Skip to content

Have you met Miss Jones?

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020
Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm St.

Carolyn Lee Jones and the Fresh Vintage Band sampler.

The management of Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm, is excited to bring the rich, sophisticated sounds of Dallas-based Carolyn Lee Jones and her Jazz quintet, the Fresh Vintage Band to the patio stage at 7 pm. Enjoy the free entertainment while taking advantage of a variety of libations and tasty menu items. (Yes, the weather is brisk, so throw on your coat and come on down.)

Carolyn Lee Jones

The Quintet is Carolyn Lee Jones, vocals; Brad Williams, keyboard; Steve Heffner, bass; Dennis Durick, drums; and and Dave Monsch, saxes.

Sweetwater Grill and Tavern is a full-service restaurant and bar located in the heart of Denton’s historic Square. With mouth-watering appetizers, incredible entrees, and signature cocktails and a commitment to good food and community efforts has made Sweetwater a draw to Dentonites since 1996. This iconic venue was the first to help propel the music scene on the “Denton Square.” Around here, people of all walks of life sit at the same bar, enjoying made-from-scratch dishes and handcrafted cocktails. The food is absolutely delicious!

“Jones Attacks each song with the vigor of a wildcatter yet maintains a dusky under current that drips with sensuality” Jazz Times Reviewer – Christopher Loudon

CELEBRATING TEN YEARS! Carolyn Lee Jones always wanted to be a singer and burst on to the music scene. After a successful career in retailing, she launched her singing career. Sophisticated vocal jazz is what she does making standards sound new and the new sound standard. An audio calling card and the perfect representation of who she is and the stellar musicians in her band. Classic Jazz and Vintage Pop with a jazz twist is what makes her unique and her Fresh Vintage Band makes it happen!

Carolyn’s eclectic vocal repertoire includes; vintage pop songs into the jazz context, sultry ballads, renditions of the familiar jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, new material, as well as other popular music. A vocal stylist with a gift for telling the story, Miss Jones has created and performed a series of themed Cabaret jazz shows and was honored as Sammons Center For The Arts Cabaret Artist of the Year 2017.

Moondance with Carolyn Lee Jones Outdoor Concert Addison 2016

Monks 'crazy in a good way'

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Monks of Saturnalia at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm, performance:
Thursday Jan. 30, 2020 Review.

Drew Phelps, bass; Chris Holmes, drums, Jeffery Barnes, soprano sax, Steve Brown, tenor sax, and Gregg Prickett, Guitar … Monks of Saturnalia. Photo by Stephanie Reinke.

Recently on a cold and dreary Thursday night, a new Jazz group – Monks of Saturnalia – brought a refreshing to the Sweetwater patio stage, 115 S. Elm. Under the direction of Gregg Prickett, https://www.dallasobserver.com/music/gregg-prickett-is-dallas-most-adventurous-guitarist-and-possibly-its-best-7054065, one of the most advanced guitarist currently working in the Metroplex, five notable Jazz musicians presented a wild mix of contemporary, avant-garde be-bop, dissonant sounds and major rhythm charms to the sparse, but appreciative crowd.

With Prickett on his customized Strat; the always stunning Drew Phelps, one of the busiest and most accomplished bassists in North Texas, on either his acoustic double bass or electric bass, the group was completed with Steve Brown, who has performed with some the biggest names in jazz today, on tenor sax; the ever radical Jeffery Barnes on soprano sax, clarinet and wood flute, and Chris Holmes keeping up with the complex compositions on the Jazz drum set.

Prickett also leads a contemporary
classical, improv group –Trio du Sang

“The group started out as my response to (Charles) Mingus, https://mingusmingusmingus.com/mingus, and Eric Dolphy, https://www.npr.org/2014/02/25/282508306/still-out-to-lunch-50-years-later, but very quickly I realized that its possibilities were potentially much broader than any specified approach,” said Gregg Prickett, Monks of Saturnalia front man. “The focus is definitely to compose our own music and do it our way. We hope to take folks on the journey with us when we play but like any trip it’s not always going to be safe and familiar!

