Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 17, 2018

Next Time: Hook and Ladder? Here's hoping.

Sure and begorrah and other bits of Irish-sounding stuff. Despite the last minute change, a good crowd showed up on St. Patrick's Day to pack ourselves into the basement theater at TowerLight. On hand were Steve C (piano), Ray (bass and violin), Steve H (alto), Raphael (bass), Jack D (trumpet), Waymond (bass and drums), Terry (guitar), Sam (trumpet and trombone), Steve M (alto), Wes (tenor), Carl (trombone), and Annie (vocals).

We began with Sam's Add-A-Tune for the week, So Nice (Summer Samba) (I-362). Steve M up next chose Lullaby of Birdland (I-256). Terry opted for Black Orpheus (I-49). Next up, Steve C went to one of our standbys, Robbin's Nest (II-330). Jack D got on the board with Autumn In New York (I-38). Over to Waymond, we ran with (but not too fast) Anthropology (I-29). Raphael took us in a simpler direction with his call of Let's Get Lost (II-238). Charlie Parker's My Little Suede Shoes (II-282) somehow kept drifting between Latin and swing, yet somehow we reached the conclusion intact. Yours truly decided to honor the day with How Are Things In Glocca Morra (II-147). Wes wrapped up the instrumental segment with Donna Lee (I-123).

We were a bit behind schedule when we began the vocal segment, but Annie also decided homage was due to the Irish (or at least to Finian's Rainbow) by starting with Look To The Rainbow (III-249). She followed with Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (I-335). Carl directed our instrumental interlude to Blue Monk (I-52). Annie stayed on her Latin theme with Besame Mucho (III-42), though we seem to have gotten a bit lost in there. Things went better with her next call, Why Do I Love You (II-425). Steve M got the choice on the instrumental, I Remember You (II-179). Annie took us down an interesting avenue with a sultry version of Honeysuckle Rose (II-167). She brought us back with a swinging Just In Time (II-222). We polished of the afternoon with Waymond's call, Wes Montomgery's D Natural Blues (I95).

Participant Picks

How Are Things In Glocca Morra
Kitty Kallen
The Hi-Lo’s
Sonny Rollins

Look To The Rainbow
Petula Clark/Fred Astaire
Dinah Washington
Astrud Gilberto

D Natural Blues
Wes Montgomery



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

March 10, 2018

Emergency Change of Plans: March 17 TowerLight, 3601 Wooddale, 11am-3pm

Next Time: Hook and Ladder, Lake St. and Minnehaha Ave., Mpls., 1-5pm.

Add-A-Tune: So Nice (Summer Samba) (I-362)

Another very busy afternoon; the Jazz Workshop in the Park (still our official title) has become the place to be on a Saturday afternoon! Making time to play were Sam (trumpet/trombone), Jack D (trumpet), Jack K (trumpet), Terry (guitar), Steve C (piano), Waymond (bass and drums), Steve H (alto), Ray (violin and bass), Serdar (guitar), Craig (guitar), Wes (tenor), Steve M (alto), Dick (vocals), Kelly (harmonica), and Victor (vocals).

Sam kicked things off with his Add-A-Tune, It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing (I-224). We quickly discovered some electrical/technical problems which slowed things down for a bit, but managed to get in Waymond's choice Bags' Groove (II-30). Once things were more or less settled, we took up Terry's option, Four (I-149). Serdar was partial to something Latin, Blue Bossa (I-50). Jack K suggested we dig into the lesser explored volumes with Smile (IV-  ). Jack D had one he liked, a ballady, lightly swinging version of I Wish You Love (III-172). Wes called Doxy (II-111), which started out a bit quick and took off from there; next time out we'll need to rein that one in. To conclude the instrumental segment, yours truly brought an original, the slow and easy, very-late-at-night Smokey Blues.

Dick got the vocals started with On Green Dolphin Street (IV-321), and followed with a swinging Don't Blame Me (I-121). Craig got to call an intermediate instrumental, and went with It's Too Late (III-218). Dick took two more vocals: There Will Never Be Another You (I-407), and Mean To Me (III-274). Victor was in the house and ready to sing by this time, and went with old standbys All Of Me (I-20) and Avalon (II-22). The instrumental call went to Steve M, a cooking How High The Moon (I-180). Back to Dick, we worked on Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (I-335). Victor took a turn on Stardust (II-367). Out of Nowhere (I-318) was Dick's swan song for the day. We ended the afternoon with and instrumental version of Sam's choice, Jeannine (II-212).


