Joe T. Cook (The Longshots) said " Just tell 'em, it's a great jam. All the best players come out to hang or play or whatever. It's a gem of a jam." Mickey Bauer says: "It's a great place to find musicians." Bauer's looking for a guitar player and drummer. His band, Cool Disposition, is about to undergo some "personnel changes." Dave "Cool Breeze" Brown and Billy Black, who appeared as part of the host band one Tuesday night, put it
this way: "We never do this. We almost never get to step outside our Senders routine.
Sitting in with these guys is a lot of fun."
My reason for hanging at the jam: the local music gossip. Michael "Taco" Velasquez just got back from playing drums for a year with the James Solberg Blues Band. However, Taco told me, home never looked so good. Why? Working for Solberg was LOUD and
gruelling. But he's glad for the experience. After all, he got the chance to play on Beale
Street, went overseas and met some good people. But still and all, Velasquez thinks there's no place like being home playing some down-to earth blues music. More ear bending stuff: Shawn Wallin and Mark Baker are leaving Cool Disposition. Cool guitar and blues drummer needed. See Mickey B. What does Mayor Norm Coleman think of Big George Jackson's "St. Paul Woman"? I've been commissioned to find out. The Senders are working on a new CD. Should be out within a year. Ruth Brown's first husband, Jimmy Brown, lives in Minneapolis. With any luck, Mr. Brown will be live on KFAI for an interview with Rollin & Tumblin in the next few weeks (he was on May 29th). Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as blues cello. And Matt Probst plays it with conscientious flair. Think Gatemouth Brown sitting in with Little Walter. Yes, it does work. Come to the Triangle and see.
This jam has a definite harmonica and guitar flavor to it. Some of the best players in those categories come out to either play in the host band, sit in or just hang out and heckle the other musicians. This is also the place to get your sound jones satisfied by the high calibre mix and match of performers. Cool Breeze Brown, Jeremy Johnson, Dan Schwalbe, Phil Schmid on guitars one night, Johnny Franken and Shorty Lenoir the next. Billy Black on electric bass with one of the young Keller Brothers (Corey) on drums (he's good). I heard Curtis of Curtis and the Kicks for the first time at the Triangle jam. He's newly arrived here from Kentucky (alright...he's been here 3 years) and he's looking to play. Great guy, good singer. Also met bass player Johnny Ott, who asked me not to misspell his name, (i.e. "Odd"). I told him I usually get paid more for correct spellings. He laughed. I didn't. Other cool grooves: John Schroder on bass with Jeremy Johnson on
drums; Harold Tremblay, harmonica, with Taco on drums; Mickey Bauer on vocals without Cool D. He says he's usually uneasy singing at jams without his comfort zone behind him. I guess he got over that real quick cause he sounded great with Billy Black and Cool Breeze. Don't forget about Probst finding a way to integrate his electric cello
into the styles of all these straight blues players.
Bottom Line: The jam at the Triangle has been revived, for now. Have to throw that caveat in there because nothing in life is for certain, expect for havin' the blues. The Twin Cities' stellar-blue musicians come out to the Triangle and that brings out the best of the jammers for whom Tuesday nights may be their only music indulgence. Guys like Chuck (guitar) and harmonica Mike, who come to the jam to learn from the actively giging players. The quality of the music also brings out gig-veterans like Moses Oakland and Steve Vonderhaar. Neither sat in with the band, opting instead to just chill out listening, and dancing to the music.
The bar itself has that certain kinda roadhouse coolness about it. Local residents mixed with urban blues fans, and backroad bikers...Harley not Schwinn. The staff are friendly, St. Paul-type people who smile and remember what you're drinking. The bar prices are blues-friendly, too. Lots of seating indoors and lots of free parking, outdoors. How do
you get there? 35E North to County Road E (go right) to Labore Road (take a left). Simple
enough. Even I can get there without calling ahead for directions. Just follow the winding road and cross the railroad tracks.
I talked to JR, the manager of the Triangle about the longevity of the jam. He didn't want to say much about it. I could tell his feelings were split on the issue. On the personal side, he's an aspiring harmonica player and the jam gives him an outlet for his music. But as a bar manager, he needs to see the blues jam supported by blues fans. I don't know what it'll take to get folks out on Tuesday nights. I've given you my reasons and I've shared some of the musicians' reasons why they go. Don't know how long the jam at the Triangle will last. But there's one thing I do know: I say, let's just enjoy ourselves and party till they put us out. With any luck, we'll have all summer long to hang out, get stupid and rock our blues away. It's a great place for players and an even better place for listeners. Great dance floor, good company and quality music. What other reasons do you need? All musicians and fans are welcome! And I'll see you there!
90.3FM & 106.7FM
Rollin & Tumblin
612-341-3144 x 816
This feature is copyright © 2001 by Jacquie Maddix, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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