Wednesday, November 4, 2009


At 10:00am, I played "carl cafagna & northstar jazz Live at the detroit jazz festival”. It is 11:05pm now, Carl, and I’m still listening to it. I carried the album with me while I ran a few errands. Driving to Mississippi Muscle Gym in St. Clair Shore for my Tuesday afternoon workout, I played it. I pretended I subbed for you on “Waxwing”, while showering after my workout. In my mind, I sped through the chord changes, and the crowd went nuts. Shopping for a bookcase at Pier 1 I strolled about humming the melody to “Liberty (Elvin’s joint)”.

As I write this post, I’m playing the album yet again. I’m hooked. Carl, Northstar Jazz is a fantastic sextet. For nearly a decade, post-bop bands such as Bop Culture, Urban Transport, Sean Dobbins and the New Jazz Messengers, and the Hot Club of Detroit have surfaced on the Detroit jazz landscape.

This year, I've seen you in various roles. I heard you for the first time with the Scott Gwinnell Orchestra and the Hot Club of Detroit this summer. Last week, I heard you sing with the Metro Jazz Voices at Baker’s. On “carl cafagna & northstar Live at the detroit jazz festival”, which I bought at that night, I’m experiencing you as a boss.

You are a self-less bandleader. Did you form this band as a showcase for your band-mates trumpeter Dr. Scott Cowan, saxophonist James Hughes, bassist Shannon Wade, drummer Scott Kretzer, and pianist Scott Gwinnell? It appeared so. Gwinnell really stood out. On the "Soulful Mr. Timmons", written by pianist James Williams for the late pianist Bobby Timmons, Gwinnell played as if Timmons' spirit was standing over Gwinnell's shoulder encouraging him.

Carl, I was hard on you in my review of the Metro Jazz Voices performance last week. I wondered why some saxophone players want to sing. Are you all frustrated singers? I said your singing was rough. On “Live at the Detroit jazz festival”, I enjoyed when you sang “Just a Close Walk with Thee". I liked spending time with your album today. It’s close to mid-night. Time for me to finally put the album away, and go to bed.
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