Jazz is a music that rose out of conditions that could have brought us some pretty dreary dirges. Instead, because of the spirit of those who pioneered jazz it has become probably our most uplifting music. Even the blues leave you feeling good. I remember listening to the message on many Saturday nights that “The blues is all right.” It is certainly true that this is music that can lift your spirit and make you smile. Every year at this time we celebrate this fact by proclaiming this coming week as SMILE WEEK.
Last week we had four days of of grin and smile conditioning when Alvin Waddles brought his team of trainers to the Dirty Dog Jazz Club. I couldn’t help noticing the joyous faces of not only the audience but also the band as they watched Alvin as if they had never known how to have such a good time on the job.
FOUR FRESHMAN DURING SMILE WEEK, July 2013
If, when asked, “How is your day going?’, and your answer is, ” I’ve had better days.”, maybe you should stop by the Dirty Dog. Bring your smile. We are celebrating SMILE WEEK all week at the Dirty Dog. The band and the staff have been practicing good- natured expressions and broad approving grins
Grumpy staff and irascible customers will be asked to remain in a dark corner of the club. However,we expect this section will remain empty for the duration of this year’s Four Freshmen’s stint.
These undergraduates are perennial overachievers, especially in making us feel good. Corners of mouths start to turn up when they get in a groove. Even those who are smile challenged find themselves grinning. It’s the perfect group to see during smile week.
67 years ago The Freshman were formed and began replacing barbershop quartets with their new sound. I was a fan of Stan Kenton, and he heavily influenced the young group. It was Stan Kenton who eventually gave them a shove on their way to becoming the top vocal group of the 50’s when he connected them with Capital Records. Capital didn’t promote them initially, so they took a bunch of demos and passed them out to radio stations in the greatest jazz town at the time, Detroit. They got plenty of air time, and in this jazz savvy city they found success.
Through the years the personnel has changed many times. Their sound is secure in the hands of the current group who might be the best set of musicians to date. More than just another vocal group, these are jazz musicians that sing. Though out their history most members of the Four Freshmen have played more than one instrument.
Pack up your gloom and bring your best smile to the Dog this week. Help us celebrate with some good food, great jazz and a lot of smiles.
Here are the Freshmen from one of their visits to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.
SOME SAMPLE SMILES