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."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Ass over teakettle we go, barreling along towards the end of the ‘Lagniappe’ semester. Tulane is offering this little ‘something extra,’ a twelve week semester compressed into six, free of charge to any student who wants it. Like a lot of the faculty here I’d assumed it would be undersubscribed. What self respecting university student is going to want to remain in school all the way up to June 30th when they could be lobbed out on the beach, or slaving away at barista wages to earn money for the fall semester. Well, we hadn’t counted on the parents, who by god are determined that their offspring take advantage of this opportunity or else. My teaching load is pretty high at the best of times. During the lagniappe, it has doubled.

Yesterday was the final faculty concert of the season. Frederick Sanders on piano, Jim Markway on bass, Kevin O’Day on drums and yours truly on tenor sweated through an hours’ worth of tunes out on the Gibson Quad. I can’t remember everything we played (as usual there was no set list, and this heat puts my capacity for intellectual activity on a par with that banjo-playing kid in the movie ‘Deliverance’) but I have a vague recollection of an insanely up-tempo version of Cole Porter’s ‘I Love You’ breezing by, as well as the Meters’ ‘Cissy Strut’ and a ‘second line’ version of Sonny Rollins’ ‘Oleo.’

For those of you envious of my glamorous jazz life, I wish you could have seen me towing the bass and keyboard amps down from the music dept. in our ‘little green wagon’ (Tulane’s ‘school color’ is green). Frederick even made up a ‘little green wagon’ song which he continued singing all through lunch after the gig. In the ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ voice he uses when playing with his kids.

As usual, it was an absolutely unmitigated blast and a half to work with these guys, and I’ve been scheming to create more opportunities for us to play together. With the addition of my officemate John Dobry on guitar, we’ll be opening for Irvin Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at McAlister Theater in the fall (date TBA) and I’m starting to put financing together for a faculty band recording next spring (I’m thinking of issuing it under the rubric of Tulane’s ‘Professors of Pleasure’), with everybody on the band contributing original compositions. Given the high profile of many of the members, national reviews are a distinct possibility, and it would increase the visibility of Tulane’s jazz studies program immeasurably. We’ve been the poor stepchild in this town long enough. It’s time to bust a move.
Somehow, someway, by Thursday afternoon I’m going to have all my students exams graded, the grades handed in and my office cleaned up. Then, Friday morning I’m hopping a plane for Vancouver. I’m playing the Railspur Alley stage at Jazzfest with Tony Foster on organ, Jon Roper on guitar and Joe Poole on drums at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Then I’m at Railspur Alley Café July 13, and the Cellar July 20th. In between I’m hoping to visit friends, family and colleagues, hit the Michael Guild benefit at the Cellar on the 17th (in addition to playing great guitar, Michael is one of the sweetest cats on earth) and get in some serious sack time before heading back to New Orleans for Satchmo-Summerfest the 1st of August

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