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Jazz trio brings it weekly at Troutini

Milneburg Jazz Band has New Orleans sound

You can hear the sounds of New Orleans, as well as other jazz styles, weekly at Troutini in Troutdale with the Milneburg Jazz Band.

Named for a famed amusement park in New Orleans, the trio consists of Jim Buchmann on clarinet and saxophone, Dave Johnson on guitar and banjo and Dave Duthie on string bass and vocals.Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - The Milneburg Jazz Band plays classic New Orleans jazz as well as tunes from the Great American Songbook.

Together for six years, the trio cuts its collective teeth as a band by playing weekly at Tapalaya New Orleans Restaurant in Portland. The group recently started playing every Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. at Troutini, a restaurant/bar.

“We play classic early New Orleans jazz — Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet — which was the foundation for all jazz that followed, as well as a wide selection of songs from The Great American Songbook,” Duthie says. “At Troutini we branch out to include songs from the 1930s up to the pop and Latin tunes of the 1960s. We have a strong beat, and we swing.”

Duthie notes the band’s members are well grounded in the music they love. Duthie himself is well known in Portland jazz circles and manages both the jazz trio as well as the folk group The River City Ramblers. He plays with many other groups and show bands in a variety of formats, including the piano and bass duo of Blackburn and Duthie, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Meanwhile, Buchmann has appeared with many internationally known jazz artists, including Peter Appleyard, Bob Wilber, Max Kaminsky, Turk Murphy, Kenny Davern, Dick Cary, Bill Allred, Peter Schilperoot, Bob Havens, Henry Cuesta, Humphrey Lyttleton, Ralph Sutton, Lu Watters and Dick Hyman. He spent 20 years working at Disney World in Orlando, and recently retired from national touring with the Titan Hot Seven Jazz Band.

Finally, Johnson is a printer and graphic artist by trade, whose guitar playing has been featured in a number of groups around the area.

Improv above all

The Milneburg Jazz Band is united by a love of jamming to jazz, Duthie says.

“I think we all love the swing and the feeling of the groove that playing with good jazz musicians offers,” he says. “We love improvising and playing off the top of our heads rather than reading music.”

However, he’s not shy about mentioning the challenges playing regularly presents, including “keeping the music fresh and the energy level high.

“You can’t play the same songs every week,” he says. “Fortunately, we have a lot of experience and have a very large repertoire of songs that we know from memory, so that’s not a problem for us.”

It’s also not a problem responding to listeners, he adds.

“We enjoy taking requests from the audience, because we want to make the people who come to the club feel like they’re a part of the action,” he says. “And sometimes we get requests for great songs we’ve forgotten about and haven’t played in years.”

The band relishes its camaraderie, he says.

“The best part is that all three of us enjoy playing together immensely,” Duthie says. “We always have a great time together, and we hope that comes across to the audience.”

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