The Live at the Scarab Club series explores Detroit’s rich musical history through a series of live-recorded performances and educational workshops that integrate visual arts, poetry, and oral tradition.
Live at the Scarab Club: The Detroit Jazz Septet (DJ7)
Sunday, October, 3-5:30 pm
Co-led by drummer RJ Spangler & bassist John Barron, the DJ7 is a relatively new band that performs the music of Duke Ellington as well as original compositions by Mr. Barron. DJ7 features Michael Zaporski on piano, James O’Donnell on trumpet & vocals, Tbone Paxton on trombone & vocals, Goode Wyche III on baritone & alto saxes, and Jim Holden on tenor & alto saxes. Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone (313.831.1250).
Big band leader Duke Ellington kept busy recording smaller groups culled from the ranks of his band, sometimes referred to as “The Duke’s Men.” Ellington often featured stalwarts like alto sax master Johnny Hodges, tenor sax titan Paul Gonsalves, and trumpet virtuoso Clark Terry, while Duke’s great collaborator Billy Strayhorn contributed compositions, arrangements, and even played piano on some of the recordings. Duke used these groups to back guest stars like Coleman Hawkins, which resulted in a classic album released in 1963 on the Impulse! label. He also recorded for the Columbia, Legacy, Variety, Vocalion, and Okeh labels with these smaller units.
One of Detroit’s top contemporary bassists, John Barron is an active composer and educator. He has created several original compositions to compliment the works of Duke Ellington that Spangler has collected over the years.
Musicians Zaporski, O’Donnell, Wyche, Paxton, and Holden are all regulars in Spangler’s more high-profile project, the Planet D Nonet, for which O’Donnell serves as co-leader.
Detroit drummer, producer, bandleader, manager, and label owner RJ Spangler is a journeyman musician who has done much to resurrect the careers of a handful of forgotten blues artists. A versatile performer, Spangler has performed with such luminaries as Johnnie Bassett, James Carter, Big Jay McNeely, and many others. Introduced to jazz and blues by his uncle, drummer Bud Spangler, who played with Detroit jazz legends the Tribe, Spangler grew up listening to the greats of the music. By the early ’80s Spangler had co-founded a band called the Sun Messengers. That group later re-emerged as the Sun Sounds Orchestra on the acclaimed 1991 recording “Open the Doors.” He and O’Donnell started the PD9 with Tbone Paxton in 1997 and have garnered six Detroit Music Awards in that time.
$25 general admission // $20 students and seniors
This concert series is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.