Monday, October 19, 2015


The joke about drummer and bandleader Sean Dobbins around Detroit’s jazz scene is he’s held down more jobs than a Jamaican. Dobbins has a strong work ethic. At one point, for example, he taught at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Oakland University, and was the Artistic Director of Jazz Ensembles for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra while performing regionally with the Dobbins Krahnke Weed Trio, and fronting the Sean Dobbins and the Modern Jazz Messengers group. Outside of music, he’s a husband and has three children. With being a musician, an educator, and a family man on his plate, you wonder where in the hell Dobbins found the time, energy, and creativity to make the kick-ass jazz album “The Journey” just released on Detroit Music Factory. The album is Dobbins’s sophomore testament for the label. The first was the slamming “Blue Horizons”. This time out, Dobbins took his organ quartet – saxophonist Marcus Elliot, guitarist Ralph Tope, and organist Chris Codish – into the studio. The quartet has a less explosive temperament than Dobbins's other group Sean Dobbins and the Modern Jazz Messengers. For "The Journey" Dobbins picked ten recognizable compositions such as “Willow Weep for Me,” “Jingles,”  “Remember,” and “Here To Life” and allowed the quartet to pour their chops over the compositions. Each member has a sterling moment on the album. Elliot on “Fancy Free,” and Codish on “Ooh Child”. By far, Tope is the primary muscle on the album. His strumming was sinfully good throughout, and Tope has a gift for pulling pure excellence from his bandmates. Dobbins’s is the brain behind the quartet, but he didn’t step into the spotlight much. The solos that he took were precise. The more commanding solo was at the tail end of “Here’s To Life”. Those familiar with Dobbins career knows early on he was prone to grandstanding.  Sometimes, the most rambunctious and animated cat on the bandstand. However, that hey-mom-check-me-out mentality is in the past. As “The Journey” shows, Dobbins is now a great jazz drummer and a giving bandleader.
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