Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 16, 2016 LOSS OF VENUE

Well, if I had checked my GMail account sooner, I would have let everybody know here that the Black Dog did not work out. We were too loud for customers just coming in at lunch to relax.

Obviously, we still need a place to play, so we'll keep looking, and keep all of you (and my crazy dream is that there is at least one of you) informed.

We take this moment to express our feelings with a song.

Ella Fitzgerald/Duke Ellington, I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues


Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 10, 2016

Our thanks to the folks at the Black Dog in St. Paul's Lowertown for hosting the Jazz Workshop, at least for the time being. 

Things looked a bit grim at first. Your scribe arrived late due to construction perils and unfamiliar parking, to find only Jack D (trumpet) and Steve M (alto) present, and also discovering that there would be no rhythm section. So I pulled over the (very nice!) piano in the back room at the Black Dog, Bob (trombone) showed up, and we got started. At about 1:00, Wes (tenor) arrived, followed immediately by Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone).  At about 1:30, Steve and Bob had to head out, but the rest of us enjoyed ourselves until 2:30.

Unfortunately, when I am on piano rather than sax, I end up playing songs using my Eb Real Book, and have to spend a lot of time transposing chords to concert key before we can play a song. So I tend to forget to write down what we played. I remember we started out with All of Me. We did Blue Monk, For All We Know, Unforgettable, Somebody Loves Me, Two Degrees East Three Degrees West, maybe six or seven others which escape me. 

Anyhow, while we will be meeting at the Black Dog next week, and perhaps for a few more weeks, the situation remains fluid. So stay tuned to this blog.

Participant Picks
(They're all my picks this week)

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Well, it appears we are no longer wanted at McRae Park, but Jack D has found us a location (at least temporarily).

Starting September 10, for the next few Saturdays, at least, we will be playing at the Black Dog Cafe, 308 E. Prince St, St. Paul, MN 55101. It's at the corner of Prince and Broadway, between Union Depot on Kellogg and the Farmer's Market, and a block from CHS Field, the new Saints digs.

Sam reports that there is parking on Prince St. for $3.50. There is also metered on-street parking all around.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

August 29, 2016


Our time for meeting on Monday nights in the summer is over, and we should return to our regular Saturday times. HOWEVER, we are not sure where we will be meeting; the rules have changed with the Minneapolis Parks people, and we may or may not be meeting at McRae in the future. Stay tuned.

Not quite your usual mix set-up this week. No bass, no drums. But with Phil there on piano, we had enough rhythm to accompany Steve M (alto), Steve H (soprano) and Wes (tenor). We had some good instrumental time; and then moved to vocals with the arrival of Annie and Dick, along with Carl (trombone).

Your scribe forgot to take notes until about halfway through the evening, so we don't have page numbers, but we do have tunes. Phil started us out with the shifting chord changes of Pick Yourself Up. Steve M called for the old standard You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To. Steve H pulled out Gerry Mulligan's Line For Lyons, which several of those present had not heard before, though they spoke approvingly. Wes wanted to get back to work on Donna Lee, which is slowly getting better. Back to Phil, we took on the moody Black Coffee. Steve M thought we should try Donna Lee in a different key, so we played Indiana.

With the arrival of the rest of the group, we turned to vocals. Annie got two back-to-back: All Of You and Angel Eyes. Dick then took two together: A Night In Tunisia, with it's tricky structure, followed by Have You Met Miss Jones. Time for an instrumental again, and Carl got the call, Blue Monk (I-52). At Long Last Love (III-32) is a tune I don't remember playing before, but we got it going. Dick went with one of his favorites, Out Of Nowhere (I-318). Annie tried to get us playing My Melancholy Baby (III-295) at half speed, which we finally got right after some false starts. Dick handed out a chart in a key he preferred of Like Someone In Love.  Annie next called So In Love (III-362). For Dick's last solo, we played There Will Never Be Another You (I-407). We finished up with something everyone got a shot at, Ellington's Take The A Train (I-398).

As I said, keep your eyes peeled for where and when we will meet next.