A Weekly Jazzonian e-Newsletter
 October 30, 2017

Salutations Fellow Jazzonian,

... and welcome to this here weekly exercise in rhetorical calisthenics deftly disguised as a newsletter written to disseminate news and anecdotes about the growing jazz scene in Columbus, Georgia and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley. It is brought to you by the word absquatulate :

absquatulate - verb: to flee; abscond.

Example: The president's legitimacy has always been heavily scrutinized by the opposing party, but when an internal investigation accrued enough evidence to indict high profile members of the president's advisors with international money laundering, the media wondered aloud if the usurper of the highest office on the planet would absquatulate with other ill-gotten money and state secrets to seek refuge in Siberia.
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Obviously, I've changed the format of the newsletter to make it appear more professional and to, hopefully, give it a more cohesive look. What do you think? I really want to know because this format costs me a bit of coin; if you dig it, then the change is justified.

I've also added a new section. Around 1985, a Columbusite named Gene Kocian wrote a book about the jazz scene in Columbus, Georgia from the 1940s 'til 1980. The book is entitled

Memories of Jazz
The History of Swing and Jazz in the Columbus, Georgia Area
From 1940 – 1980... Who played... Where they played

It is my intention to highlight passages from this book to A: record a bit of forgotten local jazzonian influence, and to B: start a conversation that will include the reader's memories, anecdotes, and deep-held secrets from some of the local musicians highlighted in this book. It's audience participation time. If you have any stories about the jazz scene in Columbus, GA--or any jazz story--send it to me and I will publish it in this weekly newsletter. It just may gain you the local notoriety you crave.
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Saturday, November 4, 2017 – The Atlanta Jazz Festival Presents The Emerging Jazz Icon Series at 8 PM for An Evening with Charenée Wade at The Woodruff Arts Center. Price: $35 (incl tax) + $6 per ticket service fee. Fo’ mo’ info, click here.
  • Tuesday, November 14 – City Winery in Atlanta presents Louis Prima, Jr. starting at 8 pm.
  • Wednesday, November 22 – Symphony Hall in Atlanta presents John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring in concert starting at 7 pm.
  • Friday, December 8 – Symphony Hall in Atlanta presents Wynton Marsalis in concert starting at 8 pm.
This Week at The Loft
Columbus, GA's Weekly Home for Jazz

Friday, November 3, The Loft presents the CSU's Schwob Jazz Combos under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen starting at 7 pm and ending at 9 pm ET. Each year, the Jazz Studies program at Columbus State University re-establishes itself as one of the most emulous programs in the nation, which includes performing at the wonderfully acoustic, state-of-the-art RiverCenter in downtown Columbus, GA; however, this program will be at The Loft and promises to be inspiring, so come on out and support the future of Jazz in the grooviest venue for live music.
Last Week at The Loft
Columbus, GA's Weekly Home for Jazz

Last week at The Loft, Impressions dazzled our senses with Nick Johnson on sax, Yair Ophir on bass, Tommy Embrich on drums, and Don Tipton on keys, and these cats threw down--which is far more desirous than throwing up. Setting the tone and dynamics for the evening was Nick Johnson as the melody he effortless seamed onto the tapestry of the auricularly stimulated microcosm bonded the other instruments into an ensemble of enchantment matched only by celestial orchestras. The rhythm section held the groove into a swinging conduction of positive energy encouraging corporeal felicity. My advice is for you to catch these musicians while you can before their talents lead to more richly bucolic pastures.

  • Nov 10 - Schwob Jazz Orchestra
  • Nov 17 - Snakebite Six
  • Nov 24 - Paulo, Latin Musical Journey
Weekly Area Jams
Eighth and Rail
Every Tuesday 7 - 10 pm CT
The Eighth and Rail in historical downtown Opelika, Alabama is the venue for a wildly groovy weekly jazz jam as hosted by the Jane Drake Jazz Band. It's a cozy celebration of life that has become a buzzing collection of jazz-loving fanatics gathered together in a coterie of peaceful, fun-loving positive energy. I am downright proud as a peacock with enhanced LED-flashing feathers to participate in the jam on a regular basis, and I really love it! Proprietor Mike Patterson makes the wonderful sushi and Miss Tiffany keeps the affable atmosphere at a lovely level of emotive satisfaction. Plus... they serve an awesome cheesecake that'll make you wanna slap yourself so hard as to tell horrific knock-knock jokes to mimes. No lie. We have really talented musicians come in from the bi-state area: Auburn, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Columbus, LaGrange, Fort Valley, et al. The jam begins at 7 pm and ends at 10 pm CT. Hopefully, I'll see you there.

