella introduction. Next up, Dick took a turn on Stormy Weather (III-382), which seemed appropriate. Annie called the moody and difficult Detour Ahead (I-105). Dick gave us a flirty/swingy Sunday Kind Of Love (I-392). Victor was there to give away Halloween music, so he took a turn on Avalon (II- ). Instrumental time, and Steve M thought a slow-swingy version of Here's That Rainy Day (I-175) would do well, which it did. Back to vocals, Annie picked Without A Song (II-428). Dick kept the swing going with There Will Never Be Another You (I-407). Victor took another spin with All Of Me (I-20). We all grooved to Annie's next call, A Good Man Is Hard To Find (III-133). Serdar got the instrumental choice, and St. Thomas (II-339) was it. Dick did a reprise of Out Of Nowhere, so we cooked just fine. Victor pulled out a great oldy, The Birth Of The Blues (II-49). We finished the afternoon with all the vocalists sharing time on The Glory Of Love (III-131).

Participant Picks
Benny Carter, Only Trust Your Heart

Bessie Smith, A Good Man Is Hard To Find



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 23, 2017

We were off this past weekend. Just a word on what to expect this coming week at the Workshop.

Early Segment: 2 to 3.
Cherokee I-77.

Regular Segment: 3-5
The usual pattern.

See you there.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August 5, 2017

It was a quiet week at the Workshop, especially for the first two hours. Your truly arrived just before 1:00 to open up the action. I set up the piano and warmed up my soprano. Finally, Wes (tenor) rolled in. And that was it until close to 3:00, when Dick(vocals) arrived, followed a bit after by Craig (guitar), and finally (and most importantly) Ray (bass).

Wes and I spent a while talking about the kinds of tunes he would like to prepare for any sort of gig opportunity. We went through Book I and a little in II and III, considering songs that were fun, but also trying to rule out tunes that were beyond our group ability to play well. There are plenty of songs we admire (and they are the sort that Wes likes to work on) that fit into this latter category: a lot of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Theolonius Monk numbers are cool, but too tricky for us, or at least for us to play well together. But we found a few--Blue Monk, for example, or Au Privave--that we could make work. Still, there are plenty of standards and jazz tunes that we could do well with, so we compiled a list. Sam's picks for the Early Segment for next week are on that list.

Wes and I noodled around on a couple of things until others showed up. We did not have a microphone set-up, so Dick had to get by with just his own lungs. Being as I was a bit busy, and things were a tad discombobulated from the get-go, I never did take notes, but we did mostly vocals until about 4:45. Victor arrived when we were packing up (sorry, man!).

FYI: I will only be able to be there this week (August 12) until 3:00, and next week (August 19) not at all. Here's hoping we have piano or guitar.

Early Segment
Nancy With The Laughing Face (III-298)

BR2 (a blues chart Sam will provide)


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July 29, 2017

Watch this week for changes in time or venue.

The Early Segment got started this week with the two Jacks (trumpet), the two Steves (one alto, one piano and soprano), Wes (tenor) and Sam (bass and trumpet). We worked on Charlie Parker's Au Privave, then moved on to other concentrated work on our list, most notably Pent Up House. They are starting to sound like something.

Next week early segment: Wave (I-31). Here's a version by Paul Desmond.

Shortly before three, we moved to the Mostly Vocal segment. Dick got that running with A Night in Tunisia, shifting back and forth between Latin and swing. We followed that with another favorite of his, Fly Me To The Moon. Annie (vocal), Carl (trombone) and Vic (vocal) had settled in by then. Somewhere in here we did Avalon with Vic. Annie wanted to work from her own music on Let The Good Times Roll. Sam then pulled out his trumpet and called an instrumental version of Stardust, (I-367) doing an unaccompanied verse before we joined on the chorus. Dick next sang one that's been getting a lot of attention by us recently, Dindi (II-105). We moved to the harmonically complex (and thus difficult to sing Detour Ahead (I-105) for Annie, which she naturally carried off with aplomb. Victor wanted to consider making Sugar Blues into a new genre, and demonstrated a capella; we promised to look in Book IV so some of us would have it the following week. Dick looked to sing the excellent My One and Only Love (I-288), and he did so excellently. Annie looked to make us cry with Old Man From The Old Country (I-308). Dick requested There Will Never Be Another You (I-407). We finished up with Annie's version of Watch What Happens (II-413), where she discovered that she likes it as a Latin tune better than a swing.

Participant Picks

Sugar Blues (Clyde McCoy)

(Old Man from) the Old Country
Shirley Horn
Nat Adderley and the Big Sax Section