The set list for the Sweetwater gig was mainly from Prickett’s repertoire, beginning the night with He Walked Into the River (written for Albert Ayler), with two of Drew Phelps’ compositions thrown in.

Surprisingly Monks of Saturnalia, with a mere three performances, and three rehearsals, the “acolytes of Mingus” has proved worthy of being a most cohesive and enjoyable band. Looking forward to more Sweetwater sessions soon!

Editors Note: One of Monks of Saturnalia performances was at Dennis Gonzalez’s 65th Birthday Bash at Dallas’ Revelers Hall.

Find a little of Dennis’s trumpeting skills by visiting https://dennisgonzalez.bandcamp.com/

Live Jazz this weekend

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

As we thank our service men and women this Veteran’s Day weekend, let’s take in some great local, live music …

Saturday, Nov. 9:

Natalie Gandy and Friends 4 Live at Steve’s Wine Bar

Natalie Gandy Saturday Night Jazz at Steve’s Wine Bar, 111 Industrial Street from 8:30 to 10:30 PM.

Natalie Gandy, Vocalist, and Friends 4 Live with Paul Reitz on guitar, Bill Brott playing bass, and John DeBellevue on piano, offer up a stellar selection of Jazz music for you.

Steve’s Wine Bar is a relaxed and fun venue for friends to meet for great wine and beer by the glass, by the bottle, as well as cigars to-go.

Sunday, Nov. 10:

Mark Graham and Cassandra Berry
  • Cassandra Berry and Mark Graham are back at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm St., singing uplifting songs that bring our community together. Join us from 1-2 PM for Denton’s beloved Sweetwater Sunday Gospel Hour. Jimmy and James will have a delicious buffet to feed your bodies, while Cassandra and Mark’s music will feed your souls! Reservations HIGHLY recommended (940) 484-2888.

Marshall Smith’s BRAZZ – the all-brass Jazz quintet – plays rich, mellow standards at Armadillo Ale Works at 221 S. Bell Avenue, from 5:30 to 7:30PM. No cover charge. Fine to bring your own lawn chair and/or food!

Art by Michael Long.

Armadillo Ale Works offers a variety of their own craft beers(some of which are only $3!) and sodas, as well as offering coffee, chips, and snacks. Patrons are also allowed to bring in outside meal.

November Music at downtown delight

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

November nights at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm Street, offer a bounty of cool Jazz – from Latin stylings to classic standards … and drop by Sunday, Nov. 10 and Nov. 24 for brunch – $15, from (10AM-2 PM) and the Sweetwater Sunday Gospel Hour featuring Cassandra Berry and Mark Graham at 1 PM. Remember, no cover, great food, beverages and live music.

Do you have your reservations for this Sunday’s Gospel Hour at Sweetwater? Call (940) 484-2888 so you don’t miss this fantastic event!

NOVEMBER LIVE JAZZ NIGHTS 7 – 9 PM NO COVER

Tuesday, November 5:    

Mister Joe’s Dixieland Band at 7 PM, followed by Gypsy Jazz with Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton at 8. Bring your dancing shoes!

Wednesday, November 6:

Gabrielle Stravelli

Gabrielle Stravelli Quintet featuring Pat O’Leary (bass), Brad Leali (saxophone), Dave Meder (piano), and Quincy Davis (drums)

Thursday, November 7:

UNT Faculty Showcase featuring Nick Finzer (trombone), Brad Leali (saxophone), Quincy Davis (drums), Dave Meder (piano) , and Eric Hitt (bass)

Sunday, November 10:

Sweetwater Sunday Gospel Hour at 1 PM, featuring Cassandra Berry, and Mark Graham.

Tuesday, November 12:

Latvian Jazz Vocalist Evilena Protektore with Lynn Seaton, Peter Rioux and Rich DeRosa.

Thursday, November 14:

Brad Leali Quintet featuring Philip Dizack (trumpet), Quincy Davis (drums), Raul Reyes (bass), and Dave Meder (piano)

  • 9:30 – 11 PM: Student Jam

Tuesday, November 19:

Sweetwater Jazz Quartet featuring Jim Riggs, Neil Slater, Ron Fink, and Jeffry Eckels. The house band brings the best in Jazz standards to the Sweetwater patio stage for your enjoyment with a yummy menu and refreshing beverages.

