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!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Savoy Jazz Club

Just about a year ago, Bill Mondegreen and I started talking about opening a jazz club in SL. We both knew that there was a plethora of jazz clubs in SL already, but one thing we noticed about these "jazz" clubs. Very few of them actually played Jazz! I had been to jazz clubs that played nice music...Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Maybe some Sanborn and Kenny G (gags.) We found it odd, that you could go to a jazz club and not hear a single instrumental piece, as if jazz only was a vocal idiom. The reality is that most jazz IS instrumental music. Jazz has always been not about the song itself, but about the players. We saw a void in the SL music scene that we hoped to fill.

So Bill built a club. And it was a beautiful club indeed. Shortly after opening, we moved to Marco Island, and Bill did himself one better by improving an already gorgeous club. We started with three DJs, one live performer and a lot of hope. Bill and I played straight ahead acoustic jazz, and Cataplexia Numbers played a more eclectic mix of smooth jazz and swing. We had the great guitarist, Joaquin Gustav, on a semi-regular basis. In time we added two blues DJs to the mix, Isobela Capalini and Hy Gynoid. Later we added DJ Donagh Dougall and Borday Moo to the blues mix, and also the fantastic jazz/fusion of Oggden Zessinthal. Finally, we lost Don, but found bigd. Funny how we can find a jewel that has always been with us, huh?

A big turning point in the club, however, was with the "signing" of two singers to perform regularly at the Savoy, Inchino Melson and Nina Brandenburg. Each brought their own delicious personality and beautiful voice to us, and also brought more people and traffic. Where we once had four gigs a week on three nights, we now have events every day, sometimes up to three, for a total of 12.5 events a week (Chi sings every other week.)

For me, personally, The Savoy has been a most gratifying venture. First off, it re-ignited my passion for jazz. I cannot count the number of times I've been listening to this amazing music, while people are happily chatting and obviously satisfied, sometimes thrilled, which is exactly how I feel at times. Thrilled by the flights of Bird on Salt Peanuts. Mesmerized by Miles and Trane and PC on So What. Astounded at the intricacy of a Monk or Mingus composition. Heartbroken by the voice that is Billie Holiday. Joyously smiling at the genius of Louis Armstrong or Oscar Peterson. Grooving in my chair to Horace Silver and Joe Henderson. And having an Idle Moment with Grant Green and company. I have chills right now thinking about this, wondering how I could possibly bring this SL "job" into my RL. But for now, there is the Savoy, possibly a bigger part of my life than it should be, but there it is. My passion. "Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life." - Art Blakey. Yes,sir, it certainly does.