Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Horn Blowing

May 31, 2012

You may or may not know that I have a Minnesota (as opposed to New Orleans) jazz funeral band called Band of Praise. We had the honor of participating in a Memorial Day service here at a 150 year old cemetery (that’s “old” for Minnesota), providing eternal rest to the state’s largest population of Civil War Veterans. The 1st Minnesota Regiment played a prominent and heroic role at Gettysburg and are revered here. In connection  with the press associated with this event, local TV did a nice little promo piece for the band. I thought I’d share it here.

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Past Jam Connections

May 5, 2012

I like connections … synergy … things that enrich or expand an experience. The Jams themselves are all about connecting — with old friends and musical experiences, but also with the atmosphere and locations where those experiences and friendships were created. In that regard we’ve always tried to make a connection with each Jam venue.

Jam 1 Friday night in 2001 was held at a small bar – because we’ve all played plenty of bars, large and small – and the connection went further because the bar, Stingers at 6900 Belair Road, was owned and operated by the cousins of keyboard player Mike Foreman, Jim and Joan Boyer. Mike was a key contributor to that first Jam. We packed a lot of people into that little place.

formerly Stingers Sports Bar, now Overlea Station

formerly Stingers Sports Bar, now Overlea Station

Jam 1 Saturday was held at what was once the Alcazar Ballroom – now a part of the Baltimore School for the Arts. Many of us had played at the old Alcazar, and Jam stalwart, Don Barto, was teaching a class there at the time of the Jam so he made the arrangements. Even the less-than-ideal acoustics couldn’t dampen the high energy of about 35 musicians plus about 50 guests.

formerly the Alcazar Ballroom, now part of the Baltimore School for the Arts

formerly the Alcazar Ballroom, now part of the Baltimore School for the Arts

Jam 2 Friday night in 2002 was again at Stingers. Jim Boyer, Elvis Impersonator, came to the party, and Trudy Morgal introduced us to Joe Vaccarino who was compiling band information for a book. The next day Jam was at Overlea Hall, another place of employment over the years for many Jam participants. It made for a higher priced ticket than we generally like to  have, but the food and OH staff were both outstanding and a great time was had by all — roughly 50 musicians and 250 guests. The Mello Men organized a “Reunion Within a Jam” and big band music was introduced into the mix.

formerly Overlea Hall, now The Overlea Event Center

formerly Overlea Hall, now The Overlea Event Center

Jam 3 in 2005 was a search for an intimate bar atmosphere with more room than Stingers. Joan Boyer had passed away and Jim sold the place, so our old bar was no more. We went with all one day instead of 2, and we did it at Bobby B’s on Turkey Point Road. There was a double connection at Bobby B’s. Proprietor Bobby Berger played tenor sax and knew some of the musicians involved – connection #1. The other connection was the club’s history, as it was once called Hoffman’s and was owned by singer and fellow jammer, Al Hoffman, whose own band, Charade, played there regularly. Many of us played at Hoffmans in the ’60s.

Bobby B's. the bar.

Bobby B’s. the bar.

Jam 4 in 2008 was back at Bobby B’s, but this time in the large show room instead of the bar. The connections were only strengthened with great music … and the bands play on.

Bobby B's Palace

Bobby B’s Palace

Have A Funky Christmas

December 19, 2010

I introduced this unconventional Christmas tune last year, so for this year I’m linking to the video. The song is a 1989 recording by Groove Thangs, a well-known south Florida funk institution. The video, as much funky fun as the tune, is by Groove Thangs guitarist,  John “Bonefish Johnny” Stacey.

I hope you enjoy the video, and please accept our wish for a warm and joyous Christmas holiday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Peace for the New Year.

Them Changes …

November 14, 2010

Recent events have spurred some updates, upgrades and new additions at BaltimoreJam.org. Here’s the rundown:

VENUES

We were contacted recently by Markela Mihalos, daughter of Hollywood Park and Club Venus owner, George Mihalos. Mark has a collection of photos and autographs that her dad collected over the years, from most of the musicians and other performers who worked at Club Venus. It’s a pretty interesting compilation of history that fits B’Jam like a glove. She is generously contributing these images for addition to the website … they are in the process of being scanned.

In preparation for this new material we created a new section for the site headed “Venues.” This has been a missing piece in the Baltimore music puzzle for a long time. Without the places to play the music and musicians would have remained in a collection of basements and garages scattered around the Baltimore area. We show our recognition of this fact every time we hold a Jam, from the old Alcazar Ballroom, to Overlea hall, to Bobby B’s Palace on Turkey Point Road that we all remember as a club called Hoffman’s. Please check out this new section at http://www.baltimorejam.org/Venues and help us fill in the blanks with photos, stories, and the places you remember.

MUSIC

We have added a flash music player to the site to make it easier to post and play music on the website. There is a collection of sample music in this new player now on the Home Page, and a column of links to bands that already have music available on the right side of the Bands Page. As time goes by this player will be incorporated throughout the site, and new music will be added. If you have digitized music to share, send it along.

J101 VIDEO

Don and John Armstrong of Hocus Focus Productions in Baltimore produced a nice video of the very first reunion Jam held at the Alcazar in 2001. VHS tapes were made available to all the musicians who attended. Now, with the digitizing help of Don Barto Sr. of Soundriven of Baltimore and Washington, DC, this video is available on YouTube in 3 parts, and we have the links embedded at the website. Part 1 is posted temporarily on the Home Page, and all 3 links will remain available on the J101 Page.