Thursday, November 21:

QuB’D featuring Brad Leali (saxophone), Quincy Davis (drums), Frederick Nicholson (bass),and Greg Satterthwaite (piano).

Sunday, November 24:

Sweetwater Sunday Gospel Hour at 1 PM featuring Cassandra Berry, and Mark Graham. Brunch from 10 AM to 2 PM offers a variety of drink specials, and wonderful brunch items.

Tuesday, November 26:

Jose Aponte’s Latin Jazz Night presents David Pierce and El Nuevo Mi Son.

Latvian Jazz vocalist at Sweetwater

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Evilena Protektore

Latvian jazz vocalist Evilena Protektore will perform at Sweetwater Grill and Tavern, 115 S. Elm Street, on Tuesday, November 12. She will be playing with Lynn Seaton (bass), Peter Rioux (piano), and Rich DeRosa (drumset). There will be two sets from 7-9 PM.

In addition to the Sweetwater performance in Denton, she will volunteer her time to do a workshop for the UNT Music Business and Entrepreneurship departmental class on Wednesday, November 13 at 11-11:50 in the College of Music Recital Hall.

Evilena Protektore and Lynn Seaton met during his semester teaching and performing in Latvia as a Fulbright Scholar. They recorded three tunes together including “You Don’t Know What Love Is”: available on video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7LJSbbi-UQ

She is coming to the USA to record a collaboration with Paul English, Lynn Seaton, Rich DeRosa, and David Harris in Houston.

About Evilena Protektore

Evilena Protektore is a jazz singer from Latvia, graduated from Jazz Department of Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music with a Masters degree and stayed there as a jazz vocal teacher. She spent a year studying in Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia (Italy) with Prof. Maria Pia de Vito and taking part in a vast number of projects with local musicians, and half a year in Hannover (Germany) with Prof. Romy Camerun. In 2016 received a Nic Gotham prize for the contribution to jazz music and jazz life in Latvia.

Protektore participated in various festivals and projects: “Jazz in Latvia” compilation album, “Pori Jazz” (Finland), “Limassol Jazz” (Cyprus), “Live in Blue Bay” (Ukraine); and contests: Riga Jazz Stage (Latvia), “Nomme Jazz” (Estonia) and got a Grand Prix award at “JazzVoices 2014” (Lithuania).

Evilena has collaborated with Lynn Seaton (USA), Rob Duguay (CA), Inga Berzina (Latvia), Serge Junior Robinson (United Kingdom), Tommaso Troncon (Italy), Fil Straughan (UK), Andreas Stefanou (Cyprus), Andreas Rodostenos (Cyprus), Nicolas Tryphonos (Cyprus), Leonid Nesterov (Cyprus), Tie Pereira (Brazil), Aviv Kohen (Israel), Gilad Abro (Israel), Anne Geertsen (DK), Onur Mulayim (TR), Gianmarco Tommai (IT), Federico Santoni (IT), and K.Trio (NL).

More photos are available here: https://www.evilena.lv/en/#media/photo

Late Summer Jazz Notes

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Out and About

After a long May waiting to have that particular woman’s operation, and an arduous June in the hospital for sumpin’ else, I have comeback stronger and more motivated to share Jazz news near and far.

Tower of Power

One of my favorite music shows back in the day was with Tower of Power, who have been performing since 1968 and have landed eight songs in the Billboard 100. Tower of Power is known for their talented horn section that has appeared on a number of other artists recordings such as Aerosmith, Elton John, Huey Lewis, Paula Abdul and Santana. After 4 decades of making great music, they make their Billy Bob’s, 2520 Rodeo Plz, Fort Worth, debut in Saturday, September 7, 2019, 10:30 PM – 12 AM. Read this: https://towerofpower.com/news/2018/8/9/downbeat-reviews-soul-side-of-town

Jose Aponte
  • My Jazz hang-out for many moons has been Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm, in historic downtown Denton. Stop by this week to enjoy a cold brew, or margarita, something yummy off their menu and shake your tail-feathers to the Latin rhythms of Jose Aponte and the Caribe Club Latin Jazz Quintet, Tuesday, August 20 from 8-10 pm. (This, you cannot miss!)
  • But wait, there’s more … the Quincy Davis Quintet will bring their soul and funk on Thursday to the Sweetwater patio stage from 8-10 pm.

