blog posts

A Bit Of Good News At a Grim Time 

On a day when Tracy and I have received nothing but bad news about the present and flat out grim news about the near future, it was very pleasant to receive some unexpected GOOD news just now. Namely, we belatedly learned that the King Louie Organ Trio's debut CD, "It's About Time," received a rave review in the top French jazz magazine back in February. ("Jazz Hot" is, in fact, the world's oldest jazz magazine--founded in 1935.) Pretty cool! 

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King Louie Organ Trio 
IT’S ABOUT TIME 

Frances…

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My Brush With Al-Qaeda 

Yesterday, while reading a Facebook post about New Years Eve gigs, I got to recalling my most memorable NYE gig—one that didn’t even happen.   


The story begins in comical fashion.  In early 1998, Peter Dammann, then-guitarist and manager for the Paul deLay Band—announced to us band members that we’d landed a nice-paying NYE party at the Seattle Space Needle.  A bunch of big-wigs were to be in attendance, including the mayor of Seattle, the governor of Washington, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates.  But a couple…

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Jimmy Mak's: A Dream Come True 

 

The story of Jimmy Mak’s is way too big for one person to tell.  It could fill a library!  But for me, as for many other musicians and music fans, the impending closing of Jimmy Mak’s—at least at its current location and possibly forever—is triggering a lot of personal memories.  I performed at this wonderful venue (including both locations) around 1,800 times over 19 plus years!  There were so many magical nights along the way that I can’t get my mind around it.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that my…

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Remembering Paul deLay 

 

During my ten-year stint in the Paul deLay Band, we worked on dozens of Paul's quirky, brilliant, original songs. But the one we worked the longest and hardest on—by far—was “Remember Me.” Week after week in early 2001, we'd assemble in my Gresham garage and play the song—never to Paul's satisfaction. It wasn't that he didn't know what he wanted. The song had come to Paul in a dream, nearly fully-formed. But that was the challenge: to make it sound just as it had in that dream—haunting and ghostly…

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Bruce Conte, Soul Vaccination, and Me 

 

With an exciting new Soul Vaccination CD, featuring guest guitarist Bruce Conte, about to be released, I've been thinking about how it came to be.  It's a long, winding story, going back to my teens in San Francisco.


Back then—in the late '60s—Bruce was playing in a band called Common Ground, led by my first organ teacher, Norm Bellas.  They rehearsed a couple times at my folks' house in SF, which is how I first met Bruce.  Bruce was just a couple of years older than me, but he'd been playing…

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"Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters" 

 

In gathering and posting materials for my new website, I got reacquainted with some of my old recording projects.  One that stood out was the 1994 release (long out of print), "Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters" by Linda Hornbuckle with No Delay.  Listening to the CD for the first time in many years, I was knocked out.  And in talking to Linda, Dennis Carter (engineer & co-producer on the project), and guitarist Peter Dammann, I learned I wasn't alone.  They all feel that CD is one of the very best…

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Beyonce, Esmerelda, and Other Loves 

 

The other day, in a Facebook post about an organ rental I’d just done, I included a photo of a particularly lovely Hammond B-3.  The post stimulated a lot of comments--mainly about the photo!  The pictured B-3 was indeed a beauty--and as it happens, there’s an amusing story about it.  

Just as B.B. King named his guitar ("Lucille“), I name my B-3's.  Their names, almost always beginning with the letter B, usually evoke the image of large, homely women: e.g., Bertha, Belinda, & Beulah.  But this…

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Bay Area B-3 Heyday 

 

The Oregonian dubbed me “Portland's Boss of the B-3,” but in part that's because I'm the best-known of a very small group.  Oh, there's some wonderful gospel organists playing in Portland churches, but as far as blues-jazz B-3 guys, we're far & few.  By contrast, when I came up in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene of the '70s, there were organ players—and good ones—all over the place.   The B-3 was a dying instrument—being replaced first by the Fender Rhodes piano and then by synthesizers—but I was…

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"King Louie's Video Vault" 

 

I was an "early adopter" of video recorders, purchasing a Quasar VHS top-loading VCR soon after the machines made their debut.  I don't remember the price, but it was steep, and the blank tapes were no bargain either at $16 apiece (that was on sale)!  Likewise, I jumped on "Hi-Fi" VCR's when they first went on the market, and on "Super-VHS" machines when they appeared (with their own over-priced blank tapes). 