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March 3, 2018

Next Time: Hook and Ladder, Minnehaha and Lake, 1-5pm.

Your scribe (alto, piano) arrived to be available to open the Workshop, only to find three others already inside: Jack D (trumpet), Terry (guitar), and newcomer Ross (tenor, piano), who is clearly no newcomer to his music. Ross had arrived at noon because of some misinformation in a Craigslist ad, so I hope we can get that fixed soon as well.

Also, we were informed that a few weeks back, we had used some of the Hook's electronic equipment improperly, and not returned it to its original status, and so were forbidden to use any of their amps or speakers. We want to apologize to the Hook and Ladder for any mistaken assumptions we made, and hope to be back in their good graces in the near future.

In short order, Raphael (bass) and Waymond (drums, bass, alto) arrived, and while Waymond and this writer got the drums up from the basement, the group began with Jack's pick, But Beautiful (I-62). Yours truly opted for Line for Lyons (III-240), which we did sans piano but a bit swingy. I moved from alto to piano while Terry decided to tackle the straightforward blues tune Freddie Freeloader (I-151). Back to alto for me when Raphael called Mas Que Nada (III-268). Ross managed both piano and tenor, with Waymond moving to bass for his choice, Confirmation (I-87), though we had to ask him to bring it down to mid-speed; he went back to drums for the remainder.  Ross continued on dual duty with his own pick, All The Things You Are (I-22).

Victor (vocals), Craig (guitar), Annie (vocals), and Carl S (trombone) had arrived variously during the instrumental period, and Carl called the last one, Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West (II-408). We lost Ross before the vocals began, which is too bad, because a lot of other good players had yet to arrive: old friends Lachel (trumpet), son Leithieo (trombone), their friend from Texas, Rene (soprano), Carl A (soprano), and finally Sam (trombone, trumpet) and Jim D (clarinet). With the influx of horns, this guy moved permanently to piano.

Annie, as usual, got things rolling vocally, starting with Let There Be Love (III-236). Victor took another swing at Avalon (II-25). Annie pulled out old Ellington standby Take The A Train (I-398). Victor opted for Bye Bye Blackbird (II-73). We took an instrumental break with Jack's choice, a gentle version of It Never Entered My Mind (III-205). Returning to vocals, Annie took on When I Fall In Love (I-439). We turned to All Of Me (I-20) on Victor's next song. Annie went to I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (I-195). Rene suggested an instrumental version of There Will Never Be Another You (I-406), which played well. A few more vocals were on tap: Annie chose Thou Swell (I-411). Victor and the rhythm section had some trouble finding the groove on In The Still Of The Night (II-198)--sorry, man. Annie finished up singing with Never Let Me Go (III-299). We went out with everyone having a say on Craig's call, Fly Me To The Moon (II-135).

Participant Picks

Line for Lyons
Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker
Billy Taylor and Jimmy Owens

Mas Que Nada
Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66
Al Jarreau

In The Still Of The Night (Cole Porter)
Frank Sinatra
Steve Lawrence

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February 24, 2018

NEXT TIME (Sat., 03/03/18) Hook and Ladder, Minnehaha just below Lake St., Minneapolis, 1-5pm.

Don't know if we could have squeezed any more people into the little theater at TowerLight. By the time we got everything down from other floors--chairs, drums, piano--and all the electronics set up around 11:30 or so, we had Raphael (bass), Steve C (piano), Terry (guitar), Serdar (guitar), Sam (trumpet and trombone), Jack K (drums and trumpet), Jack D (trumpet) and Steve H (alto and hitting the cymbals to keep time). Wes (tenor) and Craig (guitar) soon followed, Victor (vocals) was there well before vocals time, and finally Annie (vocals) and Carl (trombone) rounded things out, but only after someone left and made room.