Down on Industrial Street, you can choose your food variety, your drink special and your music genre, as Dan’s Silver Leaf, 103 Industrial, and Steve’s Wine Bar share the same block.

A Taste of Herb

Wednesday, August 21 at 5 pm, A Taste of Herb offers up a fun Happy Hour vibe at Dan’s Silver Leaf, 103 Industrial with a tribute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Dan’s website is http://danssilverleaf.com/.

  • A vibrant Jazz schedule opens up many Jazz evening possibilities at Steve’s Wine Bar, 111 Industrial with Gwynne Montgomery Johnson hosting an evening of vocal Jazz tonight from 8-10 pm.

Wednesday, Josh Hanlon and We3io bring a stellar set of Jazz standards to the venue. For a full events schedule, visit https://www.steveswinebar.com/Content-Page/Events.

You can find a full range of weekday events at Discover Denton.com,

And don’t forget to tip the band.

This week in Denton

By Mr. Joe Pinson

Alexander Hamilton once said: A well adjusted person is one who makes
the same mistake twice without getting nervous.

  • Steve’s Wine Bar, 219 E. Hickory, is moving to the new location at 111 Industrial after 3 pm Thursday, May 16!

“Come join us as at our new digs with Riggs and Slater.  We launch our new location at 111 Industrial this evening, 8-10 pm, with the Legacy Quartet

Jim Riggs and Neil Slater

Jim Riggs – saxophones 
Neil Slater – piano 
Steve Hefner – bass
Destin Wernicke  – drums

  • Thursday, May 16:
    QB’d featuring Brad Leali and Quincy Davis at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115. S. Elm St., from 8 to 10 pm – no cover
  • Thursday, May 16:
    Strictly Dixie performs at Willow Bend, 2125 Brinker Road, 2 pm – visitors welcome – in the main living room – enter through the front door – FREE
  • Friday, May 17:
    Petty Theft at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial, at 9 pm – $12
  • Saturday, May 18:
    Live Music at the Chestnut Tree, 107 Hickory St., on the Square from 10 am to 1 pm– no cover
  • Sunday, May 19:
    Lee DeWyze at Dan’s Silverleaf at 7 pm – $15
Paul Slavens
  • Monday, May 20:
    Paul Slavens & Friends, Dan’s Silverleaf at 10 pm – FREE
  • Tuesday, May 21:
    Patio Jams with Juicy the Emissary, Dan’s Silverleaf at 5 pm – FREE Simon Flory + Union Specific + Giulia Millanta + Leoncarlo at 8 pm – $8
  • Tuesday, May 21:
    Glendale Drive featuring Dale Morris, Jr., Glenn McLaughlin, and Drew Phelps from 8 to 10 at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern – FREE

Please send corrections or additions ASAP. A copy of this document is also available at http://www.joseph.pinson.com – click on THE WEEK AHEAD

Tech, all that Jazz

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Blogs are fun and informative, and did I say, fun? But rarely when technology out-paces the editor.

Denton Jazz Chronicles is back, and wow, do we need to catch up!

The 2019 Edition of the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival may have been a bit damp from rains earlier in the week, but started on a beautiful Friday, ending with the Ravi Coltrane Quartet on the Jazz Stage. I was there with many, many more festival and Jazz fans. Righteous night.

Saturday proved to be sunny, warm and wonderful at the fest. Taj Mahal took the Jazz stage for a fantastic headliner set.

Two after-hours Jazz Jams helped red-hot musicians continue their groves at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern and Steve’s Wine Bar. Such a night – both of them.

