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, January 27, 2009

Clinics (with Nicholas Payton) and Concerts.

Big doings in the Tulane Music Department. A bunch of us 'jazz insurgents' have been scheming and plotting to bring more jazz to the department and the Tulane campus in general, and this year some of those efforts are paying off. Beginning Wednesday February 4th, our jazz piano instructor, Jesse McBride, will be curating a music series Wednesday nights at the Rat, the bar in the basement of the Student Union building on the Tulane University campus. The schedule is as follows:

February 4th: Clyde Kerr Jr.

February 18th: Adonis Rose

March 4th: John Doheny and the Professors of Pleasure

March 18th: Harold Battiste

April 15th: Stefon Harris

April 22nd: Fredrick Sanders

April 29th: Tim Warfield

Downbeat is at 8:00p.m. and admission is absolutely free. That's a helluva price to catch some very heavy cats. Trumpeter Clyde Kerr Jr. has been a mover and shaker on the scene in New Orleans since the 70s, both as a session player (just about everything that had brass on it in the 70s, from the Meters to the Nevilles to Allan Toussaint, Clyde played on) and as a straight-ahead jazz player (I'm particularly fond of his work on Alvin "Red" Tyler's Rounder release from the early 90s, "Heritage"). As an educator he's taught some of the cream of the crop of contemporary New Orleans trumpet players, most notably Nicholas Payton and Marlon Jordan.

Drummer Adonis Rose has recorded and performed with Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Harry Connick Junior, Nicholas Payton, Gerald Levert, Chaka Kahn, and Public Enemy.

The Professors of Pleasure are Tulane University's flagship faculty band, and feature Jesse McBride, piano, Jim Markway bass, John Dobry guitar, Geoff Clapp drums and yours truly on tenor and alto saxophone.

Harold Battiste has worn many, many hats during his long and industrious career, from pianist, composer and saxophonist,to record label owner (AFO records, New Orleans first black-owned co-operative record label) record producer (Sam Cooke, Dr. John, Sonny and Cher) musical director (Sonny and Cher again, in both their touring band and their long running hit television show) and jazz educator (University of New Orleans). He has also been mentor and "life coach" to many, many young New Orleans musicians (including our own Jesse McBride) and has recently assembled and published a treasure trove of New Orleans modern jazz compositions by masters such as Ellis Marsalis, James Black, Nat Perrilliat, Alvin Batiste and Melvin Lastie under the rubric "The Silverbook."

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris has recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Charlie Hunter, Joe Henderson, Steve Coleman, Joshua Redman, Kurt Elling, Greg Osby and many, many others, as well as releasing six albums under his own name. His latest on the Blue Note label, "African Tarantella," features Steve Turre, Derrick Hodge and Terreon Gully.

Pianist Fredrick Sanders is originally from Dallas, and has played with Roy Hargrove, Dr. John, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He has released two CDs as leader ("East of Vilbig" and "Soul Trinity") and played on the Professors of Pleasure's first release, earning him the title "Professor of Pleasure Emeritus."

Saxophonist Tim Warfield is a veteran of the Nicholas Payton and Marlon Jordon bands, and was featured on the 1991 Island/Antilles release "Tough Young Tenors." Warfield’s first recording, "A Cool Blue," was selected as one of the top ten recordings of the year in a 1995 New York Times critic’s poll, as was his 1998 recording Gentle Warrior (featuring Cyrus Chestnut, Tarus Mateen, Clarence Penn, Terell Stafford, and Nicholas Payton), proclaiming him possibly the most powerful tenor saxophonist of his generation. In 1999, he was awarded “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” in DownBeat Magazine’s 49th Annual Jazz Critic’s poll


On February 4th and 5th, from 3:30 to 5:00p.m., the Tulane Jazz Performance Studies department will present Nicholas Payton conducting clinics. The clinics are absolutely free and are open to the general public, and will be held in the music dept. bandroom on the Tulane campus, which is room 260 in the Dixon Annex. If you are a young jazz musician in the New Orleans area you cannot afford to miss these events. There's just no rationale for it, unless you've got a gig or something.

Be there, or be square.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Walk In Jerusalem, Just Like John.

Every conversation I have about Obama's upcoming inaguration always seems, at least among musicians, to end with something like, "and you know the music's gonna be killin." That is doubtless true, and won't it be wonderful to be spared the deathless prose of say, Hank Williams Junior ( "John N Sarah tell ya just what they think. And they’re not gonna blink. And they’re gonna fix this country. Cause they’re just like you n’ ole Hank.") in favor of Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. But I can't help but cringe at the prospect of "America's Pastor," the odious, crypto-nazi Rick Warren, reading a prayer at the ceremonies.

It's all in the name of 'bipartisanism' I guess, 'reaching across the aisle' and 'listening' to everybody's point of view. Except a lot of people, myself included, think that when your point of view includes equating homosexuality with pathology and child abuse and abortion with genocide, you should be relegated to expressing those opinions from atop a soap box in a public park, not at the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States.

I can't help think what a grand gesture it would be, had not some mutant shot him dead down in the 9th ward a little over ten years ago, if New Orleans gospel genius Raymond Myles could deliver a speech, and maybe favor us with a tune. Something like the version of "Walk In Jerusalem" that he used to set the walls on fire with at places like the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, with his group the Raymond Anthony Myles Singers (the RAMS) dressed in his regal finery, the kind of threads that made Little Richard look like a small-town Episcopalian minister. Raymond who was so flamboyantly, unabashedly gay and yet he plied his trade in the supposedly 'socially conservative' precincts of the African-American church community, Raymond who was a Christian to the core and yet was so open and accepting of all his fellow souls on the road to enlightenment (unlike certain Jesus jumper honky lardbags who shall go unnamed) and who subscribed to that phrase I have personally heard often in the smallest and humblest of storefront churches in Black America, "you come in your own way, brother."

Come in your own way. Imagine that. Not "do it my way or suffer eternal damnation." Not (as in the smiley-faced, Ned-Flanderish fascism of the Rick Warrens of this world, oops I guess that just slipped out) "don't you dare love the wrong people or use your genitalia in a non-Rick-Warren-approved way (oops. did it again) or you're going to Aitch Eee double-hockey-sticks."

I'll be tuning in to the inauguration on the TeeVee, and I'll be 'kvelling' (as our Jewish brothers and sisters say) over the new president like everybody else, but when a certain boorish, pasty-faced motorscooter comes on (and you know who I mean) I'll be hitting the mute button. And I'll be putting on Mr. Raymond's CD "Heaven is the Place" http://www.louisianamusicfactory.com/showoneprod.asp?ProductID=550
and when the Maestro says "I wanna dance !" that is just what I'm going to do.

Ya heard me?!