We hope you enjoy this new material and find it interesting enough to bring you to the website often. Your comments are always welcome, as are any additions of music, photos and information. Ours is an all-volunteer effort. The wheels of progress may turn slowly, but they never stop turning.

VOSA

Bluesette Reunion 2010

October 21, 2010

In some respects I, and many of you, were living in a parallel universe in 1965 to the bands and patrons of the Bluesette. While we were sporting matching plaid tux jackets they were wearing random paisley frocks; while we were playing for the well-oiled crowd at Hollywood Park, they were playing it sober at the Bluesette.

Guy in front of the Bluesette

The Bluesette embraced a wide range of music, but they were clearly locked into the so-called “British Invasion.”  We all dealt with it in our own way, but whether or not you hated or embraced this musical wave one thing was for sure—it was not to be ignored.

I was in a 10-piece R&B band called the Dynamics when the Beatles landed. We didn’t fight it. We had 2 singers (Mike “Jones” Hodgeman and Jerry Treffinger). This made us able to mount a little Lennon/McCartney duet action, so we did a Beatlies set as a feature. It was great. No room for horns, so me, Buzz, Barto and Santo found a comfy spot to sit and have a smoke while the rest of the band worked harder than us.

The Bluesette was a non-alcoholic night club in central Baltimore City at 2439 North Charles Street, near 25th St., Charles Village that clearly embraced the new music. In operation from 1965 to early 70’s, the Bluesette was more than just a music venue—it was a significant part of the youth culture at that time. You can read more of the Bluesette story here. For more info and participation, there’s also Bluesette on Facebook.

The Bluesette is mounting a reunion on November 14, 2010 … just a few weeks away. It’s being held at Frazier’s On The Avenue, 919 W. 36th Street in Baltimore, MD, starting at 2:00, and I have no doubt that it will be as interesting and musical as other musical reunions with which we’re familiar. You can learn more at the Bluesette Reunion on Facebook.

Bluesette Reunion flyer

Merry Christmas

December 23, 2009

Here’s some Christmas music that I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard, which is why I’m posting it. This is a band from South Florida known as Groove Thangs.

 

Have A Funky Christmas

I discovered these guys a few years ago and found them to be funky as hell. Some of the band members also work as the Shack Daddys with the same level of Florida swamp funk. I’m not sure which band and players are which at any given time and which band is the most active, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not complicated, but their brand of easy Florida funk is  infectious. If you’re interested, here’s a sample from a Shack Daddys CD. It’s not a Christmas tune per se, but it does connect to Christmas in one very commercial way … it’s about money. Stacks and stacks of the stuff.

Here’s to a New Year and goodbye to 2009. I’d like to thank each and every one of you who takes the time to visit here. I hope you continue to find it interesting, or at least mildly entertaining, and I hope it’s helped you find ways to connect with your own personal musical history and old friends. As the years roll along that “old friends” label can take on a different meaning. In that regard, I offer a tag coined by an “old” friend of mine, fellow Poker Chip Bill Holland. In lieu of being old friends, he has declared us to be “Friends of Long Duration.” I like that.

I’d also like to give a special thanks to another friend of long duration and fellow Dynamic, Sam Towers, for fearlessly jumping in with both feet and helping breath life into this blog. His support and energy and ideas are most welcome and have been invaluable.

I hope your Christmas 2009 is a most merry one, and your New Year of 2010 one of health, happiness and prosperity. It wouldn’t be right for a Baltimore-oriented blog to offer a Christmas post and not include that most famous Christmas wish from the fat man … so here it is.

Fat Daddy Santa Claus

Music for Toys for Tots

November 28, 2009

Orchestra:

TRUMPETS:

Don Junker  / Scott Holbert  / Mike Davis  / John Williams  / Randy Martell

TROMBONES:

Ken Ebo  / Jen Krupa  / Bob Holladay   / Corey Wallace   / Gabe Osborne  BASS TROMBONE: Bernard Robier  TUBA: Ed Goldstein

SAXOPHONES:

Eric Wetzel  / Rich Burns  / Barry Cauldill  / Whit Williams  / Al Caldwell

FRENCH HORNS:

Ron Friedman  / Lynne Griffith  / Eldridge Parrish  / Lenore Turner  / Chris Dwyer / Cally Messick

RHYTHM:

PIANO: Paul Morawski   BASS: Jason Gano   GUITAR: Jough Loosmore   DRUMS: Marty Knepp  PERCUSSION: Joanna Dabrowska

VOCALS:  Ken Ebo & Tammy Temple     MASTER of CERMONIES:  Ken Jackson WYPR FM Radio

Giving Thanks

November 23, 2009

I’m feeling thankful for great family, great friends and great music. A new friend here in Minneapolis—a young graphic and web designer named Chris Keene—recently turned me on to Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour which ran on XM Satellite Radio. I’ve been culling through the archives and finding gem after gem …. like listening to Dylan’s personal playlist of eclectic music across the board, across the decades, and across all genre. I highly recommend the trip.

Each one-hour show features tunes based on a different theme. There’s not a lot of Thanksgiving music per se, so the Thanksgiving show featured mostly ‘left-overs” (very appropriate). One exception is this 1950 recording by The Robins. I offer it here as a teaser to check out this musical collection, and as my way of saying “thanks” to each and every one of you who have stopped in here to read this. Peace.

"The Turkey Hop"