Steve’s Wine Bar moving on up

The little (itty-bitty) wine shop, at 219 E. Hickory, offers amazing wine, and cigar selections, but has been overwhelmed with listeners and wine aficionados each night a Jazz group plays.

Steve and Karen Severance

This week, owners Steve and Karen Severance will move their wine bar half a block South, to 111 Industrial St. The new space is bigger, newly refurbished and ready for the faithful followers and new visitors.

March blows in with cold wind, red hot Jazz at Sweetwater

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

So what, if the high-temperature tomorrow is 44 degrees. You still can warm up with the great Louisiana cuisine, wonderful people and fantastic New Orleans-style Jazz at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm.

But that’s just the beginning of Jazz music and the new/old Denton landmark:

  • Tuesday, March 5: Annual Fat Tuesday Celebration with Strictly Dixie, the Vintage Jazz Society and an Open Dixieland Jam (7-10 pm); with Special Cajun Menu, and adult beverages  
  • Thursday, March 7: UNT Jazz Showcase featuring Mike Steinel
  • Tuesday, March 12: Sweetwater Jazz Quartet featuring Jim Riggs, Neil Slater, Ron Fink, and Jeffry Eckels  
  • Thursday, March 14: A Taste of Herb – a Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass tribute band
  • Tuesday, March 19: El Nuevo Mi Son, Cuban folk music, directed by David Pierce  
  • Thursday, March 21: QuB’d featuring Brad Leali and Quincy Davis  
  • Tuesday, March 26: Ed Soph Trio featuring Roger Hunt, Corentin LeHir, and Ed Soph  
  • Thursday, March 28: N’Awlins Gumbo Kings – Finishing out the month with more New Orleans-style Jazz, and originals, such as “Coffee Regular,””UFO Saloon.”
N’awlins Gumbo Kings

Trombone gimmick to Big Band standard

Reprinted from jazzradio.com

In many ways, the trombone is the most unlikely of standard jazz instruments. At the end of the 19th century, as New Orleans gained its reputation as a thriving music hub, the trombone was often relegated to the back of the proverbial bus – literally. When groups of musicians gathered on horse-drawn carriages (for parades or funeral processions), and later on streetcars, cramped quarters often forced trombonists to sit at the back of the transport carriage in order to have enough room to fully extend their slides.

A very young Trombone Shorty plays while Bo Diddly looks on.
A young Trombone Shorty with legendary guitarist Bo Diddley in 1990
Via NPR: Michael P. Smith/ Courtesy of Troy Andrews

As a result, “tailgate trombones” typically performed facing backward, mainly embellishing the music with performance techniques such as growls, scoops, falls and slides. Even as Dixieland grew in popularity during the first quarter of the 20th century, the new style was headlined mainly by trumpet and clarinet soloists (and pianos, during non-moving performances).

Editor’s Note: Remember Fat Tuesday at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm, on March 5. Yummies and drinkables from 11 am to ? Music with Strictly Dixie, The Vintage Jazz Society and the raucous, conga-line filled Jam goes from 7 to 10 pm.

Trombonists were considered to be part of the rhythm section, and even secondary to percussionists, who often used ordinary household items such as washboards and teaspoons to keep time and embellish the trumpet and clarinet melodies and harmonies.

The role of the trombone began to change when Weldon Leo “Jack” Teagarden (1905-1964) burst onto the jazz scene as a soloist in 1920, touring first with Peck Kelley’s “Peck’s Bad Boys,” then moving on to tour as a soloist with Doc Ross’s Jazz Bandits and the Original Southern Trumpeters before forming his own group, Basin Street Blues. As three- and four-piece combos gave way to the big bands of the late 1930s and 40s, four-player trombone sections became a standard feature the format, together with saxophone, trumpet and rhythm sections.

Today, a century after Jack Teagarden’s revolution, artists such as Wolter Wierbos, Rob McConnell, Slide Hampton, and many others have made the trombone an indispensable feature of the world of jazz. Tune in to our Swing & Big Band, and Swinging channels and get to know this versatile, and occasionally cheeky, instrument!

Checkout Jazz Radio on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/jazzmusicradio