KUSI News – San Diego, CA


Love is A Merry Go Round



I’m going to Norway this week with 21st Century Bluesman, Earl Thomas.  We’ll be playing a series of gigs with a band called Blue Aspic at several churces – playing music that Earl learned in the church.  Then we’ll be playing at the Orland Blues Festival, which we played last year, and it’s a total blast.  Glad to be in such good company.



This week, I will be performing a project close to my heart.  Here is the press release in it’s entirety, submitted for release in many publications, and here reproduced in full.  We’ll also be doing a public vocal rehearsal Wednesday at O’Connor’s Vault in Multnomah Village.

The Blues Cabaret
Compositions by Dave Fleschner
Performed by Dave Fleschner, Earl Thomas, Carlton Jackson, Alan Hager, Bill Athens, and soloists from the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus.
Thursday, August 21st at Jimmy Maks -  Shows at 8:00 and 10:00 PM.  $12
Reservations: 503-295-6542, info@jimmymaks.com

Jimmy Maks presents The Blues Cabaret - original blues compositions by Dave Fleschner in the classic supper club environment of Jimmy Maks jazz club.  21st Century bluesman, Earl Thomas,  and soloists from the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus will sing music that brings the classic blues themes of love, lust, fear and betrayal to an off-broadway atmosphere.  This show combines the grittiest elements of the blues with the nuance of jazz.  The deep, understated grooves of Carlton Jackson on drums and Bill Athens on upright bass, combined with the erudite nastiness of Alan Hager on guitar and Dave Fleschner on piano, will make this an evening that takes the blues to its dirtiest lows and its most exhilarating highs.

“Dave has a unique musical voice.” – Mary Burlingame, KMHD Radio
“Perhaps the most versatile keyboardist in town” according to Tom D’Antoni of Oregon Music News,  Dave Fleschner has toured internationally with Earl Thomas, Curtis Salgado, John Nemeth and Karen Lovely. He has performed with B.B. King, The Pointer Sisters, Steve Miller, The Mel Brown B-3 group and The Portland Symphony Orchestra.  According to Marty Hughley of the Oregonian, this steady stream of touring and performing has given Fleschner “a strong vision.”  President of the Cascade Blues Association, Greg Johnson, reports “Dave Fleschner’s piano work shows exceptional range, whether it’s a stride, New Orleans boogie or a Otis Spann-styled Chicago number, he can do it all with precision and flair.”  Master organist/Pianist/Singer Mike Finnigan (Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Phantom Blues Band) called Fleschner’s last soul-jazz record “Very inventive and swingin.”  Fleschner has released several CD’s under his own name and is in demand as a band-leader, side man, arranger, session musician and songwriter.  Playing with  “a vengeance and fury” (Bob Cooper, On-line Musicnet) “Fleschner has his act wired tight, oozing soulful pulp all over the place.” – John Chandler, Portland Tribune.  With Earl Thomas’ encouragement, Fleschner has put together a show of his original compositions that is sure to grab audiences attention.

Blues legend, two time Grammy Award® nominee, and four-time San Diego Music Awards winner Earl Thomas is “one of the most important blues artists of this decade” according to the Best of Blues Awards.  Thomas began his professional career in San Diego and is now recognized for his musical talents on four continents. After making his European debut at the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival in 1992, Thomas successfully built a solid international reputation and fan base. In 2011, Thomas took home some of the highest honors at the Best of Blues Awards, including Best Male Vocal, Best Contemporary Blues Artist, Best Album, and Best Songwriter. His songs have been recorded by icons such as Etta James, Solomon Burke, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and Tom Jones, as well as by contemporaries like Janiva Magness, Big Lou Johnson, Tracy Nelson, blues queen Shemekia Copeland and most recently by British blues rocker Will Wilde on his new worldwide release “Raw Blues.” With his music featured on over 500 blues radio stations in the United States and around the world, Thomas is a genuine blues star. His latest release “Introducing The Blues Ambassadors” peaked at #12 on the Billboard Blues Chart and reached #1 on Sirius XM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville.

