From: Paul Lewis
Date sent: Mon, 3 Nov 2003
Subject: Show Report: Dan Hicks and Jazztet Noir, Nov. 2

Terry and I went to the Dan Hicks and Jazztet Noir show last night
(Sunday, 11/2) at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. They were
appearing on the bill with Maria Muldaur as part of the San Francisco Jazz

The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful, domed Roman-looking building
designed by Bernard Maybeck built for the 1915 Pacific Exposition. It has
a dome and columns next to a lagoon in a small park. It is across the
street from the Golden Gate, about a mile inland from the Golden Gate
Bridge. The auditorium has a large wide stage, a high ceiling, and wide
banked rows of maybe 600 padded rocker theatre seats. No balcony, no bad
seats, about 90% filled. Acoustics are excellent. This is considered
symphony-quality digs.

Dan supplied vocals only, no guitar. He was backed by Paul Robinson on a
hollow-body electric guitar (a Les Paul?), Brian Cook on the grand piano,
Louis Aissen on sax and flute, with Paul Smith operating the stand-up bass
and Seward McCaine drummin'. The Opinionnaires, renamed the Opinionators,
who you presumedly will see on the b-day bash DVD, provided light back-up
vocals. (I'm relying on the program for band member names.)

Seeing Dan in such a big fancy room on a roomy stage was a new experience.
He seemed a little tentative for the first number or so, unless that was
just part of his stage persona, but he and I soon got used to the
weirdness of Dan, without the Hot Licks or his guitar, singing jazz tunes
in a symphony hall. Much of the crowd was there either for Maria Muldaur
or for the jazz festival, and I heard a couple of surprised comments about
how mellow Dan was. Not having audience members shouting requests might
have helped.

Anyway, Dan's droll wit stood him in good stead. He mentioned asking Maria
Muldaur one day what you're supposed to do when you're singing jazz and
its not your turn. Her advice: put on your jazz face. He had his own
lyrics to some of the tunes, attributing authorship to Britney Spears. I
did not know, until Dan told us, that Britney Spears and Johnny Mercer
once were college roommates.

Here's the set list. Titles with question marks are my best guess.

"Give Me The Simple Life".

"How High the Moon". Excellent be-bop scat, preceded by the song's

"Stompin' at the Savoy". The Opinionators on back-up.

"Doodlin'", by Horace Silver, with additional humorous lyrics by The Man

Medley: "'Til You" and "The Song the Robin Sings" (?)

"My Sugar Is So Refined". Included a nice duet with Maria Muldaur.

"Up, Up, Up". A Dan tune from Shootin' Straight.

"Lion's Alliance" (?), by Gerry Mulligan

"Old Black Magic". Which tune Maryann Price did with Tary Owens on her
recent CD.

"Make Lovers of Friends" (?). For the encore that Dan predicted we would
ask for.

Dapper Dan wore dark grays and browns, slacks and sports coat, with shiny
black shoes with a white horizontal stripe. The whole band (except the
guitar) stayed pretty close to their music stands, and Dan to his
microphone stand. A little dancin, a lotta scattin', but serious good jazz
singin'. There is something about Dan's voice that I like. The audience
liked the show. I was hoping to hear "Song for My Father", but no dice.

Maria Muldaur sang a bunch of Peggy Lee tunes, and some others, backed by
pretty much the same instruments played by her own crew, including former
Hot Lick Danny Caron on guitar. She was good, but I was there to see Dan,
so she was a bit of a letdown for me. For further review, try the
Muldaurlist. Dan did reciprocate her duet with him by coming out and
taking a stanza of "Winter Warm".

All in all, a fine evening. Dan mentioned his DVD coming out tomorrow
(11/4), but it was not available in the lobby.

Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2003
From: Mike Zim
Subject: Danny & Maria show report

The Sunday night (Nov 2) show was one of my all-time favorite Dan
shows. It was a double bill with Maria Muldaur, and part of the 2-week
San Francisco Jazz festival. Some other artists appearing here are Mavis
Staples, Kronos Quartet, Cecil Taylor, Etta James, Ramsey Lewis, and
Keith Jarrett.

The venue was the Palace of Fine Arts theatre, an imposing landmark near
the Presidio and Golden Gate bridge, built in 1915 for the Panama Pacific
exposition. The approximate 1000-seat auditorium was comfortable and
modern. (Though Maria had some sound system problems.) The house was
almost full, in spite of the cold, drizzly weather, and we met up with
fellow Hixter AnitaK. [Good to see you again.]

