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Makin’ the Scene
May 26, 2005 — 5:09 am

I went to see The Tiptons (an amazing all-girl saxophone quartet) at the Goodfoot Lounge last week. I’ve seen them before (back when they were still calling themselves The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet), but Amy Denio was taking a break from the band back then. She’s playing with the Tiptons again now, though, and is as amazing as ever. As was Jessica Lurie, who is (I think) the one member of the quartet who’s remained a member from the beginning, and the other new members.

As I mentioned before, in a list of the albums that most influenced my musical tastes, I’ve been a fan of Amy Denio since the late ’80s, when I was in high school. This was only the second time I’ve seen her live — the first time was when I saw her playing with the Tone Dogs at the Portland Mayor’s Ball in 1988 or so. I’d never heard of her before, and I had planned to just stay for a song or two before leaving to catch a different band in another part of the Coliseum, but I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t even look away . . . I was mesmerized. To this day, I’d put their album Ankety Low Day on my short list of favorite CDs of all time.

Although the Tone Dogs haven’t played together for a long time, they apparently remain friends — because the Tone Dogs’ bassist, Fred Chalenor, was also at the Goodfoot show the other night, opening for the Tiptons in a band called Klezmocracy (with more free jazz influences than klezmer influences, it seemed — although I’m not complaining). Fred has also been in a bunch of bands I love — Pigpen, Caveman Shoestore/Hughscore, Zony Mash, and Faceditch. So it was a nice surprise to see him at the show too. Courtney von Drehle played saxophone for Klezmocracy, and he also spent a little time in the Tone Dogs lineup back in the day.

Man, I love being back in Portland. This kinda show would have never happened in DC . . .

I’ve hit several other shows since I got back to town: Pigface and MC Chris at Dante’s (I’d bet good money I was the only person at the Pigface show reading Aaron Steelman’s interview with Thomas Schelling on a cell phone browser between sets; also, I talked to MC Chris briefly after his show, and he knows my cousin Jake from their time working together at Adult Swim), Paula Poundstone, Victor Wooten and Bill Frisell at the Aladdin Theater (Bill Frisell’s show was earlier tonight! And amazing as always).

And actually, one of the first things I did after finishing my cross-country drive back home to Portland was fly to New Orleans for the first weekend of this year’s Jazz Fest. I originally thought I’d be hanging out with anywhere from two to 12 other people that weekend. My brother-in-law Dan and his best friend Dave should have been a shoo-in, and I figured some of the other guys who joined us for last year’s trip might make it this time as well. My sister Michelle entertained the thought of coming with her kids. Some friends of mine in Orlando were planning to come. So I reserved a big hotel room with a couple of double beds, and guess who joined me? Yup. Nobody. They all ended up backing out for various reasons.

I had a great time anyway, though, catching dozens of zydeco, dixieland & brass bands at the fairgrounds, as well as the original Meters reunion show, and the Neville Brothers at the Hard Rock Cafe. I ate a hell of a lot of seafood again this year, too. All I can say is: Anthony’s Seafood & Lobster House? Yum.

— Eric D. DixonComments (0)

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Eric D. Dixon

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