We got things off to a slinky start with Sam's Add-A-Tune, The Girl From Ipanema (I-158). Sam begged for another, and got us on to the first of our Charlie Parker tunes for the day, Au Privave (I-37). Yours truly had been thinking of Till There Was You (II-400) since last week; we started as a ballad, then dropped into a light swing which became more insistent as the solos progressed. Jack K called for I Remember You (II-179), another easy-going tune. Raphael changed things up with Sonny Rollins' Oleo (I-309), and Serdar followed suit with Billie's Bounce (II-44). Terry picked a somewhat quick tempo for a swingy version of Misty (I-277); it took us a few tries to find the beat, but once we did, it was very satisfying.

Victor started the vocal portion with old favorite Avalon (II-29). Carl and Annie had arrived, but were not quite ready, so we took another instrumental, this time Wes' pick (another old favorite), Donna Lee (I-123). Annie took two: Let There Be Love (III-236), and the beautiful My Funny Valentine (I-287).  Victor by now had decided on another, Stardust (II-367), including an a capella opening verse. Someone whose name I did not catch, who had come in with her Mom to listen for a couple of minutes, asked to sing one, and performed Autumn Leaves (I-39). Craig picked our follow-up instrumental, at random opening up the book to the old Carol King number, It's Too Late (III-218). Annie gave Dinah Washington a shout-out with What A Diff'rence A Day Made (III-430). She followed that with I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free. Carl called for After You've Gone (II-xxx), which Victor wanted to sing. It took quite a while for us to find the right double-time feel for this one. A few remained to join Sam in a few choruses of St. Thomas (II-339)

Participant Picks
Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Theolonious Monk, et al.
Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Bobby McFerrin, et al.

The Girl From Ipanema
Zoot Sims

Art Pepper
Willie Nelson
Frank Sinatra/ Tommy Dorsey
Nat King Cole
Louis Armstrong

Saturday, February 24, 2018

February 17, 2018

Next Week: TowerLight, 3601 Wooddale Ave. 11am-3pm

Quite a crowd of rhythm players this week. Raphael (bass), Steve C (piano), Serdar (guitar), and Steve H (alto) were there to get things started. Waymond (bass, drums) arrive shortly thereafter, followed by Wes (tenor), Craig (guitar), Terry (guitar), and finally Carl (trombone) and Annie (vocals). Victor bused in from the far reaches of the city, but only arrived as we were wrapping up at 3:00. We had enough rhythm players that we went looking for the TowerLight drumset: no sticks, but some large plastic cooking spoons filed in nicely.

The first four of us got started with Raphael's suggestion, On Green Dolphin Street (IV-321), which we had a hard time finding in any of the volumes until we remembered the "ON" in the title. We were about to get started on Alice in Wonderland (I-17), when the recently arrived Waymond's presence suggested the use of drums, which took a few minutes to gather and assemble. By now Wes was in the building, and we got through a couple of rounds of Serdar's pick, Billie's Bounce (II-44). Steve C. was feeling Ellingtonian, so he opted for I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart (I-188). Craig was on board now, and Waymond returned to the bass and called for Cedar Walton's Holy Land (II-166). Wes counted off a moderately paced version of Boplicity (I-58). Craig's choice was one we worked on last week, Feel Like Makin' Love (III-119).

Carl and Annie had come in two songs back, and were now ready for action. The vocal portion began with Annie's choice of Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (I-68). She followed that up with the very different Afro Blue (I-11), which all agreed we should go back to next week. Terry having joined us at some point, it was his turn for an instrumental option, which was Autumn Leaves (I-39). Annie worked on a couple of ballads next: the melodically tricky Never Let Me Go (III-299), and the harmonically complex Detour Ahead (I-105). For the next instrumental, Carl pulled out an updated handout of Walkin'. We returned to Annie's vocals with I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (I-195), followed by Let There Be Love (III-236). Serdar had asked for Summertime (IV-435) earlier, so we took that as our final instrumental of the day. We closed out the session with a round for everyone, vocalists and instrumentalists, on Song For My Father (I-373).

Participant Picks
I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
Ella Fitzgerald, Barney Kessel, Stuff Smith, Ben Webster
Johnny Hodges
Sonny Stitt
Thelonious Monk

Afro Blue
Mongo Santamaria
John Coltrane