Roger Humphries & RH Factor – 10.6.17 – Sweetwater Center For The Arts

Roger Humphries – drums
Max Leake – piano
Ron Horton – trumpet
Lou Stellute – saxophones
Dwayne Dolphin – bass

A few weeks ago, I was invited by a good friend to join him for beers, burgers and jazz and it was a difficult combination to pass up.  We started things off with a few beers and some really good burgers out in Ambridge at the Bridgetown Taphouse.  The food was good and, having become accustomed to recent East End Pittsburgh pricing, the prices here were right!  The next stop was a short cruise down river to Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley for the jazz part.

For any jazz fan in Pittsburgh, not much else needs to be said about local jazz hero Roger Humphries and his all-star band, RH Factor.  If you are looking for that mid 1960’s / hard-bop / Blue Note / Jazz Messengers type of sound, these are the guys that will deliver every time.  On this particular night, they sounded REALLY good.  Not just their playing, but the actual sound in the room was incredible.  With the exception of a small amp for Dwayne Dolphin‘s electric bass, all of the instruments were acoustic with no amplification. There’s something about the concept of sound coming from just metal and wood that I absolutely love.  Of course I’m simplifying, but it’s rare and it’s amazing.

Through two engaging sets of music, some highlights for me were Lou Stellute‘s use of a soprano sax (which I had never seen him play before), as well as takes on “My Favorite Things”, one of my favorite Herbie Hancock tunes “Tell Me A Bedtime A Story“, and a version of Joe Henderson‘s “Mamacita” shown in the video above.  Also, I cannot forget the enthusiastic introductions by local artist/jazz singer/legend, Betty Douglas.

With all due respect to Sweetwater and the town (borough?) of Sewickley, it almost always seems like the people that come out to events here probably don’t make it out to see much live music.  Again, I mean no disrespect at all and I could be way off base.  The audience just always seems so incredibly appreciative and impressed by the music being presented and the audience on this night was no exception. To me, this certainly enhances the experience and makes for a more memorable night. Thank you to Alex, Shawn, and the Sweetwater staff for inviting me out.  As always, I had a blast and look forward to doing it again!


Record Scores – Nov/Dec 2013

Bennie Maupin

The Jewel In The Lotus
1974 – ECM


Wayne Horvitz & Zony Mash
Cold Spell
1997 – Knitting Factory Works

Houston Person

1969 – Prestige


Grant Green
Carryin’ On
1970 – Blue Note

DJ Cam

No. 1
1997 – Shadow Records
2x 10″ Vinyl

Lou Donaldson

Fried Buzzard
1967 – Cadet


Jean-Marc Padovani Septet
Out – “Tribute To Eric Dolphy”
2003 – Deux Z

Miles Davis Quartet

“A Night In Tunisia”
1955 – Prestige
7″ Vinyl

Joe Henderson

In Japan
1973 – Milestone

Record Scores – 8.10.13

I finally got my hands on a copy of the Blow Up Soundtrack by Herbie Hancock.  This record has been a favorite of mine for years but I’ve never had it on vinyl.  It also features a song by The Yardbirds, “Stroll On”, which was a rewrite of “Train Kept A Rollin”.  The lineup for the Herbie stuff is incredible:

Herbie Hancock – piano, melodica
Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
Joe Newman – trumpet
Phil Woods – alto sax
Joe Henderson – tenor sax
Jimmy Smith – organ (possibly Paul Griffin: organ)
Jim Hall – guitar
Ron Carter – bass
Jack DeJohnette – drums

These are some of the other highlights.  I haven’t listened to the Chet Baker LP on CTI yet but my expectations are LOW, even with Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette.  But for a buck, I had to pick it up.

This is the scene from the 1966 film Blow Up that features the Yardbirds song.  This scene (and entire film) are so weird and great.  I love how everybody in the audience is just standing there staring at the band like it is some interpretive dance performance or something.  I dare you not to want to dance to this song!

Stranger Convention – “Black Narcissus” (Joe Henderson)

Stranger Convention is a new (ish ?) jazz quintet playing around Pittsburgh.  They play cool shit like Joe Jenderson‘s “Black Narcissus” and a Radiohead tune.  I just found out about them last night while perusing the upcoming schedule at James Street.  They are playing there on 8/11 by the way.  I look forward to checking out one of their shows as soon as possible. Good stuff.  I dig it.

Record Scores – 2.13.13


I picked up a few records at the thrift store yesterday on my lunch break.  Some people like to eat lunch on their lunch break, but I’d prefer looking for records.  Most days I end up looking through all the bullshit typical thrift store garbage.  But, once in a while, I have a day like this, and it makes all those other days worth it.  I definitely would not consider this an incredible day, but for the price, I found some nice things for sure.

So far, I’ve only been able to listen to a couple of these.  But, hands down, the best thing in the whole lot is For Those Who Chant by Luis Gasca from 1971.  I’ve never seen this before before but the cover is cool, it has Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Carlos Santana on guitar, and it was recorded in 1971. This LP is pretty incredible all around.  Here’s a video of the first track on side B, “Spanish Gypsy”.


The Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson 1980 LP is exactly as expected, late 70’s funky disco.  But, that’s all I’ve gotten to so far.  The Bud Powell should be cool and the live Mongo Santamaria stuff has potential.  There are also a few that are not pictured here like some Bossa Nova comps, Freddie Hubbard, and Otis Redding among others.