Monday, November 30, 2009


Phil HalePhil, your big brother, Milton Hale, is a superb drummer. At the Cadieux Cafe's Soul Jazz Sunday jam session, Milton swung non-stop like a traffic signal on a windy day. I always enjoy hearing him. He never showboats like some of his peers. Last night, was the first time I heard him in awhile. I wondered if he had moved. After the first set, drummer RJ Spangler, who put together the jam session, told me Milton performs around town. I didn’t talk Milton afterwards. He was surrounded. I'm glad his chops are still up. He plays best backing singers. Listening to him play behind the special guest vocalist-I didn't catch her name-who performed "In a Sentimental Mood" last night, reminds me of the first time I heard Milton nearly a decade ago.

He played with vocalist Rene' Marie. He knew when to push Marie, and when to back off. Months later, I saw another side of Milton, playing with the late saxophone player David "Fathead" Newman. Milton raised hell. Phil, excuse me if I’m annoying you by boasting about Milton. I know it was your gig, but you didn't seem to mind your brother commanded the stage. You could've turned the performance into a sibling rivalry, but instead you pushed him, bassist Ibrahim Jones and your special guest guitarist Paul Carey to do their thing.

The trio was marvelous, covering staples such as "So What", and "In a Sentimental Mood", On "Caravan", the band woke up the neighborhood. Jones was excellent as well. I wondered if Jones had a spare bass in his car. He gave the bass a workout. I doubted if it would last through another set. Phil you're a wonderful piano player. I’m used to you as a sideman, but Sunday you showed good leadership skills, encouraging your brother and the others.
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