Living in suburbia now hasn’t all that much to recommend it, but in 1974, I could park my car at the commuter train station and in less than an hour be walking eagerly to a little hamburger-and-beer restaurant on the East Side, Brew’s (named for owner Richie Brew) that also, for a time, featured the best small jazz groups I’d ever heard. Here’s a compact sample of what was then so easy to find — a set by Kenny Davern, soprano saxophone; Dill Jones, piano; Mike Burgevin, drums: GEE, BABY, AIN’T I GOOD TO YOU? / PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I’M GONE / SWEET LORRAINE / ALL BY MYSELF.
Over my shoulder, I had a plastic airline bag (thanks to my father) with a cassette recorder and a better microphone, perhaps extra batteries and a yellow legal pad, which is why you can hear this evidence. It’s also thanks to the immense kindness of Mike Burgevin, who explained to friendly Dill Jones and intimidating Mister Davern that I was a friend, that I was allowed to preserve their creations.
I recorded a whole evening — perhaps four sets? — of this trio, which I would share with JAZZ LIVES’ audience if there is sufficient enthusiasm.
I don’t want to go back to my 1974 self, but I wish I could get on the train and spend a night at Brew’s: it was my Reno Club, where my heroes dropped in and played. That I have the sounds of an “ordinary” Wednesday night there now seems miraculous. I hope you feel some of that as well.
May your happiness increase!