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  • Writer's pictureJOHN OSLER'S UPBEAT Admin




When you think of the word REVIVAL do you picture a large tent on the edge of a small Kansas town, a place where men in hats and their families pour in and uplifting music pours out?  Now, think of a large urban city in what some people call the rust belt, a place like Detroit where people also go to meetings. At these meetings they talk of revival. Talk is cheap and  revival can be  expensive. With actual revival there is a vision and there is passion. Revival is not building  larger tents and bigger meetings. It starts when there is a  commitment to an agreed upon vision. That happens when hearts become filled with purpose and personal gain is put on hold. It happens when those with and those without share equally in the grace that comes with revival.


Revival is more than restoring ones breathing.

Detroit is at a crossroads. It can choose to recover or it can choose to revive. Detroit can get somewhat better or it can be a great city. Few people doubt that this city on the river has the potential to be the place where good ideas live, a vital city that calls out to its citizens to be their best, a city whose clarion call of “we want to do it right” attracts those who want to live in a city that does it right, a city where good ideas are not just heard but enthusiastically executed, a city that can imagine, a city than can comfort, a city that does more than it has to for others, a city where we all want to live and celebrate life.I see Detroit as a city with high speed internet, clean locally generated energy, set asides for parks and paths, an education system that deserves an A, a school system that frees teachers up to teach and where “no child left behind” is more than a slogan for underfunded programs.


Gretchen Valade looked around at a city that had always had a vibrant music scene. It was a difficult time with the venerable Detroit jazz Festival unfunded, jazz venues closing and many of our great artists drifting away. Gretchen could not allow Detroit’s most celebrated art forms to be lost. Almost single handed Gretchen Valade revived Detroit’s jazz.

Gretchen was indeed that right person at that right moment. She made her commitment to her vision that led to our lasting  jazz revival in Detroit.  Detroit heard that the beat was still there and hope was restored. Now every week at the Dirty Dog we can hear the results.



This year Gretchen Valade was recognized for all the thoughtful acts she has taken to make Detroit a better place. Gretchen was given an Honorary Degree Citation by Wayne State University. Here is their statement.

“Wayne State University presented  Gretchen the doctor of laws, honoris causa,.

In their words her award was given  “for her indelible contributions to arts, culture and business in Detroit”..Her tireless work in philanthropy and business has helped reshape the cultural landscape of Detroit.

Valade’s strong passion for jazz led her to found Mack Avenue Records in 1998. The jazz

label is now internationally recognized for excellence in the genre,

Gretchen is truly deserving. She is also truly humble. I remember a great tradional jazz song with the line “hello, Central, give me Doctor Jazz.” . They could have been thinking about Dr. Valade. Congrats Gretchen. Congrats Wayne State.

John Osler


Mack Avenue Records artists Dominick Farinacci and Harold Lopez-Nussa

Wednesday and Thursday OCTOBER 19.20 2016



From the Mack Avenue Record website:

“Dominick Farinacci is set to release his Mack Avenue Records debut, Short Stories – a compelling suite of music with a repertoire that spans genres and generations united by the trumpeter/composer’s soulful conception. Bringing together songs from Tom Waits, Horace Silver, Dianne Reeves and the Gypsy Kings as well as original compositions,

All of the songs have a narrative that any listener can relate to. It might be the eternal duet between people in love, a memory from way back triggered by a chance encounter, an enchanting melody heard from afar that takes over your life or the tremendous empathy that can come from seeing someone else overcome an unimaginable personal struggle.

There are so many superlatives thrown around these days that they seem to have lost their effect; but as this unique and deeply grounded album sinks into your consciousness, you will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that Dominick Farinacci is not only one of the truly outstanding musicians of his generation, but also that what is behind the music is nothing short of miraculous. In Farinacci’s own words: “While Short Stories is the title of this particular recording, it has come to represent a culmination of things I’m most passionate about – performance, education, music & wellness and community-based cultural collaborations – unfolding in the music and touring around the world.””

Friday and Saturday OCTOBER 21,22, 2016



This past week I was driving and heard Harold as he was interviewed by Public Radio. Here is the radio interview and some excerpts from his story.

Harold Lopez- Nussa was born in Cuba only 33 years ago. He has in his short life been invited to perform at clubs and festivals around the world.

Here is his story.

Harold López-Nussa is 33 and when he was a kid, he really wanted to be a major league baseball player. But his family steered him in another direction: toward jazz.

“I came from a musical family,” he says. “My mother was a piano teacher, my father he’s a drummer. My uncle, he’s a jazz piano player in Cuba. So, I grew up into the music when I was born, until today.”

For almost two years now, Cubans like López-Nussa have watched enormous changes take place in their country. Some call it the “Cuban Thaw.” The US and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations. Sanctions have eased. And for the younger generation, the future looks a lot brighter. That’s the way it looks for López-Nussa. Not only is it easier to travel, but he’s been signed by a record label in the US ( Gretchen’s Mack Avenue Records).

He says, “The fact that I’m a Cuban musician who lives in Havana, Cuba, and released an album with an American label, well, maybe three years ago that wasn’t possible. So, this is something that made me dream, not just for me, but for my colleagues in Cuba, musicians, artists in general. I think that we’re living in a very special period for Cuban artists because we have the opportunity to come here and to get more exposure to our art.”

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