Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 27, 2015

Freedom Jazz Fest postponed until early Fall.

Given the postponement of the jazz fest for which we had been preparing, it was anyone’s guess whether anyone would show up for the workshop. And things looked a bit iffy at first, with the two Steves (alto and soprano) and Gene (drums) the only people. So we sat in the heat for a while, and then started noodling around on some things in volume II of the Real Book. Then we got another drummer, Tom. In came Carl (trombone) and Annie (vocals). It was when Ray (bass) came in that we really got going. Dick (vocals) arrived next, and finally Serdar (guitar).

By the time we really got down to work, I had quite forgotten about keeping a log of the tunes we played. Sorry about that. Suffice it to say we played lots of songs.

We’ll try to let you know if the jazz fest gets rescheduled.


Friday, July 24, 2015

July 20, 2015

We are moving closer to our date for the Freedom Jazz Festival, August 15.  We are also moving closer to settling on a playlist for that appearance. Most of the songs below were chosen with an eye toward that event.

Wes (tenor), Gene (drums), and Steve M (alto) were setting up when I (alto and soprano) arrived, followed shortly by Carl (trombone) and Annie (vocals). With four horn in place, we returned to an original arrangement, Bean's Blues, named after my granddaughter (no relation, to the best of my knowledge, to Coleman Hawkins). Next we ran a couple of tunes for Annie, Sweet Pumpkin (not in the Real Book), and I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance (II-173). For an instrumental, Wes called Doxy (II-111), and Steve M. requested Yardbird Suite.

Dick (vocals) and Serdar (guitar) had arrived by this time, and Serdar got set up in time to join on Carl's choice, Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West (II-408). Then we ran Dick's picks, Out Of Nowhere (I-318) and All Of Me (I-20). With Serdar now holding down some chord structure (other than one provided by horns), we went back over Annie's tunes from earlier. 

After that we moved to songs just for fun. Wes went with Groovin' High (I-166). We did a reprise at a more cordial tempo of Out Of Nowhere. Annie looked through the list and came up with Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You (I-153). We finished off with one of Dick's favorites, I Could Write A Book (I-186). 

We'll keep you posted on the place and time of our appearance at the Festival.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 13, 2015

It was good to see Ray back to play some bass for our group. Also present at the outset were two drummers, Gene and Tom; on alto and soprano sax, yours truly.  While the drummers set up, Ray and I began with Moonglow (II, 275). We got drums on Blue Skies. Wes rolled in with his tenor and clarinet; we played Thou Swell (I, 411) in a medium swing while he got things assembled to join us on Heat Wave (III, 143). Gene called for Creole Love Call (III, 88), which we tried to make work with clarinet and soprano. Wes thought we should give Robbin’s Nest (II, 330) a try, to moderate success.

By this time Annie had arrived, and we began vocals with Sweet Pumpkin, followed by I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance (II-173). For an instrumental, Gene suggested In Walked Bud (II, 200). Ray and Tom had to leave, but Annie had us try out a few others not in the Real Book’s first three volumes: Always On My Mind (Annie had the Willie Nelson version in mind); Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me; and to close things out, Bobby Hebb’s Sunny.

This week’s Picks
Bobby Hebb, Sunny
Marvin Gaye, Sunny
and this one, because I couldn’t believe my eyes

Willie Nelson, Always On My Mind
Same, with Elvis Presley and Brenda Lee

Tommy Dorsey, I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
(the 1935 version with the orchestra; I can’t find the original 1932 version)
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass



Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 6, 2015


Your scribe (alto and soprano) walked into this past Monday night’s workshop to find Gene putting his drums together, while Steve M (alto) and Wes (tenor) noodled around on Crazeology and Byrd Like. Todd was right behind me, and sacrificed trumpet to give us some guitar. We got rolling on my pick, Broadway (I, 61). Serdar arrived to add more guitar; while he got set up, we dug into Gene’s choice, Bags’ Groove (II, 30). Steve M called for Yardbird Suite (II, 433), which was followed by one of Wes’ favorites, Blues for Alice (I, 55). While we were getting ready for my next pick, Cherokee (I, 77), Dick (vocals) arrived. It took us a while to get around to it—Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone) also arrived, there was much chatter about the earlier Family Fun Day and the upcoming Freedom Jazz Fest, and we had to dig out the microphones and such—but we finally settled into three for Dick: There Will Never Be Another You (I, 407), Out Of Nowhere (I, 318), and I’m Confessin’ (II, 185). Annie took a couple: I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You (II, 173), followed by One Note Samba (II, 314). Sticking with the Latin theme, Dick called Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (I, 335).  Annie changed the mood with Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (II, 108). Carl got to choose the instrumental, Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West (II, 408). Dick decided to finish his run with All Of Me ((I, 20), and Annie topped things off with Fine and Mellow (III, 122).

Participant Picks
Wes: Charlie Parker, Crazeology

Dick: Horace Silver, Song For My Father

Carl: Charles Mingus, Pithecanthropus Erectus

Gene: Charles Mingus, Better Get It In Your Soul

Steve H: Manhattan Transfer, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 29, 2015

SUMMER HOURS: Mondays, 5-8pm

When, upon my return to the Workshop after a two-week absence, I asked, “So, did you miss me?” drummer Tom’s response was, “Were you gone?” The others present—Gene on drums, Sam on bass and trumpet, Steve M on alto—were no more helpful. Question answered.

We started work with a half-hour discussion of possible things to play at the Freedom Jazz Fest, which will, we hope, be coming in August. In due time, Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone) arrived. We spent a half hour on our chart of Four Brothers. Then we got to our usual method of operation.  Annie asked for two: Embraceable You (a version Carl brought along), followed by Sweet Pumpkin (also not in the Real Book).  Steve M then suggested one we talked about for the fest: Yardbird Suite (II, 433).  I picked up the soprano when Annie called for Fine and Mellow (III, 122), and stuck with it for Sam’s suggestion of Miles Davis’ So What? (I, 364). A medium swing version of Without A Song (II, 428) was Annie’s next vocal. We followed that with an instrumental of How Insensitive. Annie then sang So In Love (III, 362) We finished up with my request, On A Slow Boat To China (III, 309).

Participant Picks
Buddy DeFranco , A Foggy Day

We missed the opportunity to commemorate the passing of Buddy DeFranco in December, a guy from my neck of the woods. So here’s another one, from his earlier days with Tommy Dorsey: Chloe (a tune that doesn’t get out much)—my treat.

Charles Mingus Big Band, Haitian Fight Song

Dave Brubeck Quartet, Blue Rondo a la Turk