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."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

More Colleen Savage Session Pics.

Received an e-mail from Colleen a few days ago. She's back in Vancouver and delighted with the ruffs, and has struck a deal with Tim Stambaugh at Word of Mouth to do final mixes long distance. This isn't really as weird as it sounds, since Tim's rough mixes tend to be pretty close to 'finals' quality anyway. What Colleen walked out of there with at 8:00p.m. Feb. 5th would pass muster as a finished product in many quarters. Additional 'fixes' will consist mostly of just basic cleanups of things like cymbal-wash, compression and 'normalizing' of levels across the track spectrum. I remember finishing the final mix on "Profs of Pleasure:vol. 2." and driving home across the Crescent City Connection bridge listening to it, and being quite surprised at the difference. It wasn't anything overt or obvious. Just a much greater clarity to the final product.

Anyway, here's a few more pics from the session:

The board
Playing peep-eye behind the b-3
Some of Tim's microphone collection.

Geoff Clapp does the Eddie Van Halen.

Colleen Savage/John Doheny.

If you've seen the tv series "Treme," you've seen this studio. It's where Steve Zahn's "DJ Davis" character (based on real New Orleans "character" Davis Rogan) records his parody version of "Shame, Shame, Shame." Studio owner Tim Stambaugh described the Treme crew as "lighting the place up so it looked like a souvenier shop," but as you can see here, it sorta kinda really does look like that.
Colleen Savage in the vocal booth.

Jesse Mcbride in the piano booth.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Real Cool Killers at the Blue Nile.

Last tuesday was the CD release on "Parades and Saints" at the Blue Nile Balcony Room on Frenchmen Street here in New Orleans. Trombonist Jeff Albert curates a thing called the Open Ears music series there every tuesday night. Geoff Clapp on drums, Rob Kohler on bass and yours truly on tenor sax congregated there around ten o'clock to lay the voodoo down.

Rob had just arrived in town from Florida that day, so we had zero rehearsal time. That was fine, since we didn't have any 'tunes' to rehearse, we just had to try to recreate the same kind of magic that produced the CD in the first place. I'm kind of into the Arnold Palmer school of thought when it comes to playing jazz; Palmer was notorious for walking up to difficult putts and foregoing the usual agonizing and measuring. He'd just step up to the ball and tap it with no preamble. "I like to miss em quick" was his explanaition, even though he sank the vast majority of his putts. I'm the same way; just step up and play something. So I stepped up, played something (I don't even remember what) and we were off.

Strictly speaking, we did play some tunes, or rather, tunes just sort of happened. Early in the first set I played a series of notes more or less identical to Duke Ellington's "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me,"  and Rob and Geoff heard it and were there instantly with the harmonic and rhythmic form of the song, which we then proceded to mercilessly deconstruct. At another point a burning Samba groove suddenly dumped us into the head of Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-a-ning," which actually appears on the CD (though not as a Samba). But most of the time, we'd just set something up and go with it. It is possible, in the moment, to create a sense of form and style with totally improvised material. Repeating certain leitmotifs helps. Constructing ABA or AABA song structures through unorthodox means (like say, having a bass-and-drums interlude constitute the "As" and a solo saxophone interlude play the part of the "B") works too.

Amazingly, we had a fairly large and enthusiastic crowd for most of the night, though it did wax and wane some. We played three hard, burning 50 minute sets and finished up about one thirty in the morning, soaked through with sweat. Then Rob got in his car and headed back to Los Angeles.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Colleen Savage Recording Session.

Colleen Savage. Tim Stambaugh.

Jim Markway


John Doheny

Great recording session with Colleen Savage and the cats last Friday-Saturday. Colleen was in town appearing with the Tulane faculty band the Professors of Pleasure at our first Jazz at the Rat series of the season in the Rathskeller Pub in the student center here on the Tulane campus. The morning after, we all convened at Tim Stambaugh's Word Of Mouth studios in Algiers.

On day one, we did mostly piano trio stuff or variants thereof, with Jesse McBride on piano, Geoff Clapp on drums and Jim Markway on bass. I'd suggested to Colleen that, because of the total lack of opportunity to do any preproduction reheasals at all (ain't that always the way in jazz) that she bring in tunes that she'd had in her book for a long time but never recorded, and maybe we'd push the envelope a little and give them a different spin. It's my contention that a great tune can stand a lot of different treatments, and to that end we recorded things like "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" (which Colleen usually does as a straight-ahead medium swing) as a kind of two-beat, Ahmed Jamal groove, with the first chorus just drums and vocals only, then the whole band, then a Stan Getzish tenor solo in a flat-four swinging feel from yours truly, then drums and vocal out. This arrangement came together very quickly in the studio (it was really mostly drummer Geoff Clapp's idea) and we did a fast two takes and moved on, without even bothering with a playback. We did nine tunes this way, in about five hours.

Day two was more of the same, only with John Dobry on guitar substituting for Jesse on piano. John laid down a burning blues solo on Muddy Waters' "I Love the Life I Live," and some filigreed acoustic work on "Jitterbug Waltz." We also did a bass-and-drums-only take on Eartha Kit's "I Wanna Be Evil" and an original called "Riverboat."

I love recording this way, fast and dirty, and with a little 'hair' on it, as the old school cats used to say. I've been on pop sessions where you don't finish one tune in a day, much less thirteen in two. I think we got a very, very good CD out of this, one that showcases Colleen in a way I don't think she's really been recorded before. Killer stuff.