Saxophonist John Doheny was born in Seattle Washington in 1953 but has spent much of his adult life in Canada, primarily in Vancouver and Toronto. After early experiences accompanying strippers in bars and cabarets he became a professional R&B sideman in the late 1970s, touring and recording with artists both prominent and obscure. In 1991 he returned to Vancouver and began a program of intense musical study, both in academe (Vancouver Community College, the University of British Columbia) and in the more informal area of performance. He asserts that "all human intercourse is either an opportunity to learn or to teach. Everything that I know about jazz performance (to the extent that I know anything at all) I owe to those players, teachers and students who have suffered to share the bandstand and the teaching studio with me." Since 2003, Mr. Doheny has been a permanent resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, but makes every effort to spend summers in Canada because "it's too damn hot down here then."

Friday, May 12, 2006


It's cooled off a little today.

Of course, 'cool' is a relative thing. In this part of the world, temperatures that would have Vancouverites fainting and wilting and buying out all the fans at London Drugs are considered pleasant spring days. Today's high is going to be 83 F, and it feels lovely outside. One's internal thermostat adjusts to the climate, and anything below 80 degrees feels just a tiny bit nippy.

Earlier in the week, it was in the high nineties, with plenty humidity. I've gotten so I actually like this. The air feels like velvet against your skin. Darlene and I went to a mayoral debate at the St. Francis of Assissi school up the street, and when we came out we were both gobsmacked by the beauty of the place we are in. I honestly don't think I've ever seen a city as lovely as New Orleans. Every neighborhood is an intricate masterpiece of detail, little shotgun houses with gingerbread detailing, old Spanish-style pads with ironwork draped balconies, weird little corner stores and postage-stamp-sized bars and restaurants. You get inured to it after a while and go about your life without noticing these things, then every once in a while there's moments like these when it all comes rushing back. And of course, when I'm in other cities, it startles me how flat and uninteresting they seem by comparison.

There's another thing I like about New Orleans. As a player of reed instruments, I've spent a lot of time keeping reeds moist and playable. Usually that involves some kind of 'reed humidor,' like a Tupperware container with a little piece of moistened sponge or orange peel in it, to assure reed-friendly humidity.

Here I just keep them on the dashboard of my car.

Comments on "Heat."


Blogger Steve Bagnell said ... (4:45 PM) : 

For a change of pace you should come up here. It's so dry up here that I will be partially mummified by the end of next week.


Blogger John Doheny said ... (3:36 PM) : 

Yes, I remember it well. That 'refreshing' dry mountain air.

Remind me sometime to tell you about the first time I played in Banff back in the early 80s, with an R&B band. We had no idea there was such a thing as the "Banff School of Fine Arts," so when we found an afterhours jam in a Mexican restaurant we assumed they were local yokels. I was relishing taking their hick alto player down a peg or two, a young guy named Cam somebody or other.


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