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."

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.

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