Old Doghouse, New Licks
The title of "It's You or No One" might sound like an imperative to romantic bondage, but as a first-set offering at Sunday's Doghouse Jam, it sounded like a bright invitation. Not everybody in the venue picked up on it, even during Michael Zisman's sweet bass solos. And the house band took in a couple of alter you's, trumpeter Al Molina (saxophonist Andrew Speight had a different imperative) and keyboardist Gaea Schell. Al was ready and able to blow the dust off old standards, Gaea swung her solos like a well-made, old-fashioned bejeweled purse. Michael made his strings talk suavely and politely, despite the uncaring and almost unavoidable loud conversation going on at the bar. And Vince's boom-ticka-booms reinforced the musical mandate, making us listeners glad we were us and not no one noisier. In the group's long weekend take on "Body and Soul", Gaea's own soul looked buff, and smooth enough to lay one's ears on. Al took his own lines to the sassy streets of downtown, from his bucolic Brisbane villa. Stepping into the Jam, Tod Dickow bristled the hair on his tenor and seemed to stifle the external white noise some. The bolstered group held its course through a couple of vocals. There followed some visceral gurglings from Gaea's Yamaha, causing my buddy Peter Nam to comment, "I think I know where this is going!" And he was ready for that set-ending sojourn to "Cantaloupe Island", both Al and Tod adding tangy tropical bubbles to the punch. Thanks to the Doghouse pack, including Vanessa and all the chefs, tenders, and servers, for ushering us into Labor Day. If only all labor were this lovely.