Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

Last Night in Shanghai, Last Time Ever at Bee Dee’s

April 18, 2012

I returned to Bee Dee’s last night for my final night in Shanghai before I head off today to Bahrain. I only learned at the end of the evening that Bee Dee’s will cease to operate in a few months, when its lease runs out, and so I will never play in its wonderful jam night again, as I have no plans to return to China before this time next year. That’s crappy news, as Bee Dee’s is one of the great little open mic and jam venues of Shanghai. So go while you can! Oh, there is some good news, though.

The good news is that since Bee Dee’s opened up just a few years ago, Shanghai has sprouted up all sorts of live music joints for jamming and open mics. So maybe I will have no problem finding places to play next year if I do come. The other good news is that Jeff Davis, the Bee Dee’s owner and brains and jammer, tells me that he is working on a very interesting project, that if it comes to fruition, will be a worthy thing to have seen Bee Dee’s sacrficed for….

There was some fun jamming at Bee Dee’s last night, with a far bigger crowd and more musicians than last Thursday. I particularly enjoyed the dueling keyboard and guitar moment, and the woman drummer, Helena from Sweden. What I clearly do not particularly enjoy is once again being defeated by the Chinese Internet policy, which means that unfortunately, for a second day in a row I have had very poor access to getting videos up on YouTube for this blog. In fact, the first of the videos I wanted to put up is only 58 percent up at the moment after a couple of hours of uploading… and I have to run off to the airport. So the videos will have to wait until whenever Bahrain gives me a chance to put them up….

Melting into the Scene at the Melting Pot in Shanghai

April 17, 2012

Brad Spurgeon at the Melting Pot jam in Shanghai

Brad Spurgeon at the Melting Pot jam in Shanghai

The Melting Pot jam sessions in Shanghai have been among my favorite the last two times I came to this city. I first managed to discover it in 2010 when I was spending an unscheduled extra night in the city thanks to the panic of the Icelandic volcano ash that prevented me from taking my flight out of the city. This year, I had a scheduled stay in the city, but the ash cloud of the unrest in Bahrain sits over me and my colleagues as we wait to travel to that country for our next race. I could not think of a better when than to attend the Melting Pot jam and plug in and play and sing with the new house band.

In fact, the house band seems to have changed each year I have gone. It was in the Melting Pot two years ago that I saw Joe Chou do the weirdest thing with my Seagull guitar, turning it into a sitar… when he was the guy running the show. Then last year it was someone else. This year, it was a very hot bass player from the U.S. named Dnotes. Dnotes played some wicked six-string bass AND sang some classics, more jazz than I found at the House of Jazz & Blues, in fact. And on keyboards last night was the breathtaking playing of Robert Turner.

It also turned out that JJ Davis, my friend Jeff of Bee Dee’s, showed up to play and sing throughout the night. I managed to take a few videos, and I tried desperately today to get them all up, but I managed only to get one of them onto YouTube. I really wanted to put up the video of the Chinese dancers, for instance. But I finally got goosed by Chinese Internet policies, and no matter how hard I tried or what tricks I used, I could only find the wherewithal to get the one short video up.

I also have some photos of me playing there that were taken by one of my F1 journalist colleagues, Simon Arron, whom I thank profusely. I’d have wanted to put more of those up too – but goosed again.

By the way, I was amused to hear Dnotes introduce the dancers as Chinese “Lockers.” He was refering to the trailblazing group of American dancers from the 1970s, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and appearing on the same TV show with in 1976…! (Bang, Bang, You’re Alive!)

I learned today that Dnotes and Robert Turner have some pretty impressive CVs, which explains why I and my F1 colleagues were so impressed – with Simon pointing out that Turner sounded a lot like Billy Preston.

Oh, almost forgot! My two songs – What’s Up! and Mad World – went OK, and I can thank my other colleague, Mark Hughes, for figuring out how to turn on my Roland R-26 and record me playing with the band as part of my year’s effort to record me playing with musicians in each country I visit this year.

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