Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dusting The Blues

The Savoy is mostly known for its amazing jazz music and extraordinary jazz DJs. However, there are two DJs who are known for their blues - Hy Gynoid and Isobela Capalini. I am not either of them and do not even imagine myself in their class when it comes to blues.

Someone once told me if you are feeling down then just turn on the blues and you will be feeling better real soon. I didn't understand this, but it was probably because I really didn't understand the blues. Most people, like me, believe that to be considered blues the songs must be depressing. This couldn't be further from reality. While many of the songs do tend to have a more depressing content, not all of them do. Blues, like the various "sounds" of jazz describes the music more than then the lyrics. To really see this and how it works you need to spend time with what I have dubbed the dusty musites.

Vintage blues, or as some call them "the scratchies", tell stories and come from the depths of a person's life. One of the best visuals of this is the Empress of the blues, Bessie Smith. From songs of despair and dying like Send Me To The 'lectric Chair to the ravings about the famous southern musician Charlie Green in Trombone Cholly, the blues were equivalent to life. Reaching into the depths of your soul and bringing what is there to the surface and pouring it into an envelope of music is what the blues and especially the vintage blues is all about.

Most people today who enjoy the blues do not want to venture back to the roots. These are usually the vinyls that no one wants to touch for fear of marring them; kind of like the best china that is saved for only the most special occasions that never seem to come around. Today a lot of this music has been digitalized and yet people are still afraid of playing it. They would rather play contemporary blues like Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Lee hooker, Van Morrison and yes, even Cyndi Lauper. There is nothing wrong with any of these performers. I enjoy listening to their music very much as the Savoy's King and Queen of blues can attest to.

As a history buff I love exploring the roots. When discussing blues this means gong back and experiencing those who came before and paved the way for the contemporary artists. The women, or queens of the blues especially paved the way and made it possible for others to pick up where they left off. Bessie Smith earned her title as Empress as she could be considered the original blues diva. This gutsy lady, upon being told that the KKK was coming to break up her tent concert did not run and hide as she was advised to do. Instead, she walked off the stage and right out toward the hooded mob and stood her ground telling them that they would have to fight her, her band AND her tentful of fans. This five foot nine inch woman who could cuss the wallpaper off the wall turned the KKK on their tail and sent them running. She lived every word and every note she sang.

Billie Holiday was another Queen of the blues. She, too, felt every thing she sang and continued to light the path for many others just like the woman whose music inspired her, Bessie Smith. Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton also laid some mortar of her own. In fact, you could say she was responsible for one of Elvis Presley's hits, Hound Dog. The song was actually written for Big Mama and is about a man. Mr. Presley took it and made it about a dog and had a hit. If you listen to Big Mama's version you can really feel why this song was written for her. Ma Rainey is another lady who gets my applause and humble curtsey as a queen of the blues. She was not afraid to sing about anything. From being a Slave To The Blues to Countin' The Blues, Ma Rainey knew what she was providing to the world. But she could also sing songs like "Ma" Rainey's Black Bottom with style and class.

Now, before anyone begins to think that I am partial to the women of blues (I suppose I am as they had to do more to open doors for the women who came after them) I must mention some of the men of blues. While he is mostly known for his jazz (and what some considered a career ending move to pop) Louis Armstrong also provided the world with wonderful blues. This man did more for music in general than anyone else in my opinion (yes, I am partial). Bind Willie McTell is another mason who cleared the way for the future generations. A recognizable voice his music told of life and all that it can bring.

The list of kings and queens of vintage blues could go on for the next ten generations. However, reading about these great oldies would take away from actually experiencing them. Take out the vintage and dust them off. Spin them on the turntable or MP3 player or whatever your chosen mode is. Reaching back and touching your roots from time to time will only serve to strengthen your core and enlighten your soul.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blues In Bed

Sunday mornings have under gone some changes. The sensual DJ Aeryn Lovenkraft has become our primary DJ for Blues On The Green. She even has her own DJ group now, Angelic Blues Clues. She is always angelic in her lovely blue skin and is always giving lots of great information while streaming her vast collection of blues. She plays everything from Jazzy-blues to Rocky-blues. There is no better way to wake up on a Sunday morning.

