JOHN OSLER'S UPBEAT Admin
COUPLE OF GOOD GUYS
HERE IS A BLOG ABOUT TWO PEOPLE. A MAN AND A WOMAN WHO MAKE ME FEEL GOOD JUST BEING AROUND THEM.
Most Wednesdays at the Dirty Dog you can find Judy Adams sitting at the end of the bar in probably the best spot in the place to see everything that is going on. Often she will be sitting alongside the club’s proprietor Gretchen Valade who also has figured out how best to experience jazz. Judy will turn her bar stool so that she doesn’t miss a thing. That is part of Judy’s DNA. That probably explains why Judy remains one of the most knowledgeable witnesses of the music of Detroit. She has influenced and encouraged many of the artists who come to the Dirty Dog and continues to be involved in Detroit’s music.
When the set ends the musicians make a first stop at the end of the bar to share a hug with Judy. This is an act of friendship and respect. Judy has the ability to document the music scene because of the trust that she has in the community.
CHARLES BOLES CAN BE FOUND EVERY TUESDAY AT THE DIRTY DOG
I have to confess that I am a bit intimidated by Charles Boles. He towers over me when I am in his presence. Maybe not physically, but he has an aura of knowing what he is doing.. His natural composure is that of a relaxed and confident prankster.
The confidence comes from experience and hard work. He is a product of Detroit’s black bottom neighborhood, which was a cauldron of creative jazz artists. Charles is eighty- some years old now and has benefited from a lifetime of playing with great musicians. It shows in his playing. He has earned the respect of other musicians and those lucky enough to hear him live in a small club.
To better understand Charles I would recommend getting his Detroit Music Factory CD release Blue Continuum and listen to the cut Liz. Charles’ piano expresses a quiet reverence for his late mother Elizabeth. His fingers are placed on the keys with the single purpose to show respect and love for his mother. We can also hear in the song the playfulness and freedom that he was allowed as a child. As a child he was encouraged to play. And play he does.
Charles plays with his quartet every Tuesday night at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café from 6PM until 9 PM.
HERE IS CHARLES AND HIS BAND
Charles sits at his piano and plays great music. Sometimes I think he is having too good a time. He can also be downright serious. His friends go along with him and together they go to some remarkable places with their music.
The set was over and the band started to pack up their gear. Barely heard over the rising sounds of conversations was the sound of the Steinway. I looked and I didn’t see anyone. Crouched over and hidden from view was the diminutive figure of Charles Bolles. I hung around close to the piano and was treated to some music from one of Detroit’s most sensitive musicians. His subdued playing didn’t disguise the skill and touch of a master.
Later I asked Charles what the heck he was doing at the piano after playing a whole evening of jazz, . He explained that he was playing for himself on an exceptional instrument, a private pleasure. The Dirty Dog Steinway is special, as is Charles. Charles has a light touch and a purity of expression that comes from his years of experience. Time has taught him to skip extraneous flourishes. Every note and chord is important, making the piano more important. They are well matched.
We sometimes take for granted those unique gifts that are in our lives, especially the quiet moments like the lake on a still night or Charles on the Steinway, They are welcome departures from the loud and annoying intrusions that more often get our attention.
Charles is a treat to talk to. His music is derived from his life experiences, and he is willing to share. Beware – his smile and the twinkle in his eye are infectious.
One of the genuine treats is to watch Judy and Charles engage. These two diminutive friends have a rare opportunity to look directly into each other’s eyes. They must think that they are looking in a mirror. Warm twinkling eyes full of life and warmth facing off with one another. These two have gravitated to the Dirty Dog probably because there is always a good chance of running into some pretty nice people.
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ:
January 24 – January 25
Skeeto Valdez will bring his unbounded energy and uplifting smile for two days to the Dirty dog. Wear your most comfortable shoes for tapping.
January 26 – January 27
Jason Marsalis’ vibe quartet
With each passing year Jason Marsalis continues to grow and develop as both a composer and performer. With a fire in his heart and a passion for the music, his will to swing has never been more resolute. The maturity and the command he possesses over his music is clearly evident to those who have heard or seen him.
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