There was a method to my madness: back in those days (late '70s thru early '90s) I was…

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King Louie, Pianist? 

 

Last night, I played a gig with "Big Monti" Amundsen at the Trail's End Saloon in Oregon City, OR.  Nothing too remarkable there: I'd played five or six times with Monte before, and back in the day I played at the Trail's End all the time, especially with the late, great Paul deLay.  But what was different last night was that I didn't bring an organ & Leslie speaker to the gig.  In fact, while the keyboard I used--my Nord Stage 2--does have a great organ sound, I played piano and electric piano on it…

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03/19/20

 

A BIT OF GOOD NEWS AT A GRIM TIME

On a day when Tracy and I have received nothing but bad news about the present and flat out grim news about the near future, it was very pleasant to receive some unexpected GOOD news just now. Namely, we belatedly learned that the King Louie Organ Trio's debut CD, "It's About Time," received a rave review in the top French jazz magazine back in February. ("Jazz Hot" is, in fact, the world's oldest jazz magazine--founded in 1935.) Pretty cool! 

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King Louie Organ Trio 
IT’S ABOUT TIME 

Frances J., Brulie, Two Leons in New Orleans, Bry-Yen / Believe in You, Teener, Big Brothers, Island Girl, Chester McGriff, Marty Boy, Mel Brown, Blues for Merle, Lupus Tylericus, Blues for Pierre 

Louis Pain (org), Renato Caranto (ts), Edwin Coleman III (dm, perc) + Bruce Conte, Dan Faehnle (eg), Mel Brown (dm) 
Recorded January 7, 8 and February 18, 2019, Portland, OR 
Duration: 1h 02 ’56’ ’ 
Shoug Records (www.louispain.com) 

The different local scenes in the United States are full of good musicians who, although often enjoying real notoriety in their city or state, are completely unknown to us in Europe. It’s always a pleasure when, thanks to a record release, we have the opportunity to discover artists who, for years, have brought jazz to life without much media coverage. This is the case of the organist Louis Pain (in his sixties) who has been a leader of the Oregon jazz scene for almost thirty-five years. 

Originally from San Francisco, where he began his career in 1970 with musicians from jazz, funk, rock or gospel, he moved to Portland in 1986. He performed there with figures from the region, notably the bluesman Paul deLay (hca, voc, 1952-2007) and the soul singer Linda Hornbuckle (1954-2014). A sideman very active with touring musicians, like Bernard Purdie, dm, Pain also founded, under the name of King Louie, a first group with James E. Benton, aka Sweet Baby James (voc, 1930-2006), also nicknamed "Ray Charles of Portland." Later, he teamed up with blues singer LaRhonda Steele on the album “Rock Me Baby,” which was released in 2015 on his own label, Shoug Records. 

Today, we discover Louis Pain through his latest album, “It’s About Time,” recorded in trio, with two other local musicians of around the same age. Filipino by birth, tenor saxophonist Renato Caranto has lived in Portland since 1992. He is used to "King Louie" projects, and he accompanied Esperanza Spalding on tour in 2013. As for Edwin Coleman III, he comes from a family of musicians (his mother even sang with Lionel Hampton!). A versatile drummer with a predominance of funk, he has participated in various gospel, Afro-Cuban, blues and jazz groups. 

It's the whole varied background of the three musicians and their guests that you can find on “It’s About Time.” Made up of 13 originals, practically all by Louis Pain, they are dedicated, we learn from the booklet, to those close to the musicians, or even to some of them, such as the composition "Mel Brown" which evokes the great admiration that Louis Pain and Renato Caranto have for this drummer with whom they have performed every Thursday evening for twenty years. Mel Brown (1944), present on a third of the disc, is a veritable institution in Portland where he has been honored by the authorities several times. His career, started in 1967, went through Motown studios as well as successive tours with pop stars, in particular Diana Ross until 1991. At the same time, since 1978 Brown has led several jazz bands in his hometown and remains extremely dynamic today. 

“It’s About Time” is characterized by a very present groove, established from the first song, "Frances J." The same jazz-funk spirit animates all the pieces, from blues (“Lupus Tylericus” on which Renato Caranto reveals a beautiful intensity) or soul (“Bry-Yen / Believe in You”), on up to evocations of Jimmy Smith's jazz—the excellent “Big Brothers” and “Marty Boy”—which allow you to appreciate the qualities of the leader. A discovery… 

Jérôme Partage 
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