Fool's Night Out
Fools Night Out comes from a song by Phil Wiggins | Moon photo courtesy Michael's Photo Gallery.

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Goodbye in the Back Alley
© Scott Mitchell (01/01/11)

Les Tomates Chaud Orchestra gathered to wish Cindy Cain farewell at Blues Alley last night. The show was great from the get go.

For each set, the orchestra started with an instrumental. Rusty Bogart (in J Street Jumpers & Flatfoot Sam's band) and Dave Sherman (of Nightcrawlers fame) shared duty on guitar. Benjie Porecki (in WPG Trio & the Mary Ann Redmond Band) held down the opposite end of the stage with his keyboard duties. Holding down the fort in the back were Eric Shramek on bass and Robbie Magruder on drums.

Then there was the Horn section... I've always felt that the Trombone was under-utilized in blues music, it's sort of the horn equivalent of a slide guitar. I'd say John Jensen's performance went a long way to proving me right. Additionally the DC area seems to have a great number of top notch sax players. We were blessed with two of the best. Chris Watling (of the Grandsons) was on baritone sax; and Bruce Swaim [no Gail, not Batman] on tenor. These two quite definitely fit in with the local greats like Joe Stanley, Jacques Johnson, Ron Holloway, and Al Williams.

After the introduction, Les Tomates Chaud (that's 'The Hot Tomatoes' y'all) each took a turn singing a couple of their own songs. Janine Wilson started things off, Mary Shaver came next, and the honoree Cindy Cain followed. Then they all got together to finish off the set. They do sound great together. The differences in their voices actually complement each other very nicely, Mary's strong and rough, Janine's powerful and sweet, and Cindy's clean and jazzy. Solos were liberally thrown around; and were well used by the assembled talent.

Blues Alley is a nice room. It's in a back alley in Georgetown. I might have had a hard time finding it if I hadn't run across Chris Watling. There is no dancing, we tried. Quoth the waitress "Guys this isn't going to work". And it isn't cheap. Thanks to Cindy for helping Chris Kirsh and myself get uncharged for our second cover charge.

It was a fine night, a fine farewell. Goodbye Cindy. I hope Tulsa treats you well.

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