Sunday, April 26, 2009

'Round Noon

The Jazz Workshop started around noon- again- with an hour of instrumental music. Well, an intended hour of instrumental music, but with setup and everything it was more like 45 minutes. Several tunes were played, with some stoppage to work out difficult sections. We started out with Gene (drums), Bob (drums), Wes (tenor sax), Craig (guitar), Tim (guitar) and Sam (trumpet and bass). Ira (alto sax) joined us and then Sheila, Annie and Vicki joined us on vocals and Jim on piano. Jeff from the Freedom Jazz Festival (piano and horn, although he just played piano) was there for a bit, too. So we had a total of 12 musicians- pretty good for a nice Saturday in April.

Song include "Four," "Day By Day," "Jeannine," "Forest Flower," "St. Thomas" (yes, we play that nearly every week), "Tune Up," "Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me," "The Duke," "Dear Old Stockholm," and probably at least five other tunes that have slipped my mind.

Annie noted that the Jazz Workshop has two summer gigs this year: June 6 at McRae Park for the summer party and August 1 from 12:00-12:30 at the Freedom Jazz Festival. The Workshop plays at several events at the park each year- the Bunny Breakfast in the spring, the summer celebration in early June and the holiday party in the winter. We are pleased to be able to be part of the neighborhood's events in this way and hope that people enjoy the music.

The Freedom Jazz Festival was started by Sam Favors, one of the founders of the Jazz Workshop. Sam believed in jazz and in helping people understand the deep ties between jazz and the African-American community and the broad range of the African-American experience. The FJF is a showcase for the music and honors that history, and the Jazz Workshop is honored to be invited to play a set. We will be working closely on the songs that will be played at these events throughout much of the summer.

Annie also spoke to the Saturday workshop going on its annual summer hiatus due to the closing of the park building on weekends between Memorial and Labor Day. The workshop will happen on Monday evenings through the summer in the McRae Park building, probably 6:00 or 6:30-8:45. The Saturday workshop will return after Labor Day, probably 9/12/09. If you want to come to the Saturday Workshop before the hiatus, don't delay! Otherwise we will see you on Monday evenings or in the Fall!

By the way- photos courtesy and copyright of Don Lehnhoff, who took these on 4/18/09. I was too busy playing today to take photos and am very grateful to Don's generosity.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


And the jamming is easy!
Trombone is swooping and the sax blowing high.
The singers croon, walking bass underpinning,
and the trumpet, guitars and piano [something that rhymes; I'm a lousy songwriter].

Sheila- this may have been "Take the 'A' Train."

The Jazz Workshop today started at noon, including Don (trombone), Christian (piano), Ken (upright bass), Jimmy (electric fretless bass), Paul (guitar), Sam (trumpet), Wes (tenor sax), Craig (guitar), Gene (drums) and Tim (guitar). At 1:00 we were joined by vocalists Annie, Vicki, Dick and Sheila. Ken, Jimmy and Paul were fresh faces at the Workshop. Let's see that's 14 folks! Don took 55 photos today; here are a few of them.

Ken, upright bass.

Songs played today included "Ornithology," "St. Thomas," "Pent Up House," "Black Orpheus," "Out of Nowhere," "East of the Sun," "Summertime," "Watch What Happens," "Take the 'A' Train," and about 20 more (like an infomercial- "but wait, there's more"). As always, in several cases it was the first time some of us had seen some of the songs.

Paul (guitar) and Tim (guitar)

Annie started the conversation about summer plans. The park building is closed on Saturdays after Memorial Day until Labor Day, so the last Saturday workshop for the summer will be either 5/16/09 or 5/23/09. We may meet on a weeknight from 6:00-9:00 PM during the summer, if there are enough people willing to commit to being there, and then resume meeting on Saturdays the first weekend after Labor Day. If you're coming to the workshop regularly, give some thought to whether you want to continue over the summer and, if so, what evenings work for you.

Jimmy (fretless electric bass)

Next week (4/25/09) we will again start at noon for an hour of instrumentals and then from 1:00-3:45PM for the regular workshop.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easy Living

On Saturday April 11 the Jazz Workshop met yet again, this time with three new faces: Bob (drums), Ira (alto sax) and arrrrgh! on trombone and ummmmm on trumpet. Sorry , guys, my forgettery is getting better than my memory. We also had Craig (guitar), Gene (drums), Jim (piano this week), Annie (vocals), Toria (vocals), Dick (vocals), Wes (tenor sax) and Tim (guitar). We met about noon for the "instrumental hour" although this was a bit loosey-goosey this week and we really only played for about half an hour without Sam to get us counted off and going. The vocalists came about 1:00 and the normal workshop started, running to 3:45 or so. Tunes today included "Ornithology," "Flintstones Theme," "Yardbird Suite," "Take The 'A' Train," "Summertime," "Have You Met Miss Jones," and there were more (see above re: my memory functioning). We were busy enough playing that I didn't take any photos! So here's one from a couple of weeks ago of Wes:

Next week we'll meet again at noon for an hour of instrumentals and then the regular workshop will run from 1-3:45. Looking ahead, the last Saturday workshop for the summer will be on May 23. The McRae Park building is not open on Saturdays during the summer. If there is enough interest and commitment, we may meet at McRae on a weeknight throughout the summer. We'll talk about this in May at the last couple of Saturday workshops. The Saturday workshop will resume after Labor Day, probably on September 12, when the park building is again open on Saturdays.

The Bunny Hop

The Jazz Workshop ensemble played the McRae Park "Bunny Breakfast" on Saturday April 4. This is a community event with breakfast, an egg hunt, games, etc. I was out of town and so I don't have a report about the event nor any photos. Maybe someone who was there will write something up.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gigging at the "Bunny Brunch"

This Saturday (4/4/09) the Jazz Workshop Ensemble will be performing at "The Bunny Brunch" at McRae Park from 9:00AM-noon. We won't be holding the regular workshop as a result of this. Come on out and hear us play!

The Workshop will resume its regular schedule next week 4/11/09, with the "instrumental hour" at noon and then the regular workshop beginning at 1:00 and going to 3:45. Hope to see you there!