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



Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 10, 2018

NEXT WEEK, FEBRUARY 17: TowerLight, 3601 Wooddale Ave. S., St. Louis Park, 11am to 3pm.

Apparently the word did not reach everyone in a timely fashion (we tried!), but we met at TowerLight this week for some workshop fun. Present were Raphael (bass), Steve C (piano), Wes (tenor) and Steve H (alto) to get the ball rolling; Carl (trombone), Annie (vocals), Waymond (bass) and eventually Craig (guitar) made there way to the basement theater. We finally got to playing around 11:25.

We began with your scribe's choice, a lightly swinging version of I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face (III-192). Steve C opted for one of our work-on tunes, Red Top (III-332). Intrigued by last week's rendition of The Rainbow Connection (III-330), Raphael requested a reprise. Wes chose old friend Donna Lee (I-123). Annie, not feeling entirely in voice, decided to forego the usual multiple-vocals-to-one-instrumental pattern, then took a turn on All Of Me (I-20). Carl called for Blue Monk (I-52). Annie looked for something quiet In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (I-210). Waymond wanted a very up version of Are You Havin' Any Fun (II-22), which we wouldn't have had any fun with, but we found a relatively upbeat compromise tempo that clicked. Back to Annie, we played Let There Be Love (III-236). Your truly had been thinking about Cherokee (I-77) for a few days, and the group went with it. Annie's next vocal choice was Easy Living (I-127). Carl pulled out his own transcription of Walkin'. Wes' desires won out on the next one with Along Came Betty (I-22). Make Someone Happy (II-258) was Annie's next vocal call. Craig took us in a new direction with Willie Nelson's Crazy (III-86). It being Black History Month, Annie decided to do some educating with Come Sunday (I-82). Raphael returned to the work-on tunes by asking for Groovin' High (I-166). Annie took another historical turn with the gospel-inspired I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (I-196). We finished up with another completely different direction from Craig, Feel Like Makin' Love (III-119), proving once again that jazz-rock/funk is no place for old men.

Participant's Picks
Come Sunday
Duke Ellington (vocal: Mahalia Jackson)

Duke Ellington (instrumental)

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
Nina Simone

I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Paul Desmond

Are You Having Any Fun
Tony Bennett and Elvis Costello