Jay Geils Jazz and Blues Revue

J Geils Garry Beaudoin and Doug BellLife is funny sometimes. I’ve been friends with Gerry Beaudoin, jazz guitarist extrordinarie and leader of the new guitar summit. Gerry played for years with one of my favorite artists, Eddie “cleanhead” Vincent. I am also friends with Danny Klein, J Geils bass player.

The first professional opening show Bellevue Cadillac ever played was with Bluestime, J Geils and Magic Dick! It was in Mendon, Mass. I was a fan of Roomful of Blues and followed Duke Robillard from his days as ” honey bear” in the Tombstone Blues Band out of Rhode Island, and then Roomful right up to his position in Gerry’s new guitar summit.

Years passed, and one day, Danny Klien asked me to sit in with his Geils tribute band Full House. I sang 3 or 4 Geils tunes and off and on I would show up and sing and play. Now, also for years, Bellevue Cadillac has played Scituate Heritage Days, and 2 years ago I found we were on the same day with the J Geils summit show, and Gerry invited me up for a tune or two, we had a ball.

Occasionally, Randy Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive would be in the summit, but usually it was Duke. This year I was asked to join the Legends of Boston tour with a lineup of some 20 or so greats and J Geils was in the line up, because of Peter Wolf’s limited range I was chosen ( I think I have 3 note range) to sing the Geils stuff with Jay, Dick, Danny and Marty Richards, which is most of the Geils band, with me, monkey in the middle, and having to “sub” for perhaps one of the best frontmen in rock & roll history, ahh, but it gets better!

J invites me out to his house to see his guitar collection, then his car collection, and play a bit, talk music history, ( his mom was secretary of the Duke Ellington Society) and share stories about Mike Bloomfield coming to his ratty apt in Worcester, Mass to jam! Yikes!! I spent a fair amount of time with Magic Dick (née pittsfield slim) and generally had a ball.

The tour wrapped in April, and I get a call from Gerry Beaudoin, hey Doug, how would you like to play in the Jay Geils Jazz and Blues Revue, and new guitar summit? What? Now, what you gotta know is, A) Gerry is an encyclopedia of jazz, and one of the best chord slingers you could ever hear, B) J Geils is an amazing jazz player, so C) (stupid here says) SURE!!!

Yeah Doug, no pressure, just learn some summit tunes, a couple BB King, Louis Jordan, and we can do a couple of yours, first show is with Fred Lipsius of Blood Sweat & Tears, huh? So, now the shedding, all along I’m telling Gerry, hey I’m not a jazzer, some of this is pretty tough, “Doug……don’t worry, no pressure….you’ll be fine….hmmmmm.

So, now it’s the day of the first show, sold out, Concord Mass, I’m ready to kind of low key it, and where do you suppose they stick me?….right smack in the middle!! Duke’s chair, UPFRONT…..oh this is good, first I gotta be up front singing in the J Geils band instead of Wolf, now I gotta be here filling the chair of guitar legend……..well, some damn how I made the cut, the second show was with Harry Allen legendary sax player, and I was much more comfortable, and had a ball. The chemistry is there, those guys play rings around me, but I get a few licks in.

Another pinch me moment for the prof, and it just goes to show, if you are around long enough, you’re in!!!!!!


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