Cafe Amore

By , November 24, 2009 10:15 am

amore

The jam at Cafe Amore has been going on for a bit now, but until last night I had only been able to stop by quickly.  The band was D’vonne Lewis on drums, Mark Bullis on bass, a piano player who goes by Gus, John Terpin on trombone, and the always entertaining Ronnie Pierce on alto saxophone.

Ronnie is a pretty amazing guy.  He’s 81 years old, still plays and hangs out as much as I do, likes dirty jokes, and hams it up on the microphone like nobody else.  He’s also become somewhat of a mentor for John, who played with Ronnie at the Whiskey Bar when they had jazz on Wednesdays, and who will often drive Ronnie to hang since he can’t drive anymore.  Keep your eyes on the blog for a recorded interview with Ronnie by John, hopefully he’ll get some crazy stories on tape!

Cafe Amore is a great little italian spot, albeit a little expensive, with a nice bar, fair amount of tables, and a stage at the front of the room under a screen where they play old black and white movies.  The jam is early, from 7:30-10:30, which works well because Ev Stern, bass player and teacher, runs a jazz workshop that finishes around 7, and Amore is all ages, so a lot of the students from the workshop and kids in general get a chance to jam with local musicians.  It was a blast to see this 15-year old kid (who sounded ridiculous, by the way) just grinning ear to ear as he’s playing with D’vonne Lewis, one of the first-call drummers in town.

The other great thing about this session is that John keeps things moving.  There’s never really any lines of soloists because he keeps the groups small from tune to tune, and he’s really good at maneuvering people to getting the song called without a whole lot of discussion, which makes a huge difference at a session.

It’s also really fun to play standards with a trombone on the front line, just a different sound than the typical sax madness you get sometimes.  Thanks John!

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