Friday, January 27, 2006

The II-V-I Orchestra resumes our last-Sunday-of-the-month show at the Creekside Grille this Sunday the 29th from 6:30 to 9:00 .

Saw the AACT production of "Guys and Dolls" last week, then the guy over at the charivarious section posted ALL this Miles Davis, so now I have the tune "If I Were a Bell" going around in my head and I want to try to get Surry to sing it so here it is: MP3 of the Miles Davis recording, MP3 of the 1992 Broadway revival featuring Josie de Guzman, and a fakebook version of the Miles Davis arrangement, PDF page 1, PDF page 2.

Friday, January 20, 2006

We sadly note the passing of Wilson Pickett and our prayers are with his family, loved ones, and all whose lives he touched. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Here is his obituary
from the Washington Post. (Might seem kind of funny source but he had lived in Reston, Virginia for years...). There's a slideshow at the Washington Post site that looked good but I had trouble getting it to work right.

As a sort of tribute I respectfully submit an MP3 of my old band, the StratoLoungers, performing "Funky Broadway" in 1992. The StratoLoungers were an 8 piece bar band with horns based in Adrian, Michigan, and we mainly played at a wonderful roadhouse out in the Irish Hills called Jerry's Pub. Jerry's is still going strong and is about my favorite bar in the world, and they have good Italian food too. On race weekends over at Michigan International Speedway the place was jammed. They'd have all these goofy checker flag pennants hanging up, and boats would pull up out in back on Wampler's Lake. Sweat dripped from the rafters, my microphone would wave back in forth in front of my face because the floor was shaking from the dancers, and Big Barb the imposing bouncer would come up and sing "Town Without Pity". Barb saved me from getting beat up in the parking lot one night.

I was one of the last people out of the bar and my '90 Civic was sitting out in middle of the gravel parking lot. I picked up my antenna, which somebody had broke off, and muttered "***hole!" From the other side of the parking lot some crazy local came tearing over and asked me what I called him. I tried to avoid him but he was pushing me around, and all the sudden Barb came busting out and grabbed us both, me on one side and him on the other. She was about a head taller than either of us and quite a ways around, too. She told the guy, "Jerry here is a friend of ours, don't you be beating him up! Now apologize and shake hands!" and the guy mutters an apology and we shake hands like a couple of fourth graders. It was great.

For me the original inspiration was to play "Soul Finger" by the Bar Kays and "Last Night" by the Mar Keys but we ended up doing Steely Dan, Was Not Was, Gary Glitter, Traffic, and all kinds of good stuff. Wilson Pickett tunes were the motor of the band, though - I think we did about six.

Boy those were the days. I just can't believe looking back how much arguing we did and how much time we put into it.

BTW the URL for the Dean Solden Trio with Surry Scheerer has changed to Right now the next gig we have scheduled is April 29, but I'm sure stuff will come up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It was good times at Goodnite Gracie's Saturday nite - our first set was mostly nerves and breakneck tempos. By night's end it was pretty mellow judging by the slow dancing in front of our little stage. Thanks so much to all our friends for coming out and we'll let you know when we're back there. We'll be enhancing our song list.

To that end, here is a lowfi MP3 of the band from Michael Feldman's "What Do You Know" performing "Sweet and Lovely", the Gus Amheim/Jules LeMare/Harry Tobias composition. The band is John Thulin on piano, Jeff Hamann on bass and Clyde "the Funky Drummer" Stubblefield. Here is my leadsheet of the tune as a PDF file.

Elsewhere in the news Jack Abramoff has been trying out a variety of hats at his various court appearances; he's still fine tuning, trying to find "the look". My recommendation is the lovely fruit sherbert colored Easter Bonnet.

Al Gore made a big speech about Bush 43's executive branch threatening the checks and balances of the federal government. Text of the speech is at: Liberty Coalition. I think the speech is rhetorically over the top at times, like the part about, 'if Bush can do the stuff he has already he can commit genocide', but it is still a good policy wonk speech and Gore is right. Ask yourself if Bush has abused the presidency. Of course he has.

I'll bet you forgot what a good policy wonk speech is like. I saw Clinton on Letterman last year and Bill went off with this big elaborate reply to Dave's question and you could see Dave kind of sit back, smile, and go, "Man, remember when the President knew how to Talk?" The Bush administration doesn't really try to lay out convincing arguments. They go exclusively on fear, trust, and the illusion of sincerity. Anyway, the argument, which I think Gore makes at about a B grade level, is that Bush 43's general strategy has been to enhance the power of the executive branch wherever possible and that he has crossed the line of accountability - there is no way to know if the executive branch abides by the Constitution any longer.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Come out and see us play jazz this weekend!

The Dean Solden Trio with Surry Scheerer appears Saturday the 14th from 10 to 1:30 at Goodnite Gracie's in Ann Arbor.

We'll do our take on a variety of standards and some of Dean's original tunes, most featuring Surry's vocals. Surry's singing is sure footed in an uptempo jazz trio context, and her tone and range are similar to Ricky Lee Jones but Surry's style is cleaner and more understated.

Dean Solden plays piano and organ and sings a few numbers too, including some of his own. Drummer Rob Hejna stokes the rhythm and I am responsible for the underpinnings of the ensemble on acoustic bass.

There are MP3s of our group and Dean's CD over at the band webpage.

We played Gracie's back at Halloween and it went OK but they had pulled out most of the tables, brought in a DJ between sets, and charged a cover because it was a big party weekend. This time will be the real jazz club setting, with no cover charge and some nice sofas to settle back in if you show up early. Hope to see you there!