Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29, 2016

HWY 100 is back up and running, yet very few showed up for today's version of the Workshop very generously sponsored by TowerLight. Sam (bass), Steve H (alto), and Greg (guitar) were all who were there until some time after 1:00, when Annie (vocals) and Carl (unavailable to play) stopped in, followed soon after by Jim D (alto, clarinet and bongos). So Sam, Greg and yours truly had a good time of it for a while, getting plenty of songs and extra solo work.

While Greg got set up, Sam and I got a nice duet groove going on All Blues (I-18). Sam thought it might be fun to get out some off-book stuff, and we gave a run at On The Trail (from Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite). We followed this with something that is surprisingly not in the first three volumes of the Real Book, Gershwin's Summertime, which I had in the case with me. Back to the regular stuff, Greg picked the classic When You're Smiling (III-437). Sam called for Straight, No Chaser (I-386). Why? "Nostalgia." Guitar man Greg went with the great Django Reinhardt's Nuages (I-367). Inspired by the Romani influence, I pulled out my original, Lungotevere. Speaking of nostalgia, Sam went with Nostalgia In Times Square (I-306).

As Annie and Carl were coming in, we began You Took Advantage Of Me (I-460). Annie was ready to go, so she called up Black Orpheus (I-48); Jim, freshly arrived himself, grabbed his bongos, and I my egg, to accompany. Annie followed this up with Easy To Love (I-128). Sam thought we should have an instrumental ballad, and Greg suggested Autumn In New York (I-38), which Annie naturally joined. She then decided on Besame Mucho (III-42).  Jim wanted to give the clarinet a turn, and called for Benny Goodman's Slipped Disc (II-353). One last one from Annie, who sang Polka Dots and Moonbeams (II-318). We finished the afternoon with My Little Suede Shoes (II).

We'll be back again for the next few weeks at TowerLight, though we will be expecting one of these weeks to try out the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis, before we make any final decisions about where to settle down.


October 22, 2016

Our first visit to TowerLight on Wooddale Avenue proved an adventure for many. Highway 100 was closed for the weekend to finish off a major project, throwing off a lot of people's travel plans to get to the place from around the city. So nothing really got off the ground until noon. But the crowd was good: Sam (bass), Serdar (guitar), Wes (tenor), Jack D (trumpet), Steve M (alto), Jack K (trumpet), Steve H (alto), Carl (trombone), Annie (vocals), Jim D (alto and vocals). We even had Greg stop by just to visit.

Things got rolling with Sam's suggestion, Bye Bye Blackbird (II-73). Jack D opted for the bop blues, Solar (I-363). Annie, in early because of afternoon commitments, called Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (I-43). All The Things You Are (I-22) was Wes' pick. Back to Annie for a vocal, this time Blame It On My Youth (II-51). Jim got a turn, and decided to sing Tangerine (II-386). Don't know who, but someone requested Cousin Mary (II-93).

By 1:30, we had lost Annie, Carl, Jack D, Sam, and even Greg. We plugged on with a guitar as sole rhythm. Come Rain Or Come Shine (II-88) was next, though I neglected to note who called it. I'm also not sure where we got it from, but we played Coming Home Baby. We followed this up with Serdar's call, Basin Street Blues (II-37). We changed gears to go to Charlie Parker's Yardbird Suite (II-433). I felt like I hadn't had a good day and, to get my confidence back up, requested Georgia On My Mind (II). It felt good, but then I had to go, though I almost stayed when Steve M pulled out The Nearness Of You (II). If they played on after that, I was not present, and have no report.


Monday, October 17, 2016

October 15, 2016

So sorry about not posting for a bit (he said to what he hoped was somebody out there). 

We met a couple of weeks ago in Jack D's garage studio, but yours truly forgot to take notes. We met last week at Minnehaha Community Center, but never got around to playing, as we spent a great deal of time discussing relocation options.

This week, though, we played again at Jack D's garage, as a possible site in Hopkins did not pan out. We began the session with Jack (trumpet), Sam (bass and trumpet), Serdar (guitar), and Steve H (alto). Carl (trombone) arrived a bit later. The small group worked out well, as it gave everyone a chance to play an extra chorus on each song. Jack really hit his stride today, dishing up some clean and cool solos. And when Sam's turn came around, he abandoned the bass, letting Serdar carry the rhythm, and flashed some trumpet himself.

We started with Sam's pick of In A Mellow Tone (I-206). I asked for Too Young (II-403). For Jack, it was Bye Bye Blackbird (II-73). Next up was Serdar's choice of Georgia On My Mind (II-145). We got surprised by Sam's next pick, Monk's Well You Needn't (I-435). With the small group, yours truly was unprepared when the call came back to him so quickly, so he passed to Jack, who chose Beautiful Love (I-40). Now ready, I went with Blue Room (I-53). Carl came in during this one, and was ready when Serdar requested St. Thomas (II-339). Sam was really pulling stuff out of a hat today, this time counting off Samba De Orfeu (III-344). Carl had brought along some arrangements he had found on a shelf at home, and we played a small group arrangement of Jumpin' At The Woodside. My turn next, and I went with an easy-going, Mulliganesque version of Broadway (I-61). Jack had to duck out for an errand, so his turn went to Serdar, and we went with Blue Bossa. We wrapped things up with another pre-arranged tune from Carl, this one Ja-Da.

Our thanks to Jack and his wife for their hospitality.

Looks like next week we'll be playing at The Towers retirement community, though that is, as usual under the circumstances, subject to change.

My Picks for the week

Gerry Mulligan/Lee Konitz (w/Chet Baker?)

Oscar Peterson and Andre Previn (interview and duets)

Count Basie and Duke Ellington (both bands)
Jumpin’ At The Woodside