The "Jazztet Noir" players:
Dan: Vocals & brief tambourine
Brian Cook: Piano "He's a legend! (In Cupertino.)"
Paul Robinson: Guitar
Paul Smith: Bass
Louis Assen: Saxophone & Flute
Bob Scott: Drums "and cymbals"
Background vocals were provided by the four "Opinionaires", including Tim
Eschelman and Austin Delone. These guys were very active,
finger-snapping and stool-boogieing. (Dan said that in synch with current
California changes, they might alter their name to the "Opinion-aters.)

The band was buttoned-up, in ties and jackets, befitting a jazz
show. (Listening, you UK musos?) The festival grand poo-bah, (or CEO,
or whatever he is) opened with compliments about Dan and Maria being two
longtime Bay Area favorites, who also just happen to be celebrated

Approximate set list:
Give me the simple life, by Ruby
How high the moon / Ornithology
Stompin at the Savoy
Doodlin, by Horace Silver
Stella by Starlight
Up, Up, Up
Line for Line, by Gerry Mulligan
Old Black Magic (Louie Armstrong lives!)
Encore: Write a book (Humorously closed with a repetitive chant on
book-flogging hoopla, such as Borders signings, appearances on Oprah,
Conan, etc.)

He creatively doodled on standard lyrics, to good effect. (Much more so
than his modest comment "When you hear something like "aaaahhhhh, or
ooohhhhhh, that's my writing.")

Dan's song intros were informative, often including tidbits about the
artists and composers. (Surprisingly, Britney Spears has an extensive
jazz background.) These were delivered in an informal, throwaway manner.
(eg, "I just looked that up yesterday, so don't think I knew it
already.") He mentioned CD's were available in the lobby, and that the
DVD would be released on Wednesday, to appreciative applause. He wasn't
certain if Maria's "Learn to Sing" album was there or not.

Lots of audience smiling and chuckling throughout the show. The material
and style brought to mind IHOB, and especially the '76 Record Plant
sessions, on Rhino's reissue. (Recorded just across the bridge in

Maria Muldaur and her crew were then up, doing mostly Peggy Lee
material. Her latest CD is "A Woman Alone with the Blues: Remembering
Peggy Lee". (Maria discovered Leiber and Stoller's "I'm a Woman" on the B
side of "Fever", and it's been her theme song for 40 years.) She was
the right proper jazz chanteuse, in a black, glitter-beaded floor-length
dress, and hair sparkles.

Danny Caron: Guitar
Jim Rothermill: Saxophone & Horns
Chris Burns: Piano
Lance Dresser: Drums
Seward McCaine: Bass

Set list:
Molecular, Fever, Don't Know Enough, Moments Like This, Too Fast, Some
Cats Know, Train, Bessie [Smith's] Advice, Black Coffee, Fishin', Meat,
Midnight at the Oasis, Weather. [She remarked that "Midnight" had been
very good to her. (It's also in Bill Murray's fine new movie)]

She sung well, and didn't stint on naughty bits. Was very complimentary
about several of her longtime crew members. (The pianist had co-composed
with her.)

On the last song, Dan did a kind of dignified duckwalk onto stage [How
many other singers can pull that off?], and then duetted with Maria. She
doubled over laughing when she saw the honking-big red bow tie he had
donned since his set. (Jazz-compliant?) While singing, he pointedly held
his cupped hand before him, as if reading a lyric cheat sheet.

After the show, a group of us congregated at the stage, and Maria came
out and conscientiously signed our stuff. Very friendly. She proudly
pointed out the album pictures of her daughter (circa '73 and '74) to an
associate. (The Walkin' One & Only was on her eponymous album.) She
said Dan cracked her up in rehearsals.

Upon seeing our various Hixiana, she complaisantly went off to tell Dan.
He came straightaway, genial and joking, and autographed our LP's, Susan
Rabin's Sinners (he sang on Ain't Misbehavin'), programs, and Norman
Greebaum's Back Home Again. (he scrubbed on washboard.) This was a fine
night. I'll vote for Dan to do more jazz shows. (Plus more Hot Licks
shows, plus put out more product.)

Mike Zim