We do have one problem with Sunday mornings. DJ Aeryn's human host has to work every other Sunday morning and she cannot log in till about the half-way point of the three-hour gig. The hostess fills in once in a while by streaming her blend of blues or hijacking Crighton's stream as he stacks it with blues for her. The other option we will experience began this morning. DJs Hy and Isobela pair up and bring us Blues and Coffee on the Green In Bed.

You heard that right, blues in bed. Since it is still early for them, they DJd from their bed in RL and we made it part of the gig.

DJ Hy & DJ Isobela are King & Queen of the blues

Everyone had a grand time with lots of coffee, special flavoring, beds and blues

Grey had fun jumping up and down on the DJs bed

Needed to hand out blindfold for those who saw Tycho's sleep-wear

It was an absolutely wonderful event and one that those in attendance would like to see continue. Perhaps we will see this again soon. Please let the owners know how much you enjoy all the gigs (conventional or just plain fun) at Savoy. They always want to know that the patrons are satisfied.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary Savoy

On March 17, 2008, I stepped foot for the first time in The Savoy. I was in my tartan ball gown for Irish day and then attended the end of a gig put on by Crighton. He was heading directly to Savoy, which was not officially open, to do a jazz set. Oh the good ole days when Crighton would DJ three and four gigs back-to-back. It was this day that I met Jenda and Bill, the owners of Savoy and felt honored to be a part of something so wonderful. A couple weeks later a grand opening was held and I made sure I attended it.

The grand opening was a spectacular. All the DJs played, as well as some live talent. I wasn't there for the entire day, but I got enough of a taste to know The Savoy would be there for the long haul. About a month later, it was announced that The Savoy was moving. It didn't take long for the move to take place and soon the new open was greeted on Marco Island. With the fantastic club on the ground and a quaint skybox above, Savoy is diverse in its presentation.

One year ago, I was honored to not only attend the first anniversary celebration, but I was a hostess for some of the DJs. I have continued to be a hostess for Savoy (something I said I would never do). I love every moment spent there. the DJs are amazingly talented and the patrons (barring the infrequent griefer running about nekkid) are beyond compare. Last week Savoy celebrated its second anniversary. While I was unable to attend due to Passover, my heart was there celebrating the best jazz and blues club in Second Life.

If you have a chance to stop by, you will not be disappointed. Marco Island is well worth the time to roam about, relax and hang out. Congratulations Crighton Johin and The Savoy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry Christmas Stompers!

savoy - christmas 2009 - santa_001

An incredible evening from start to finish! Live music, exception DJ tunes, and snow! Snow in the air and Christmas spirit abounding. How can you not love it!

Click the photo above to find more and see first hand if you were captured on film ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

At the feet of giants

Take a look! The DJ/Owner of Savoy Jazz Club that everyone raves about finally takes to the stage with a set of vibes. He can spin an incredible set. Have you heard his set that emphasizes vibes? It is worth a listen.

Parker and Iso and Wolke are right... this guy does know his stuff. And, he even can remember it and articulate it while battling his kitty DJ sidekick in RL, and eating a bowl of ice cream!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Patron's Speak Out

For I while I have had requests to post for the Savoy blog. I have three of my own to keep up with and have been in demand of late due to an article in the local paper about my writing. However, I am here now and will try to post as I can. This first post is actually a prompt from a patron of Savoy. While I know that I will probably have my rights to post here after this and ultimately be fired at the Savoy, I will commence.

