BoMuse News, Nov. 2018 (vol. 17, no. 11)
BoMuse News is a monthly newsletter from BoMuse Music. It presents items of interest related to jazz, and advocacy for music education, as well as news of releases from BoMuse Music and the performing activities of Paul Combs.
1. Thanks and Intimate Venues
2. Venue News, Ups And Downs
3. John Coltrane & Louis Armstrong Houses
4. A trip to Key West/Gigs
1. Thanks to everyone who came out to hear Melonie Grinnell and me at the La Mesa Branch Library, and again with the addition of Mack Leighton and Richard Sellers at Wolfe Gardens. The acoustics at the Library were perfect for our electric piano and saxophone duo. This in spite of, or perhaps because of our location in a corner of the library itself. The La Mesa Branch Library has a regular monthly series of concerts featuring a varsity of musical styles, presented usually on the second Saturday of the month. This was such a pleasure for the two of us that I will be looking for more library concert opportunities
The acoustics at Deborah Wolfe’s home are also perfect for small groups, even with drums – and the right drummer, of course. There is a small grand piano, and room for 25 to 35 people to sit comfortably. The intimacy of these spaces provides an almost conversational environment for the performers and listeners. We even had audience members ask a couple of very good questions between numbers. I hope to find more opportunities for this kind of performance, especially with the CD coming out next year. If you, dear reader, should have any leads on house concerts, please let me know.
2. First bad news from San Diego – I always like to give the bad news first. The restaurant that has hosted the Northern Spirits Jazz Club in San Marcos for the last few years, has closed, leaving Norm Murphy, who booked the musicians without a venue. Norm has expressed to me that he will be looking for another, and we wish him all success in this. Many nights of excellent music took place there, and I feel honored to have played there a couple of times.
Another music series looking for a new venue is the concerts that were being given in the lovely little auditorium at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center. These concerts, organized by a volunteer group, are presented twice a month, and will stop at the end of the year. They featured a great variety of genres. I attended a delightful concert of percussion music, mostly from regions of Africa, organized by N. Scott Robinson. Of course there have been performances by jazz musicians as well. There are four more concerts scheduled this year, and the small auditorium is very pleasant. Watch for new of a resumption of this series of concerts at a new venue.
The good venue news is on the East Coast. The Press Room, in Portsmouth, NH, has long been a home for jazz in the New Hampshire/Southern Maine area. I played there from the time it opened in the late 80s, until just before moving out to San Diego. A couple of months ago it had to close for renovations. Many were worried that this would be the end of its long-standing jazz-friendly booking policy. To everyone’s delight it reopened on Halloween, with the Sunday Jazz and Tuesday jam session intact. I did not see mention of the Monday jazz down stairs, but you can visit their Web site to see what is happening.
3. The efforts to preserve John and Alice Coltrane’s Long Island home has come a long way since 2002, when it was threatened with being demolished by a real estate developer. At times it looked like the cause was lost, but with perseverance, the funding and community support was found, and by 2007 the Town of Huntington, NY where it is located, purchased the home and donated it to the Friends of the Coltrane home. Following that the home was placed on both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, and in 2011the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) added it to their register of Endangered Places. Recently the NTHP has named the home a National Treasure, and has committed to help in the repair and restoration of the home. Now with a $75,000 grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, work on the home will move forward. According to an article in the New York Times by Gabe Cohn, “Plans for the property include renovation of the home (recent efforts have included replacing the roof, rebuilding the chimney and fighting mold) and, eventually, the installation of a public park on the surrounding land. The Friends of the Coltrane Home, the group that manages the property, also hopes to offer music education programs there.”
There is further good news of support for historic preservation of important musical sites, the Louis Armstrong House, in Corona Queens, NY. According to another NYT article by Gabe Cohn, “The little white house in Corona, Queens, next to Louis and Lucille Armstrong’s home would be unremarkable now if the couple’s next-door neighbor, Selma Heraldo, hadn’t become so close to them. In the years after the jazz great and his wife died — in 1971 and 1983, respectively — Heraldo became a tangible link to the couple; she was a local who knew them as they were when they lived in Queens, and who regularly attended events held by the Louis Armstrong House Museum, which opened in the Armstrong home in 2003. When Heraldo died in 2011, she left her own home to the museum. Now, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the museum have announced that the city has allocated $1.9 million to help renovate Heraldo’s two-story home, known as Selma’s House, a project that also received about $1 million from the city in July 2017. In a separate addition already in progress, an education center and jazz club are being built across the street.”
4. I only have a couple of gigs this month, so I will include a little report on my visit to Key West Fl, and a worthy project involving a couple of good friends of mine. Erika Biddle, one of the friends I was visiting, is organizing large public exhibit titled “Blind Spots: Modern Slavery Exposed.” Part of this grew out of the work of Len Morris of Galen Films, another friend, and Len will be one of the speakers at events around the installation of the Blind Spots exhibit. I will report again on this as we get closer to the February date of the exhibit.
While I was in Key West I sat in with this band at the Green Parrot, and met some fine musicians with whom I found I had mutual friends. The Sunday afternoon jam session is not listed with the events, but if you are down there, I believe you can count on it; 1:00-4:00 on Sundays.
Adam Wolfe and I will play at the La Mesa Wine Works on Sunday, November 1:30-4:30. La Mesa Wine Works often has jazz on Sunday afternoons, the wines are excellent and you are welcome to bring food. A great place for a Sunday hang with friends. I will be in the band with Dene Davidson and Joey Carano at Carlsbad Village Faire in the afternoons on the first two Wednesdays in November. I will be out of town for the last two, but that should not keep you from stopping by the lovely courtyard there to hear the guys, and whoever sits in for me. As always, the details are available Events.
As always, thank you for supporting LIVE MUSIC!