Eighth and Rail
Venkman's Jazz Jam
Every Tuesday starting at 8 pm ET
Venkman's is a nightclub in Atlanta, a venue that Joe Gransden uses for his weekly jazz jam. This is where the Who's Who of the Atlanta Jazz Scene come together to dazzle us mortals. It's free and starts at 8 pm ET. Fo' mo' info, click link below. I've participated in this jam a couple of times, and I love it as well. Joe Gransden always welcomes me with a smile that will melt antarctic glaciers in the middle of winter, which, oddly enough, is during June through August... when it's so hot and humid in middle Georgia that my toenails sweat. Nevertheless, Joe's band often includes keyboardist Kenny Banks (sometimes Kevin Bales), drummer Chris Burroughs and bassist Craig Shaw, and these cats kick it. When I find the transportation, I'm going.

Red Light Cafe Jazz Jam
Every Wed at 8 pm ET

I have not been to the weekly jazz jam at Red Light Cafe, but it is hosted by the Gordon Vernick Quartet, and I am a huge fan of Gordon's, so I'm planning to go soon, and when I do... Ha! I'm very likely to get excited. Fo' mo' info, click here.
1048 Club in Montgomery
Every Sun 9:30-12:30 CT

The 1048 Cafe is in Montgomery, AL, and I don't really know that much about it, but it has a jazz jam every Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30. Apparently the jam draws some incredible musicians despite its more rural, bucolic atmosphere. Fo' mo' info, click here.
Piccolo's Lounge, Auburn

It's not a jam, but the Piccolo lounge offers a comfortable, clubby environment. Leather club chairs, a cozy fireplace and comfy banquettes serve as a relaxing getaway. Enjoy a single malt scotch and relax and unwind from a hectic day or meet friends to hear live jazz every Friday and Saturday night, of non-home football game weekends. Fo' mo' info, click here.
A Little Lunch Music at Jule Collins Smith Museum, Auburn University
On Thursdays at Noon, make a lunch date with our region’s finest musicians. A Little Lunch Music is an informal, come-and-go performance presented by JCSM and coordinated by musician Patrick McCurry. You can sit in and listen to the entire performance, dine in the Museum Cafe from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT, browse the Museum Shop or explore the galleries.
  • November 2 - On Thursday, October 19, from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert by Plains 2, featuring trombonist Matthew Wood and pianist Joshua Pifer.
  • November 9 - Clarinetist Patricia Crisp with pianist Beibei Lin
  • November 16 - pianist Vijay Venkatesh in collaboration with Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta
  • November 23 - No concert... it's Thanksgiving
  • November 30 - classical guitarist Kevin Manderville
  • December 7 - hornist William Shaffer with pianist Joshua Pifer
  • December 13 - The Auburn Music Club Singers

Jazz Association of Macon
We Promote Jazz in Macon
and Middle Georgia
Our purpose is to:

Encourage and support creation, presentation, and preservation of jazz music.
Support the creation of new audiences for jazz music.
Provide education and information about jazz.
Encourage young musicians to learn and appreciate jazz.
Develop a network among local and regional jazz advocates.
Increase awareness of jazz events and musicians in our community.

