The Dirty Dog Jazz Café will remain closed until our jazz family can again safely gather in an intimate setting to hear live jazz. What makes the Dirty Dog and jazz so important in our lives is its ability to bring us closer together. For the moment we will have to stay close by staying apart. This necessary intermission will end, and jazz will once again leak out the Dog’s front door and smiling people will pour in. See you then.
Willie is officially the dining room manager/programming director. Unofficially he is the Director of Food,Spirits and all that Jazz. Because Willie Jones is one of those people who get things done by nudging everything and everyone around him in the right direction. Anyone lucky enough to spend time with Willie knows that there will be little small talk and plenty of optimism. Through the force of his calmness things will get better and problems will get resolved. Here is Willie’s message this month.
“Just like the musicians of jazz are resilient, the entire Dirty Dog team is resilient as well. We all look forward to coming back to the Dirty Dog to give our followers that Dirty Dog experience they’ve come to enjoy. We ask that all of you remain safe and healthy as we are trying to do the same. Health and safety are the number one priorities at this time but as soon as the environment allows, delivering Dirty Dog jazz to our followers will be at the top of our priority list. We are, Gretchen Valade tough~ jazz tough~ Detroit tough~people tough.”
I featured Will Austin on the cover of the book dedicated to Gretchen Valade, DETROIT JAZZ
This week I received a call from Marion Hayden informing me that Will Austin had passed away. Will was a gentle man and an important link in Detroit’s chain of great bass players. I find myself using the phrase passed away as it seems more pleasant/gradual than he died. Will was a teacher and friend to many with a calm that surrounded him in contrast to the force that described his playing. I hope he passed away peacefully as he deserved as much. Will was a self-taught Bassist who performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Lil’ Esther Phillips, drummer Gene Krupa, Terry Pollard, Ysef Lateef, Sammy Davis Jr., Sonny Stitt, Johnny Hartman, Diane Carroll etc, etc.He was born in Saint Louis, Missouri and moved to Detroit in the mid 50’s Will worked in Automotive Sales by day and jammed at jazz and blues clubs by night; along with raising a family. I noticed that his son (also a bassist) felt it would be fitting for donations would go to two things that Will loved, children and jazz.
A true Detroit story.
SPRINGTIME COMES ONLY ONCE A YEAR
We are all doing our best to avoid helping the virus to beat us. It is hard to see any results from our efforts We will never know what good our sacrifices will have brought. Springtime shows us that things have a way to rise up out of adversity. Certainly this is true in Michigan when spring suddenly wipes out all the gray that surrounds us and lifts our spirits. I think we have to concentrate on things that have a future and seem to know it like flowers and children.
Last year about this time I remember opening up our screen porch and getting out a table and a couple of chairs. It was warm enough so my wife and I could have a quiet evening dinner outside. We welcomed this moment alone. We have had enough aloneness now to last our lifetime.
Last spring I wrote about the magic of birth and rebirth, There are some lessons there that might help in these dark times. It may be a good time to insert some positive thoughts and actions into our days.
Springtime is like childhood, It takes an empty winter canvas and adds color bit by bit until we are ready for summer. It is a time of discovery and wonder. Everything around us can seem fresh and new, but seems to pass too quickly. We are reluctant to see the gently refreshing spring showers end and a little fearful of the summer storms that will follow, but we can wallow in the moment.
Springtime is the ultimate elixir for our creative souls. Everything gets a fresh start. We have had a long winter to mull things over, and now the longer days will help us get things done. It is also that moment when we have only balmy weather in front of us. Spring is like a jazz set about to take off and soar. It is a chance to be a child again, if only we can remember how that felt. This is probably why we should check up on what our children and jazz artists have to say, and savor the season
Children are our true angels and can teach us a lot about how we can better our life.
Every day is a fresh start”. – Pablo Picasso
Not all children get a chance to have a carefree childhood. Unfortunately some children are asked to grow up too fast, and some never get a chance to be a child. We need someone to be there to allow a child to explore the world around them. When things go as they are supposed to childhood should be cherished, remembered and when possible replicated.
.A lot of the gifts of childhood are neglected and lost as we grow up. It is never too late to include some springtime, even in your autumn years.
Start each day as if it were the first day of spring.
Children seldom carry yesterday’s baggage into a new day. When you are young, every day feels like an eternity and a new day means new opportunities to make new friends, explore new adventures, learn new things.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery.
Live your day with some courage/ Open up to things
Children don’t know enough to worry. They see possibilities not dangers. They play, sing, shout and take chances because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation.
Children are filled with hope and determination. They haven’t been beaten down, As adults, we sometimes fear the unknown. We stay safely ensconced in our comfort zone and rarely venture out. Adventure can exhilarate and awaken our spirit.
This can be done while confined in your home.
( Don’t take risks that could endanger others.)
Include laughter and joy.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin
Children have the wonderful ability to find joy all around them. They see silliness everywhere.
Kids keep moving when they aren’t sleeping, and they sleep well because they keep moving. I can get tired just watching kids. We all know we should join in, if only we could get up from our chairs.
Be open to friendships
Children like the company of other kids. They share a language. Kids haven’t developed filters and disappointments that get in the way of making new friends. It is our job to be their friend.
Be proud to be you.
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron
Sometimes we wallow in our perceived mediocrity. Children accomplish something every day and feel pretty good about it. Left alone they can be a hero in the space they happen to occupy.
Remember that everything around you is worth a look.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
When I walked with my wife in spring she would point out to me the different flowers growing up through the cracks in the sidewalks, My kids were closer to the cracks and would spend time with all the little things all around them. We unfortunately neglect these joyful discoveries. We need to include these tiny miracles in our days.
The creative process should remain part of all one’s life. When do we stop seeing creative activities as worthwhile? When did play and fun become a luxury? I think that adults should take more time for some finger painting. Or take a moment for deep thoughts.
Childlike jazz artists
No one has to tell a jazz musician any of the stuff above. Their seldom forget the fun that childhood and jazz can be.
Jazz is extremely complex, yet when people can’t figure out how jazz works they often use the word “childlike” to describe it. “Blossom Dearie had a unique childlike voice” or when Sting tried to sing jazz he was said to “have adapted to a childlike voice”. Theolonius Monk was said to use childlike pauses. This is more about editing out the unnecessary, sort of the way children do.
SUPPORT ALL CHILDREN, YOUNG AND OLD
Children below the age of 9 or 10 don’t edit themselves the way adults do, which, as we all know, can have its pluses and minuses. It can be amazing, funny, and inspiring or it can be messy, annoying, and even dangerous. That is why parents get to join in on the fun.
We spend a lot of time making sure our kids get a chance to be kids. We should do the same for ourselves and those close to us . Jazz musicians have the secret that allows them to let the child inside take over and finish the tune. Think springtime, childlike and jazzy.
Please stay safe,