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."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Y'all Be Ready, Y'all Be Right.

Tonight is the second in our series of workshops featuring guest jazz artists at the Rat, otherwise known as the Rathskeller Bar in the Lavin-Bernick Center for Student Life on the Tulane campus. Tonight's guest is drummer Adonis Rose.

Jesse Mcbride is curating this series, and he's been running it like a kind of student/faculty jam session with guest artist. The last event featured trumpeter Clyde Kerr Jr. with several student groups playing a mix of standards and Clyde's own compositions. It was a freewheeling affair, and the only ground rules were "know the music (no charts on the stand)" and "be ready."

The last set consisted of Clyde on trumpet, me on tenor, faculty members Jesse Mcbride on piano and Geoff Clapp on drums, and a student bass player who shall remain anonymous. We didn't play anything particularly hard, but during a medium up version of "Blue n Boogie" I could tell Mr. Bass was having a bit of trouble finding the pocket. Geoff Clapp can be a little rambunctious at times, but really, he was just swinging hard and shouting encouragement. New Orleans musicians like to exhort and shout on the stand, and you hear a lot of "uh huh" and "yeah you right!" At least you do if you're playing well. I like it.

Mr. Bass helped me drag some of the equipment back to the music building after the gig and allowed as to how he wasn't used to playing with drummers who were that agressive. " I'm used to guys who just play ting ting ting ta-ting," he said.

I countered with a few tales of my own public bandstand-humiliations, many of them much worse and some of them quite recent. Cause that's just the way it is in jazz; every once in a while you get your ass handed to you, and at my time of life it's increasingly getting handed to me by people half my age or younger. But what are you gonna do? The only proper response is to head back to the shed.

I told Mr. Bass, "Just wait till you see what Adonis has up his sleeve. Y'all better come correct."

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