The early part of 2008, I was in need of a jazz DJ for the jazz club where I hosted and would later manage. I contacted a DJ advertising himself as a jazz DJ and then proceeded to audition him at a rock venue. I hired him and began to love his style and music. March 17th he invited me to a jazz club that he and a couple others were opening called The Savoy. The build was sharp. He DJd that event so I was happy to have the chance to return for their grand opening and enjoy other regular DJs at the Savoy. I quickly learned that Bill Mondegreen, another owner, was also a formidable jazz DJ. In fact all of the DJs at Savoy were top quality whether playing blues or jazz.

Perhaps I am a bit bias as I mainly speak of one who has been one of my best friends in SL for a long time. However, I am not alone in my belief of his talents and knowledge of jazz. DJ Crighton Johin has proven himself an expert in the field of music in general and jazz specifically. Every event he DJs, at Savoy, Bistro Olive, Parky’s Pub, etc., is an education for all listeners. He knows his audience as well as he knows his music and goes the extra mile to make sure that all within the sound of his stream are well satisfied and leave wanting more, yet fully satiated.
Rumor has it that Crighton is the best jazz DJ in all of SL. If you don’t believe me (as I said, I am a bit bias on the subject) then take it from a patron of the Savoy:

Straight Ahead Jazz with DJ Crighton Johin

I consider myself something of a connoisseur of music. My musical tastes are broad and eclectic. I have been listening to Jazz for the past 30 or so years beginning with my first purchase at age 18 of Miles Davis' Kinda Blue.

In SL I have been disappointed by many "jazz clubs" (perhaps this was due to my personal tastes). However on further inspection I found that those clubs approached a very limited range of what may be considered Jazz. Many clubs played, almost exclusively latin jazz, or perhaps fusion and so on.

So when I arrived at the Savoy one night I was skeptical. But what I was hearing impressed me. DJ Crighton was spinning some excellent be-bop and hard-bop from the 50's and immediately my hears perked. Those periods are my personal favorite and as the set continued and the night lingered on the polish of the Savoy shown brightly.

In my discussions with DJ Crighton I learned that he truly has a vast knowledge of Jazz not only from the period that I enjoy most. His sets are "traditional" in that his foundation is Jazz of the 1950's and 1960's yet his knowledge goes far beyond that and reflects his awareness of more current trends and modern composers.

©Wolke Pinion

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Year!!

Monday was the one year anniversary of the grand opening of the Savoy Jazz Club. One year ago, Bill Mondegreen and I had a dream of opening a "real" jazz club in SL. Bill built the club and really did most of the early work, along with Jenda, who put together staff and organized us some. We started off with four regular gigs and a few live acts now and then, including Joaquin Gustav and Anakin Gallacher. As time went by, we added some blues to the mix, and I picked up another night, as well.

Our events had attendance that went up and down. Sometimes I would spin for five people and the next week would bring 15. Judging from experience, I knew that we needed to remain consistent though, and just stay the course we had set. Our philosophy was that the Savoy was to be about the music, and not just any music, but jazz and blues. I've only asked two things of the DJs that have come to work at The Savoy: play blues and jazz (but allow yourself some freedom within those genres,) and to play the music they love. Okay, I lied. There was a third "suggestion," and that was to have fun. My philosophy has been, that if we play the music we love, our passion will show through and like minded people will find us. I'm happy to say, that has happened.

Monday was a resounding success and a whole lot of fun, at least for me. Our events started at noon and ran til Hy finally ran out of gas somewhere close to 11pm. The only sad notes for me was that Bill was out of town and could not attend, and I could not make contact with Chi in time to set her a time to sing.

I'm pressed for time right now, so I can't get into details, but suffice it to say, all the DJ's had inspired playlists, and the crowd certainly echoed that. Nina Brandenburg sang at 7pm and, well, she is our songbird. I have to admit, I was very partial to her setlist that night, because it was all jazz! Her performance was superb, as usual.

I am just so honored to be working with these amazing individuals and hope that we can keep doing this for a long, long time. Thank you all, Savoy patrons and my fellow DJ's, hosts and musicians alike. Let's keep the music alive!