May 10, 1998
The Sunday Daily News
Matinee - Sunday Music
Saxophonist stole the
show at Dutch's birthday
AT SOUNDCHECK, all I could think about was hockey. No wonder:
My harps were propped up on a discarded penalty-box doorlatch.
History around here, it seems, is made in hockey rinks.
Right now, I'm reviewing a painful memory of that goal Canada scored
against the Czechs in Nagano. The one that was called back, even
though we goalies know, those ones count. I've let in a few
myself. Meaning, several.
You never had to convince the Dutch Mason Blues band hockey is
important. Last Saturday night's crowd at the Metro Centre for the
Dutchy birthday bash heard how the Prime Minister of the Blues - and his
party caucus - once missed a second set in Richibuctou in favor of
watching a Habs game on TV.
Likely, just because they hated the Habs so much.
Topping the bill Saturday was that unusual musical achievement - the
Dutch Mason Semitone Quaiver. You know the one: "I'm a
pawnbroker / Whaddayou want on your ri-i-ing?" That one,
right when Dutchy raises the pitch, in the middle of the last word.
I realized again Dutchy is a rare commodity, with his own style
trademarks, the sort that shape the blues or jazz sound of a whole
region. A career R and B musician with a style as well-established
as that of Charlie Musselwhite - whom he sounds a lot like - or Delbert
But halfway through the birthday bash came the highlight of all the
bands who paid tribute to the Right-Some Honorable Mr. Mason.
And it's on CBC digital tape. It's the full-tilt blues solo by
Charles "Bucky" Adams, also 60 years of age.
Here's the scene: about eleven o'clock, Bucky takes over from son
Anthony at the frontman's spot. Behind Bucky, pinning down the
backbeat, is that blue-dad and new-dad, Carter Chaplin. (Chaplin's
daughter, now 10 days old, is Jade Roseanne.)
Bucky then launches three minutes of the toughest tenor sax, in the
honking mode created by Illinois Jacquet and Arnett Cobb, that I've ever
heard. It's so great, I start to laugh out loud. Story of my
life, though - when it's over, no one claps, or even seems to notice.
Maybe Bucky's delivery, just strolling the stage, is a little too casual
to draw attention. But, like much of the evening's music, it's
Or even, "world-class dismissed," since there are so few
musicians who can play this way. Gather them from all over North
America, and you could pick 'em up at the airport in a minivan.
Yes, there is a CD pick this week - Dutch Mason's live-from-the-vaults
disc, mixed by the renowned Scrapper, whose work once boggled minds for
Soma and Ram. And also: Bucky's next disc, due in the summer, and
with the hip title, Fresh Daily.
For now: examine the CBC tape when it airs for Bucky's up-tempo - and I
think untitled - shuffle tune. As each verse comes to an end,
Bucky plays a lick that makes you want to hear more. These are
Bucky lays down about a half-dozen of these, and each one is a beauty.
Like a goal at the end of a period. And those gems can do
magic for a team. Just don't ask me how I know.