Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 26, 2015

When I arrived, there sat Steve M, all alone in the day care room. We waited together for awhile, until I suggested that I drag the piano out of the closet and through the rec center so I could play some chords and he some alto. As I was writing out some chord changes to Charlie Parker's Barbados (II-45), Wes (tenor) arrived, followed shortly by Ahmed, an old friend who hasn't brought his trumpet around for some time. He was in turn followed by Gene and his drums. We tried out Barbados a few times, then Early Autumn (II-##). A guy we've never met, and whose name I did not catch, came by to play some tunes with us, but we couldn't find the right instrument for him. Perhaps he'll return next week with his own rig. We tried C-Jam Blues (II-##), and were about to move to Lullaby of the Leaves (III-260), when Ken stopped in, saving everyone from my pianorific ministrations. He even had his own piano.

We did Lullaby of the Leaves right after the arrival of Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone). Annie called for Cole Porter's All of You (I-71). Around this time, not only did Dick (vocals) arrive, but Joe (trumpet) and Elmer (tenor) to round out the group. Dick had us dig in to In a Mellow Tone (I-206). Ahmed and Wes asked for All Blues (I-18) as an instrumental. We moved on to Dick's vocal on Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (I-3##); Annie took a turn on September Song (II-345). Elmer thought Birk's Works (II-48) would be fun, and it was. I Should Care (I-194) was one I had not heard before, but it sounded good when rendered by Dick. Annie then called for It Could Happen To You (II-204).  We took an instrumental turn with Blue Bossa (I-50). Dick's last turn came with Have You Met Miss Jones (I-172), and Annie finished things out with a sultry version of Honeysuckle Rose (II-167).

Will we have as big a crowd next week? We hope so!

Participant's Picks

Annie (song) and Gene (artist)
Damita Jo
It Could Happen to You

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Along Came Betty

Miles Davis

Stan Getz and J. J. Johnson at the Opera House
(with Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis)
Billie’s Bounce

Clark Terry

Steve H
Fats Waller
Your Feet’s Too Big


Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 19, 2015

At noon on Saturday, proclamations from the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul were read in Minnehaha Park declaring the day Freedom Jazz Festival Day, and "the best little jazz festival in the Twin Cities" began with a set from the members of our Workshop.

We began our set with an instrumental original by yours truly, "Bean's Blues," named not for the other Bean, Coleman Hawkins, but my granddaughter. (Any resemblance between her and Mr. Hawkins is purely coincidental.) Solos all around. Annie introduced us, and then sang "I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You," with a smooth tenor solo by Wes. Next up, Dick took a turn on "Out Of Nowhere," with  Steve M. taking an alto chorus as well. Next we took on Sonny Rollins' "Doxy," with horns and guitar soloing. Carl's trombone led the horns on John Lewis' blues, "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West." Next up, Dick returned to offer a bouncy rendition of "All Of Me"; both Serdar and Steve M. added solos on guitar and alto, respectively. Annie came back for some sweet singing on Dr. Ronnell Bright's "Sweet Pumpkin," while I added 16 bars of solo. We finished up with "Yardbird Suite," though our time ran out and we had to stop at the end of Steve M's tasty solo.

All in all, a fun half hour, and we were honored to kick off this year's Freedom Jazz Fest. We hope we can do it again next year.

The Workshop returns to its usual time (Saturday's, 11-3) and format on September 26.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 12, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015
Minnehaha Falls Pavillion

The Jazz Workshop gets the festivities kicked off just after noon! (Obviously we will not be holding regular workshop hour; we return to regular format September 26.)

Others to appear during the day:
Three Women of Jazz: Debbie Duncan, Yolande Bruce, Linda Sloan
George Scott Trio
The Tangents
Walker-West Music Academy Jazz Band
Chip Minor and Friends
The Capri Big Band

Parking may be a bit tricky, so get there early.
See you then. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 31, 2015

Sorry. I've been a bit lax in getting out the weekly report on our workshop. So, two announcements:
1. Members of the Workshop will be appearing at the
Saturday, September 19, 2015, 12 Noon
Minnehaha Falls Pavillon
2. This was our last week of our Monday night summer schedule.
Starting September 12, we meet Saturday from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
(Obviously, we will be preparing for the Festival on that first Saturday, and will be in Minnehaha Park the following Saturday. But after that, we'll be back to normal.)

This past Monday, most everyone who will be playing in the Festival was present: yours truly (alto), Gene (drums), Wes (tenor), Carl (trombone), Annie (vocals), Tony (bass), Serdar (guitar) and Steve M (alto). Tom even came, not to play drums, but just to help out by timing our set.

Wes and I played Yardbird Suite and Doxy while we waited for Tony and Serdar to get set up, then we tried Ceora as the remaining people came in. After that, we worked on the set for the show. We only get a half hour, so timing is important. We had some bugs to work out, so we worked hard in the heat. With about a half hour left to go, we just had some fun playing such tunes as Time After Time, Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps), and Put On A Happy Face.

After the Jazz Fest appearance, I'll get back to the Participant's Picks.

Hope to see you in Minnehaha Falls Park on Sept. 19 at noon.