For the ninth straight summer, Clara's on the River has hosted music on the patio, outdoors next to the Battle Creek River.  And this summer, we Clara's even got its own song!

Battle Creek pianist Terry Lower has led the effort, booking music every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.   Lower, regarded as one of the best pianists in the state, plays most nights, with quite a cast of musicians.

Battle Creek drummers Larry Ochiltree and Keith Hall are often there, and so are vocalists Edye Evans Hyde and Lana Hoffman.   Terry also brings in top players fomr Detroit, Grand Rapids and Toledo, and you'll often see local musicians like George Pendill sitting in.   I've been invited to sit in many times, and it's been a real honor to be part of it.

Last year, I had an idea to re-work a jazz song to talk about the music at Clara's and thank owner Ross Simpson for hosting it.  I took a song by Richie Cole and David Lahm called "Harold's House of Jazz", and adapted the lyrics to our local venue.  We did it several times this summer, and thought it might be nice to post a video.  But we needed to get permission from Cole and Lahm.   I started trying to reach out on the internet and facebook, with no luck.  But then I found a New York City number for David Lahm and left a message on his answering machine.  The next day, Mr. Lahm called me.  I explained what I was doing, and he said, "I think it would be ok.  Send me the lyrics you have."   I did, and a half hour later, he sent them back----with improvements!   He said, "I hope you don't mind, but I tweaked a couple of things.   I'll get a hold of Richie and get permission for you."   A couple hours later came an e-mail from Richie Cole with the go-ahead.    Oh....two more interesting things.   David Lahm was calling from New Buffalo Michigan, where he lives a lot of the time, when he's not working in New York  And .....Lahm is the son of one of the most famous lyricists in American music history, Dorothy Fields. 

Here's a note from Terry Lower:

Hi Everybody!

This is our FINAL WEEK at CLARA'S ON THE RIVER so come out and here this group of fine musicians: (ALL BANDS PLAY FROM 6-10PM on the back patio/inside if raining)
Lana Hoffman #2.jpg

    LANA HOFFMAN (Kalamazoo)

Thu/Aug.31 & Fri/Sept.1:
PAUL VORNHAGEN/Sax, Flute & Vocals
Paul Vornhagen.JPG
Right now, the weather looks to be great!
Hope to see you there for our final 3 days at Clara's for this summer




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