To read their blog, click here.
Area Musicians
Actually, this is a link to a page of my personal website, but it makes it much easier to maintain. It is a dynamic list of area musicians that will, hopefully, be continually updated until I can no longer do it. If you are a musician who is not listed or you are listed but with invalid info, please let me know, and I'll make the appropriate revisions. Thank you, and click here to visit the link.
High Museum of Art: Atlanta Jazz
Live jazz in the Robinson Atrium at the Atlanta High Museum of Art every 3rd Friday of the month. Fo' mo' info, click here .
On-line Radio
  • WCUG 88.5 Cougar Radio - Columbus State University.
  • KUNR 88.7 Reno, Nevada.
  • KNCJ 89.5 Reno, Nevado. (I listen to this station on Saturday evening from 9-1 a.m. ET to catch Saturday Night Jazz hosted by Scot Marshall and Dallas Smith.)
  • Saturday Night Jazz hosted by Scot Marshall and Dallas Smith (Columbus, GA native) - Scot and Dallas bring their rich musical experiences together in "Saturday Night Jazz" to feature music which ranges from the latest releases to jazz classics and occasional recordings by local artists, as well as announcements of upcoming local jazz events in the Reno-Tahoe area. "Saturday Night Jazz" is supported by the Reno Jazz Orchestra and For the Love of Jazz.The program airs every Saturday evening from 1pm-10pm Pacific Time.
  • WCLK 99.1 Atlanta's Jazz Station, Clark Atlanta University.
  • Adore Jazz - Adore Jazz makes listeners relax, feel, think and smile through listening to the finest vocal jazz.
  • WTSU 88.9 Troy State University - Ray Murray's Jazz Radio Show Saturday nights at 10 pm Central Time.
  • WVAS 90.7 Montgomery - Jazz, Blues, News, and views.
Video of the Week
As this is my first attempt at making A Few Jazz Notes a little more accessible, I thought I'd bring back the Video of the week with this beautiful piece composed by Pat Metheny and featuring the incredible vocals of Anna Maria Jopek. Pat's solo is sublime. Check it out and try not to let it affect you emotionally.
The Columbus, Georgia Jazz Scene
1940 - 1985
Memories of Jazz
The History of Swing and Jazz in the Columbus, Georgia Area
From 1940 – 1980... Who played... Where they played
by Gene Kocian

I wrote, about a fortnight in the yonder, that my friend Alek Ansley--the proprietor of Judybug's used bookstore on the 1000 block of Broadway in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, the “Fountain City,” the “Lowell of the South.” Alek is the unabashed manager of local characters that parallel the unintentional comic mimicry of the Confederacy of Dunces that hang out in the creatively imaginative bookstore where all the interesting people congregate to confabulate--Alek suggested a book for me to read, a book by a musician-type hep cat of whom I've never heard, a cat from Columbus, Georgia who felt obligated to his capricious muse that quickened within his visceral influences a desire to record the history of jazz in my hometown. It is now my intention to read the book and take notes as I read and to publish the highlights of this book in this weekly newsletter.

Local iconic vocalist John Suhr writes in the preface:

If you are looking for a perfect example of journalistic expertise, please look elsewhere. This could only have been written by a man who was there... “in the trenches”... in the late thirties, through the forties and he's still playing music today! He insisted that it be written in his own words , and his manner of speaking, with only minimal editing. These are his Memories of Jazz ... who played, what they played, where they played, especially highlighting the ones he worked with and knew personally.

The criteria for being listed were as follows: to have publicly performed-for-pay some form of jazz, swing or dance music during the above time period. Many performers listed are deceased, and just as many are still actively performing before audiences today. The text will not always be specific on this manner unless death occurred before 1980.

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The book that I bought from Alek, by the way, has inscribed above the table of contents, “To Ron and Eddie Klein/ very special friends/ from years ago./ Gene Kocian.” It'll be groovy if I could find out more about the author but equally as groovy to find out a bit about Mr. and Mrs. Klein. Regardless, this rhetorical journey is going to be fun. It might even inspire one, or a group of us, to continue the spirit of this book and research the musicians who have followed.

The book was published in the mid-1980s. I think its purpose can be summed up in the last section of the preface Where There's Hope, There's Jazz:

This book is meant to be a point of reference and area history for the young potential jazz musicians to come... these are your [our] roots, the names behind this area's live music your parents [or, more than likely, great-grandparents] grew up with.

Warts and all, this book is the first known attempt to list the many hard-working area musicians and singers who were never in a national spotlight... who never wrote a “Stardust”... who lived very ordinary lives most every day, but—for a few brief hours each week—were stars in their own small galaxies and brought a lot of enjoyment to their listening and dancing audiences!
—John Suhr

This is going to be fun, and I hope that many of you enjoy the weekly ride to the past.
The final curtain is dropped upon the rhetorical stage as we bring to close another excursion into the mundane mind of a poetic jester disguised as a quadriplegic jazz vocalist. I hope you dug it. Happy Halloween. I will be trick-or-treatin' dressed as a golf cart.
Peace Through Music