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March 11, 1983 - Image 13

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-11
Note:
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Jazz
house
By Jerry Brabenec
ATRIP TO the North Campus area
can be rather disorienting these
days with all the cataclysmic changes
taking place around the Med Center,
but out on Fuller Road past the turnoff
to'the Art and Music Schools, there's a
lively little jam session going on every
Thursday night at the Apartment
Lounge in fHuron Towers.
You're probably familiar with Huron
Towers - they're those two big
futuristic looking places that look like
they just dropped out of space and lan-
ded next to the Arb. The Apartment
Lounge hasn't exactly flourished in this
rather remote setting; the old
management tried country, disco, and
just about everything else they could

think of over the last few years -
without much success, though a
waitress told me that at one time the
place was a successful supper club. Any;-
way, Rich Hedlund took over
management about a year ago, and has
pursued a policy of live music,
featuring vocalist/bassist Ricky
Taylor's group for three days, with the
rest of the week split between solo
piano, country western and a local dar-
ts association.
Onone fairly recent Thursday night,
the Apartment was relatively empty,
and fewer musicians than usual had
shown up. A few customers drank
and munched on the free chips and
pretzels while the house band worked
through a relaxed rendition of Jobim's
bossa standard, "Wave."
The house band consists of guitarists
Sam Clark, formerly of Emerald City
and Ann Arbor's answer to Walter
Becker, and Mark Anderson, formerly
with the Les Bloom/Bruce Dondero
Sextet. Bassist Pete Hodges currently
plays with the Washtenaw Community
.College big band, and Carl Dietrich is

the regular drummer. The group is
nominally led by pianist Harvey Reid, a
psychologist who used to play for Wes
Montgomery out in New York.
The interior of the place is done up in
contemporary Hotel Lobby, with
disreputable looking wood panelling,
slabs of marble over by the restrooms,
scattered tables with big, low
Naugahyde lounge chairs, red shag
carpet on the walls and those little glass
candles on all the tables. It's comfor-
table, and the musicians and their
friends pretty much run the place. A
few more musicians have shown up, in-
cluding tenor sax/bandleader Paul
Vorhagen, and the band starts into John
Coltrane's "Moment's Notice."
This tune has some pretty
challenging chord changes, and as a
result the band opts for a conservative
tempo. Vorhagen has done his
homework and turns in an assured solo,
but some of the soloists don't fare so
well. The rhythm section of Hodges,
Reid, and Dietrich does a lot to carry
through the occasional stretches of
tedium, playing tightly and tastefully.

Charlie Parker's standard "Confir-
mation" is next, and the soloists seem
more comfortable with this tune's
spacious changes. Anderson plays a
sort of Joe Pass style solo, concen-
trating on chord voicings that accen-
tuate the warm tone .of his big hollow
body guitar. Clark follows on his Fen-
der, sounding a little like a hip country
player showing off his chops. A sur-
prising flugelhorn solo, more tenor sax,
and it's break time.
Musicians come and go, yelling
greetings and exchanging information
about gigs, concerts, parties, friends,
and bands, very much in the tradition.
On an off night at a smaller local bar,
the musicians and friends who show up
can sustain a weekly jam session and
benefit both the bar and themselves.
Along with the Eclipse's bimonthly
sessions at the University Club, the
Apartment gives local musicians a
chance to hear and be heard, and the
audience a chance to see some local
diamonds in the rough.

Jazz
By Jackie Young
FOR AT LEAST a dozen years jazz
lovers have been cramming the
Del Rio bar forming what jazz follower
Ron Brooks calls "the Del Rio
tradition."
Brooks, who is himself a talented jazz
musician, has been in charge of roun-
ding up jazz groups to play at the Del
Rio (122 W. Washington) for many
years. Every Sunday evening a dif-
ferent jazz group is featured at the Del
Rio - except for the first Sunday of the
month when the band Changes plays.
Finding different groups to play is not
very difficult, according to Brooks.
Musicians want to play the Del Rio
because of its "enthusiastic jazz
audiences which gets both University
and community support," he said. As a
result the Del Rio attracts a variety of
musicians from across the state. "The
intimacy of the setting is an important
element to the musicians," he added.
And intimate the Del Rio certainly is!
Usually the small bar floor is com-
pletely filled to capacity on Sunday
evenings, with the wooden booths and
tables packed in so tightly around the
tiny 10-by-10-foot stage that it's
sometimes, hard to distinguish the
audience from the musicians.
But the smallness of the room does
not detract from the night-clubish at-
mosphere that pervades the bar. A
conglomeration of wood shutters block
out outside light and the room seems
almost like a basement with abstract
paintings of jazz musicians adding a

cultured touch to the red brick walls
and old fashioned ceilings.
Brooks can recall jazz artists such as
Stanley Cowel, Kenny Cox, Danny
Spenser, and Larry Nezero playing at
the Del Rio at some time. Some of Bud-
dy Rich's band members have "sat in"
on occasion, as have members of Duke
Ellington's band, he said.
On one recent Sunday, local pianist
Larry Manderville jammed with a
group of musicians primarily from the
Detroit area. Manderville said he likes
playing at the Del Rio "because
everyone can hear what's happening."
Manderville's group mellowed out the
crowded bar room with a Miles Davis
tune, "All Blues." A cold glass of
California white wine or a pitcher of
German beer could not have done the
job better. Yet another piece "Blues
Bossa" - got the audience very moving
with its upbeat rhythm and powerful
sax solos.
To Manderville, who plays with many
different groups, the spontaneity of the
jazz art form is a way of life.
"Jazz is a lifestyle. You take one beat
at a time and make the most out of it,"
he said. "It is good this way because
you don't form an attitude on the song
before you play it. You just play and
you don't have time to form
prejudices."
Whether you're a jazz expert or just
an appreciator of musical creativity,
the Del Rio has a lure for those who
wish to be lulled by the swaying, foot
tapping rhythm of good jazz music. But
if you want to get a seat you better get
there before 5 p.m. Sunday. The smalr
building is usually packed with patrons,
some even lined up outside its doors on
the corner of Washington and Ashley
streets, waiting to jam in the Del Rio
tradition.

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Larry Manderville: A way of life

'Pr'

16 Weekend/March 11, 1983

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