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Down By The River

Dennis Coffey

Down By The River


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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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Evidence of Soul and Body - Miles Brown

Bassist Miles Brown comes from a musical family that runs generationally deep. His father is an accomplished jazz guitarist, and was the director of the Jazz Studies program at Ithaca College; his uncle played trumpet in Stan Kenton’s band in the 70s; and his grandfather was a high school band director and a vibes and marimba player for the Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat.

“There were always musicians coming through our house,” remembers Brown. “Mostly jazz musicians, staying the night, eating dinner, rehearsing.”

The format of Evidence of Soul and Body is traditional. The sound world is the acoustic jazz quintet, and there are about an equal number of standards as there are originals. But the arrangements and performances reflect the distinct influences of Brown and the other musicians: drummer Sean Dobbins, pianist Xavier Davis, saxophonist Diego Rivera, and his father, guitarist Steve Brown. The mood of the record is joyful throughout, which Brown attributes to his appreciation for the players.

“The album…is a tribute to music and family,” says Brown. “We created something that grew from the family that surrounds us, supports us and inspires us.”

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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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