Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dennis Ellis - chopped liver?

Ok, this issue has been brought up in passing here before, but I want to contribute my two cents before moving on to other subjects, like the forthcoming Isaac Scott blog.

The annual Washington Blues Society (WBS) BB Awards will be happening this weekend at the Triple Door in Seattle. Once again, Seattle tenor saxophonist Dennis Ellis has not been nominated for a BB Award. In fact, Dennis has never been nominated for a BB Award, in spite of being very active on the local blues music scene since 1988, first with the Guitar Slim (Pat Chase) Band for several years, and then with the various versions of the Crossroads Band, with whom he continues to play today.

I have been thinking about this because I have seen the Crossroads Band several times lately, and have really been impressed with Dennis' contributions to the group. He's a fine tenor (and flute) player, I dig his singing on the jump blues material that the band does, and he's got a great sense of humor. Plus, he's a sharp dresser, and goes to the trouble to utilize his wireless setup to wander into the crowd to entertain the fans.

Dennis at the Highway 99 Blues Club - April 2007

Entertaining the fans at the Highway 99 Blues Club

So what's not to like? Even Adam Gussow said recently that "...that sax player would make a great addition to any band..." during a visit to the Highway 99 Blues Club. I agree! I guess I'm going to have to rejoin the WBS and do my best to get Dennis nominated for the BB Award that I think he very much deserves in 2008.

Note to the WBS - it would be useful to characters like me to be able to look on the WBS web page and see the nominees and winners of the BB Awards over the years. Can someone make it so?


T-Boy said...

Dennis Ellis not being nominated, let alone winning, the WBS "Best Sax" "BB" Award is one of the great mysteries of the universe. In my humble opinion, Dennis is right up there with the likes of Joey Saint John, Scotty Harris and Jim King as one of the best real "BLUES" honkers in the region. This situation illustrates one of the best arguments yet that the voting members of the WBS, in many, many ways, just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

The real blues members get it, T-Boy. It's the Tom, Dick and Mary's who sign up friends, family, people who don't exist, and everyone they can whether or not they even care about the blues, just to get on the ballot. Result: it knocks off those that are deserving. And, in cases like yours, the two most deserving will cancel each other out in votes and the one who got on there by nefarious means will win. Probably will happen in several categories. These award grubbers have no filters, no boundaries, no integrity. Sad for those that rightfully deserve a chance.

Katha said...

100% with you, Mike. Dennis is right up there with the best! Face it: the WBS is all about the 'society' and not so much about 'the blues'! Your summary (the sax, the singing, the duds and the stroll) is right on.