Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A bassist returns

Look at the back-cover credits on cd reisssues of the great Blue Note jazz recordings of the late 1950s through the mid 1960s. There you'll see: Butch Warren, bass. His solos and comping are aural textbooks on how to play bass in the hard bop idiom. I particularly appreciate and enjoy his work on Dexter Gordon's Go!

Mr. Warren has not been well for quite some time now, only occasionally playing gigs in the D.C. area.

One afternoon in 2004, I ran into him by chance. He was sitting by himself at Franklins Restaurant and Brewery in Hyattsville, not appearing to be in good shape. He was NOT drinking the pub's beers but was slurping a diet soda. He told me he didn't have his bass anymore. No one at the pub was aware of his career.

But, from Marc Fisher's blog below, I've learned that Mr. Warren had not really lost his bass. Local jazz pianist Peter Edelman kept it for him during difficult times. And that's a wonderful thing. A bassist's bass is his alter ego; I can only imagine the hurt he might feel if it had been lost.

The good news is that Butch Warren is playing again! He has a regular gig with Peter Edelman every Wednesday at Columbia Station in the Adams Morgan of Washington, D.C. I'll be there.

I never made it.
Edward “Butch” Warren, a Washington-born bassist who performed on celebrated albums of the modern jazz era before vanishing almost completely from the music scene because of drug addiction and deteriorating mental health, died Oct. 5 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. He was 74.
Washington Post
5 October 2013.

  • I haven't been back to Franklin's Brewery since 2004 - my bad. I should visit again with brewer Charles Noll. He's an interesting gentleman: a brewer, a kite fanatic, and a shy anarchist. He seems happy to reside under the radar, as it were, of the local beer scene.
  • The equipment he uses is an old friend of mine. It began its life as the brewhouse for the now-closed Wallaby's Brewpub, in Westlake, Ohio. Wallaby's was the sister pub to Local Brewing Company (also now-closed), the latter for which I was the brewmaster in the latter 1990s. During that time, the Cleveland Bop Stop was a de rigueur Monday evening stop for me. On-stage was a fabulous, Latin-tinged, jazz big band. It made the brewing (and the beer) better. I lived in Ohio City, only a few blocks from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Andy Tveekrem was its brewmaster at the time. A few nights ago, I caught up with Andy at the renowned beer pub, the Brickskeller, in Washington, D.C. For a few years now, he's been the lead brewer for Dogfish Head, in Delaware.

  • For more from YFGF:

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