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Down By The River

Dennis Coffey

Down By The River

DMF2017

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Polka Dots and Moonbeams



“Making records at Hitsville was a very creative process in which the whole was greater than the sum of the individual parts,” says Coffey. “That’s the part that people don’t talk about. It was the teamwork that really made those records work, that’s what we did.”

Not to say that the individual musicians weren’t bringing their distinctive talents to the sessions – that unforgettable opening guitar line on “Just My Imagination” … Coffey made that up on the spot, playing music they had never seen nor rehearsed before the

session, as was often the case. But as he puts it, he played, before anything else, what the music called for.

By contrast, Coffey’s solo work is much more singular. When he’s the featured artist, his style comes through regardless of the genre of music. Whether it’s a funk tune or a jazz standard, you can always tell it’s him.

As a traditional jazz record, what we hear on Down by the River may reflect less of the structure of Coffey’s most famous session work, and perhaps echo more of what he was playing in the listening clubs of Detroit during that same era.

As can be expected, the lineup of musicians that join Coffey on the record are some of Detroit’s best, including: Steve Adams,

Phil Whitfield, John Barron, Mark Byerly, John Rutherford, Keith Kaminski, Damon Warmack, Gayelynn McKinney and Demetrius Nabors.

Read More About Dennis Coffey
  • Polka Dots and Moonbeams
  • Sunny
  • The Shadow of Your Smile
  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life
  • Kansas City
  • Little Sunflower
  • Just My Imagination
  • Baby, What You Want Me to Do?
  • Impressions
  • Cherokee

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Detroit Tenors

“People love hearing two saxophones,” says tenor player Steve Wood. “But it’s more than just the idea of the conflict. I think another thing that people like about it is that both guys are playing the same instrument, but they sound completely different. It’s kind of interesting how two people can take the same instrument and yet sound so totally unlike each other.”

Wood studied music at one of the country’s first jazz programs, under the direction of Marvin “Doc” Holiday at Oakland University. He’s one of the two tenor saxophone players featured in Detroit Tenors. The group’s debut Detroit Music Factory recording, by the same name, is very much about the two-tenor saxophone tradition in jazz.

Detroit Tenors the record, like Detroit Tenors the band, is a shared vision between Wood and fellow tenor saxophone player, Carl Cafagna.

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Latest News

10 | Jul

After six decades, Motown legend Dennis Coffey releases first traditional jazz album

Inside the mythic Studio A exhibit at the Motown Museum, you can see an actual Gibson 335 guitar and wah-wah pedal Dennis Coffey would use in recording “Cloud Nine,” “Just My Imagination,” and countless other R&B classics. It’s positioned in the exact location where he performed his tracks.

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16 | May

“Three and One” by Miles Brown makes it’s way onto a recent Podcast

We also have a Surprise treat, a new song by fan Miles Brown called “Three to One” off of his new release “Evidence of Soul and Body.” Its a Jazz Record to be released May 17th by Detroit Music Factory Records.

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09 | May

Charles Boles To Receive 2019 SEMJA Award

Pianist Charles Boles is the 2019 recipient of SEMJA’s Ron Brooks Award for his contributions to jazz in Detroit. Boles will perform with his quartet for the Award celebration at Schoolcraft College on Sunday, June 9.

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