Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on October 13, 2005 · Page 71
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 71

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Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 13, 2005
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Page 71
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LOCAL MUSIC Jazz guys cool with any gig r he night starts , off normally ; t enough. ; At Rosie ; McCaffrey's --. Irish Pub, string bassist Jimmy Peggie introduces himself, tenor saxophonist Tom Clohessy and guitarist Jeff Lauffer, three of the four men in Phoenix's Subterranean Jazz. (Drummer Dave Sorensen recently moved to Prescott and can't make it.) A band of fiddlers is hosting a jam session, and one of them, Sheila Maguire, played at the men's CD-release party, so Peggie and Clohessy get up to say hi. When it's time to eat, the three order normal food, all fish and chips. We talk about regular stuff, mostly the band's music, described as jazz with Celtic sensibilities. As if on cue, the fiddlers break into the first song from Subterranean Jazz's CD, the traditional Merrily Kiss the Quaker's Wife. The song is the most obviously Celtic track on the 17-song Celtic Lines, a mix of original songs composed primarily by Peggie and Clohessy punctuated by a few noticeably Celtic moments, with distinct Caribbean and reggae influences. After eating, we go to downtown Phoenix and the Ice House, a partially roofless building of exposed beams and broken tiles. Suddenly, everything is not normal. Inside, a pretty woman in a bobbed wig, red corset and black gauchos extracts a boa constrictor from a basket and drapes it around herself like a shawl, a headband, a snuggly blanket. We're there to see the Yard Dogs Road Show, a troupe of San Francisco-based carnival hipsters and burlesque beauties, and the men's friends, Sonorous, a. Valley-based jazz ensemble that opened the night's performances and then played during the glass-walking and nail-up-the-nose tricks. There are no chairs, so we stand in back and survey the crowd. Only Clohessy, with a black beret, graying goatee V n. 1 ij ".,. . , . MICHAEL CHOWTHE ARIZONA REPUBLIC Three quarters of Subterranean Jazz take in a show at the Ice House. From left: Jimmy Peggie, Tom Clohessy and Jeff Lauffer. i'm with the band v megan . finnerttf meanfinnefly aanzonarepuDlic.com and little rectangular glasses, even begins to fit in, seeing that most of the crowd is in costume, receiving discounted admission for dressing so. The woman in front of us is in a cream negligee accessorized with an apron, knee socks and a leather aviator cap. Next to her, a fit, bare-chested young man in black briefs stomps in furry, knee-high boots. Peggie looks at me, raises his eyebrows and smiles. He's nearly as striking as the stomper, thin and tall with a shaved head. Subterranean Jazz Where: Rare Earth Coffee & Wine Bar, 28190 N. Alma School Road, Scottsdale. When: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 29. Admission: Free. Details: (480) 513-6252, www.subjazz.com. In his black suit, he comes across as suave, but it may just be the curling R's of his Scottish accent. As a man onstage puts his body through an unstrung tennis racket, the men grab drinks. I set mine down on an old hospital gumey and Clohessy remarks that his friend owns the venue. He has seen everything here sand-painting Tibetan monks, fashion shows and concerts but this is the first time he's seen a man juggle a running chain saw, a 12-pound bowling ball and a plastic egg. As a jazz band, these men often find themselves in strange situations, surrounded by people doing strange things. Jazz bands are often hired to make parties feel posh, to add an air of elegance or class to the event. Subterranean Jazz has played a holiday party at the Scottsdale Nordstrom, where they were given silk shirts to wear while performing; on a Scottsdale roof, where Jeff was nearly singed by the chimney; in the frozen-food aisle of a Bashas' in Apache Junction while people shopped for hams around them. About 70 percent of the band's gigs are corporate, including the opening of a Target in Mesa. "We got a discount and I bought a pair of swim trunks," remembers Lauffer. "It was great." Once, while the band played a benefit for a refugee-aid organization, a group of Kurdish refugees got out of their seats and took to the stage and showed off their own traditional songs. So when, later in the even- g ing, three heavily made-up m women dressed as prisoners m strip, dance and pantomime a double homicide, the men are nonplused. & "We play under all kinds o of circumstances," Peggie !3 says with a smile. o O u fZ a. N 2 c

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