Hullo friends. If you didn't make it last week, maybe it's just as well. We were at the fire Marshall limit anyway. Like the old days at our venerable curiously lit location, listeners were shoulder to shoulder and wall to wall. The WNY Project Big Band made its debut appearance, and plans are to build on the energy and the vibe, and provide both a vehicle for big band exploration and a venue for big band performance.
Tuesday, 6/28 at the Iris Restaurant 7:30 - 10:30
Bill Todd, saxophone Michael T. Jones, piano Cameron Kayne, bass your host, drum set
And by a happy coincidence, last week's section saxophonist is this week's featured guest - a debut of sorts because this is Bill's first feature as a leader on our continuing jazz experiment. We were able to find a date in between his cruise ship contracts, and we're expecting a big hometown crowd for this likable and hard working young musician. In fact we've got two twenty-somethings on the gig this week, something which satisfies me greatly: I love it when Mike Jones is among the more senior guys on the gig. So note the later start time, and stop in if you can. We are now the new Iris Restaurant in the Maple Entertainment Complex – good music, good food, good people, chilled spirits, and a great hang.
Hullo friends. We’re two weeks in and all is well. In fact, just last week I received two unsolicited comments from trusted sources in support of our new management. Fair and entrepreneurial were two of the descriptives used regarding the new owner of the Maple Entertainment Complex and the Iris Restaurant. Also unsolicited from some enthusiastic regulars were positive observations regarding the food and the wine selections. And as an occasional beer taster, I can attest to the draft variety offered in the Library. So we persevere, and we do so this week with a maiden offering…
Tuesday, 6/21 at the Iris Restaurant 7:00 - 10:00
The WNY Project Big Band playing the compositions & arrangements of Dave Kayne
saxes: Kenny Kuriscak, Bill Todd, Andy Weinzler, John Troy, Mike Troy
trombones: John Hasselback, Matt Atfield, Lon Gormley, Alan Jaenecke
trumpets: Jim Bohm, Tim Clarke, Paul Wos, Joe Martino
rhythm: Dave Kayne, Cameron Kayne, your host
The idea behind the WNY Project Big Band is to bring together both the graying and future practitioners of our art form, and to play the world-class arrangements of Dave Kayne. I know, I use the term world-class a lot, my limited vocabulary being what it is. But when I heard a demo version of some of the charts we will be playing this Tuesday I was stunned. I’ve known Dave for years. He’s an early-rising work-a-holic who will sacrifice his sleep in order to practice or write before putting in a full day as band director at Starpoint High School. I’ve played his small group arrangements and I’ve always been impressed by how easily he can translate to the written page what he hears in his head. But I wasn’t prepared for the sound that came from my car speakers when I played the practice disc he gave me. Think Thad Jones or Rob McConnell, Don Menza or Bob Florence, John La Barbera or Gordon Goodwin. Dave’s arrangements are rhythmically vital, harmonically rich, lyrical, melodic, lush, nuanced, and complete musical works of art. Now it’s our job to make music of the notes. Please join us as we continue our tradition… The new Iris Restaurant – good music, good food, good people, chilled spirits, and a great hang.
Hullo friends. Change: slow, deliberate, obvious, and so far, effective. The former Bobby McGee’s is now The Maple Entertainment Complex. Our club features three inter-related concepts and a consistent theme. The old Dakota Grill Cigar Bar is now The Library, featuring a 50” flat screen for sporting events, 20 taps of an international variety, and 30 bottled beers for the discerning beer snob. The banquet room is now The Forum, with a massive stage flying sound & lights, with the intent to feature national acts of various genres. Our twelve year jazz experiment continues in the Iris Restaurant. The stage is still in its ill-conceived location, but the sight lines are improved now that the glass & knee-wall barriers are removed. The restaurant wine list is expanded, and the kitchen is now under the direction of a bona fide chef. Mike Milkie has earned his rest.
After 50 years in the restaurant business, Mike can finally enjoy the fruits of his labors. To him, the jazz community owes a debt. He trusted a stranger with an idea, he weathered the slow nights, he hung with the continuing learning curve, and he loved the good people we were able to attract. Uncommonly, Mike Milkie is that rare businessman who is not afraid to reveal his heart. To this day, he remains a gentle, genuine soul. We offer our heartfelt thanks, we wish him health, and we extend a life-long invitation to join us in his leisure and hear the music he helped bring to our community.
Tuesday, 6/14 at the Iris Restaurant in The Maple Entertainment Complex 7:00 - 10:00
Andy Weinzler, tenor saxophone Bobby Jones, piano Jim Colemon, bass your host, drum set
After 12 years of nurturing our jazz commitment, we now enter week two under new management. So flow the currents in the river of life. And though it’s too soon to celebrate our success story, we have for the moment survived. The summer is booked, and this week we feature one of the leading tenor voices of a renowned Buffalo saxophone lineage. Andy Weinzler is without peer when it comes to playing with passion. His commitment to sound and musical invention are legendary among jazz cognoscenti. Throw in rhythm a section of Bobby Jones and Jim Colemon, and you’ve got a Village Vanguard experience without the Manhattan cover charge. Please stop by and take in the changes of the both the musical and experiential variety. Our mission remains the same. Good music, good food, good people, chilled spirits, and a great hang.
next Tuesday, 6/21 at the Iris Restaurant 7:00 - 10:00
Hullo everyone. I think we're under new management. The former cigar bar is now The Library. It has been meticulously remodeled and offers 20 taps and 30 bottled beers for the discerning hops enthusiast. The Forum, formerly the banquet room, has a huge stage with sound & lights, and will feature a variety of acts. The middle room where we are is now getting some needed attention, as is the kitchen and everything that comes out of it on a plate. The lovely Jyl-with-child is on her sabbatical, but Mike Milkie remains in an advisory position. The myriad pressures of keeping a twenty-first century business afloat are finally behind him, and our debt of gratitude is considerable. In September of 1998 he took a chance on an idea, putting his trust in a complete stranger. Now almost 13 years later, our venue has become the voice of the music for the jazz listener and perpetrator. Our mutual loyalties have been rewarded. So as best we know, our jazz experiment continues. For as long as we can continue to make sense (cents) from a business standpoint, we have a chance to survive. Our goal has simply been to make a contribution and keep the music in the air. With your continued support, we hope to survive the changes, and grow with them.
Tuesday, 6/7 7:00 - 10:00
Wendell Rivera's Latin Jazz Ensemble
Wendell Rivera, latin percussion Nelson Rivera, tenor saxophone Pat Georger, piano John Curry, bass your host, drum set
How it is that Buffalo becomes a destination for so many great musicians is still a mystery to me. America is still the land of opportunity, but if you grew up on a tropical island, could you hang for a Buffalo winter? Wendell did, and he now leads the most recognized latin jazz ensemble outside of New York City. His self-titled 2005 recording features the world renowned John Patitucci on bass. And this summer he is again a featured artist at the Buffalo News sponsored Jazz at the Albright Knox - which this summer will actually take place on Shakespeare Hill behind the Delaware Park Rose Garden. So this week get your June Jazz Salsa Fix at your trusted Tuesday source, which by the way, we don't know the name of! I took a glance the club while on the 290 last night, and the Bobby McGee's sign was either turned off or gone! So whoever we are, come out, dig that infectious salsa rhythm, and maybe learn the name of our new direction! Regardless, our mission remains the same - good music, good food, good people, chilled spirits, and a great hang. Still in the Maple Ridge Plaza, Sweet Home & Maple Roads...