Windsor·Audio

Trumpeter bringing 'world-class' jazz to Windsor through monthly series

Windsor musician Russ Macklem says it hasn't been difficult convincing world-class musicians to play live jazz each month at the Phog Lounge on University Avenue. 

Each month, Russ Macklem hosts a live jazz night in Windsor's Phog Lounge

Windsor musician Russ Macklem says musicians want to be able to show love for the music they love. (Tom Addison/CBC)

Windsor musician Russ Macklem says it hasn't been difficult convincing musicians to play live jazz each month at the Phog Lounge on University Avenue. 

The jazz musician — who also teaches a class at the University of Windsor — began the "United" monthly series in January. The goal, he said, is to bring to Windsor world-class musicians from both sides of the Detroit River, by playing "creative music that has great roots in this area."

"There are world-class musicians in Windsor and, also of course, in Detroit, and we want to feel unity between our two scenes here," Macklem said. 

Macklem has been able to pull in some big names in the jazz scene.

On Tuesday night, for example, Phog Lounge visitors will be able to experience a performance by Detroit's Dwight Adams, who played trumpet for Stevie Wonder for several years. 

... We want to feel unity between our two scenes here.- Russ Macklem

Macklem said musicians are drawn to the kind of smaller venue afforded by the Phog Lounge's space. 

"We want to be shown some love for the love that we're trying to give," Macklem said. "There's no replacement for playing in a small room like that. It's great to play big stages, but [in a] small room, you really get to connect with the audience. 

And for those music fans hesitant to attend a live jazz performance, Macklem has some words of wisdom: Give live jazz a chance.

"[Jazz covers such a wide variety of music that usually involves improvisation and is most often very much instrumental," he said. "What I encourage people to do if they have a misconception or they may have heard something really strange they didn't like on recordings, is to go out and hear music live and see if they can connect with it that way."

Listen to Russ Macklem talk about all that jazz with Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette:

Get your jazz on. Tonight, Phog Lounge is featuring world-class jazz artists from Detroit/Windsor and might just dispel some misconceptions about this musical genre. Trumpet player and music scholar Russ Macklem speaks with Tony. 6:38

With files from Windsor Morning