Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stormy Monday

Or not so stormy, since it was really Tuesday morning that involved the rain. Turnout this week was very sparse. Tim (guitar) had a prior commitment and wasn't there, Sam (trumpet) had a conflict and wasn't there. Ira (alto sax), Wes (tenor sax) and Gene (drums) turned up and waited around a while and then Ira had to split. Sam turned up when his conflicting commitment was over and played bass while Annie and Vicki handled vocals. Just like "you dance with the one what brung you," you play jazz with those who are on hand!

Next week (8/31/09) is the last Monday workshop. Starting 9/12/09, the workshop will meet at McRae Park on Saturdays, from 12:00-1:00 with instrumentals and from 1:00-4:00 with vocalists. There will be no workshop on Labor Day or that weekend. Tim is planning on being there, Sam will not be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Summertime" slowly drawing to a close

And it seemed like we barely had a summer this year, meteorologically speaking. But we had some hot jazz!

The Jazz Workshop met at McRae Park for the third-to-the-last Monday evening jazz workshop of this year. The sun was down before we were done tonight. Sigh. We'll meet again on 8/24 and 8/31, but Labor Day is coming quickly and the Workshop will switch back to Saturdays from 12:00-4:00 starting September 12.

Tonight we had a fairly compact turnout with Sam (bass and trumpet), Annie (vocals), Margo (bass), Trent (the first-ever jazz bassoonist at the Workshop), Wes (tenor sax), Dick (vocals), Ira (alto sax), John (vocals), Tim (guitar), Gene (drums) and Matt (flute). That's still 11 people, though! We ended up with different instrumentation than usual which has the effect of making people play differently, always an interesting experiment.

We started with about an hour of instrumentals and then the vocalists joined us until the end. We covered various tunes including "Summertime," "A Night in Tunisia" (which elicited an inadvertent Jerry Garcia tribute from the guitarist) "From Here to Eternity," "I Thought About You," "Jeannine," "St. Thomas," "Just Friends," "Four" and several others which I cannot now recall.

Anyway, that was tonight. We'll be back next week on 8/24 and again on 8/31, and then that'll be a wrap for the Workshop on Monday evenings.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

All basses covered

At the 8/10/09 edition of the Jazz Workshop, we had an unusual situation: four bassists (three of them new)! One of the bassists, Sam Fiske, opted to play trumpet so we had three bassists taking turns with the songs. We had a couple of other new participants including a young violinist (and Jean Luc Ponty fan, apparently) and a new guitarist. Unfortunately I didn't catch most of their names but Sam caught several of them. I heard Margo play with the Capri Big Band at the Freedom Jazz Festival where she swung the band along very nicely.

By head count we had 15 musicians: Sam (trumpet), Ira (alto sax), Craig (guitar), Christian (piano), Annie (vocals), Gene (drums), Margo (bass), Jeff (bass), Gonzalez (bass, visiting from Oklahoma), John (vocals), Tim (guitar), Wes (tenor sax), Dick (vocals), ???? (violin) and ???? (guitar). This was a great turnout of very friendly musicians and a lot of fun.

Songs included "Yardbird Suite," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Down Home Blues," "I Got It Bad," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry," and a bunch of others (I should not wait three days to post this stuff because I forget the tunes we played).

Next week (8/17) we'll do it again! After Labor Day we will be switching back to Saturdays from 12:00-4:00, probably starting 9/12/09.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back into the Swing of things

From special correspondent Sam Fiske:

"Turnout was light as several players took a break after the Very Successful performance at the Freedom Jazz Festival Saturday. We received several comments for a job well done.

David Mehoves from St Cloud stopped by to say thanks on behalf of his son, David Mehoves, a former attendee at the Jazz Workshop. David went on to attend some good Music schools and now has his own band on a cruise ship. Cruise ship bands are sometimes called the contemporary extension of the "Big Bands" of a previous area. Congratulations David, and the workshop folks who helped him on his way, Gene Adams, Sam Favors and others.

Attendees this week included Gene Egan, Sam Fiske, Matt Riley, Wes Simmons, Annie Favors, Toria Hart and W John Carter.

Tunes explored include Cheese Cake, Lush Life, Try A Little Tenderness and a few others."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Freedom in the Park

The Workshoppers were pleased to play a set at the Freedom Jazz Festival on August 1 at Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis. The FJF was founded by Sam Favors, who also founded the Workshop, top bring jazz to the people in a free setting in the park, friendly for families (unlike nightclubs) and bringing together a cross-section of the local jazz scene. Sam's vision has been carried on by Lamarr Scott, Reona Berry, Jeff Keys and Andrea Keys. This year the FJF lineup included Public NewSense, a group of young high school age jazzers, and the Capri Big Band, Cornbread Harris, Dean Brewington Quartet, McKissick's Drum Troupe, Urban Cadence and Debbie Duncan with the Morris Wilson Quartet.

Representing the Workshop were Annie Favors (vocals), Sam Fiske (trumpet), Toria Hart (vocals), Matt Riley (flute), Martin Stovall (percussion and drums), Dick Jacques (vocals), Wes Simmons (tenor sax), Christian Lamot (piano), Ira Adelman (alto sax), Tim Stevens (bass), Gene Eagen (drums and percussion) and Tim McNamara (guitar)

The set list included "Four Brothers" (instrumental), "I'll Remember April" (sung by Toria Hart), "Feeling Good" (sung by Annie Favors), "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (sung by Dick Jacques), "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (instrumental) and "Centerpiece" (sung by Annie Favors and Dick Jacques). The tunes came out OK- indeed, most sounded better than they had in rehearsal- despite a few nerves on the part of some of the "new hands" in the group.

The FJF is the biggest gig of the year for the Workshop and it is an honor to be able to play on the same stage with so many wonderful musicians, as well as to honor the legacy and vision of the Workshop's founder, Sam Favors. The workshop would like to thank FJF Inc. and the planning committee (Lamarr, Reona, Jeff and Andrea) as well as all the other folks that helped out for their dedication and the hundreds of hours of work that go into putting on this fine event- and of course also the fine musicians with whom we were privileged to share the stage.

Lost in concentration, or just lost?