“Music has always been there for me, and I love it!”Alan Hager

Multiple Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award winner Alan Hager is a guitarist’s guitar player, having been partners with local legends Terry Robb and Bill Rhoades. Rhoades complimented Hager by calling him the “most complete and accomplished musician he has ever worked with.” Although Hager can play lead with the best to be found anywhere, Rhoades also noted his adeptness at rhythm guitar, a lost art that makes Hager the perfect complement to any grouping he performs with. It is Hager’s rhythm that truly blends immaculately and keeps the music flowing and alive.

Los Angeles Times longtime Jazz Music critic Don Heckman once wrote of Carlton Jackson’s drumming as being “intensely musical…”
The description perfectly describes Carlton, as he has been associated with various areas within the musical world, and continues to be a first call musician in the performance and recording industry. His flowing, incisive style & a firm respect for the inherent tradition of various music genres has made him a natural choice for local, national, and international projects. This awareness has led to his performances appearing in feature films, television and radio.  A native of Portland, Oregon, his well-documented work with contemporary jazz pianists Tom Grant and Dan Siegel, guitarists Dan Balmer and Terry Robb, Blues/R&B singers D.K.Stewart and Curtis Salgado, country-pop singer Toni Land and iconoclastic composer Jon Newton, have solidified his performer status as engaging and versatile.  A further sampling of the artists whom Carlton has worked with includes the legendary “Father of the Jazz Walking Bass” Leroy Vinnegar, as well as other greats such as Billy Eckstine, Bo Diddley, Jerry Hahn, Maryann Price, Mark Isham, Jim Pepper, Bobby Torres, James Cotton, Houston Person, actor Bruce Willis, Melissa Walker, Dianne Schuur, Larry Coryell, Danny Barnes, Bill Frisell, and Gordon Lee (in Trio & Big Band settings.)  Carlton has also worked under the batons of symphonic and orchestral direction by such conductors as Pete Rugolo, Norman Leyden and James DePreist (Oregon Symphony Orchestra.)

Bill Athens is an accomplished performer on both double bass and electric bass, having worked as a professional musician for over 14 years in the Pacific Northwest. He studied with Ken Baldwin (Oregon Symphony), Dan Shulte (Jazz Bassist), and Dave Captein (Jazz Bassist). Bill is a music graduate of Portland State University. He has performed in a diverse range of genres, from Classical performances to Jazz to studio recording.   Bill has performed internationally with the funky jazz power trio, Trio Subtonic, as well as making four studio albums. He has also performed and records with Tim Willcox’s Super Jazzers. On electric bass he has performed with Trixy and the Nasties, a throw-back soul group, and recorded with the Bylines on their first studio album. He has played with local Jazz luminaries such as: Nancy King, Dan Balmer, Shirley Nannette and Greg Goebel.   Athens has also been a long time instructor, having taught at Clark Community College for six years, he now teaches privately from his home in S.E. Portland and has been on staff as bass instructor at The Great Basin Jazz Camp in Ontario Oregon.

Fleschner began working with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus as an orchestrater in 2009, and has since written for several of their shows, and has played in the orchestra as well.  Continuing this collaboration, Fleschner asked three of the very talented singers from the chorus to join the ensemble for this performance:
Billy Mixer was a Nashville studio singer, worked at Warner Music Group for eight years and was the featured soloist at the 2014 Portland HRC Gala.

Jeremy Joyce joined the Portland Gay men’s Chorus in 2013 and actively sings vocal Jazz around town at many local venues and churches. Jeremy fondly remembers meeting  B.B. KING, while opening up for Diana Krall in 1996 at his College, while performing in a vocal Jazz ensemble group, the Entertainers at Northeastern State University.

Jimmy Wilcox graduated from Northwestern University in 2011 and returned home to Portland to continue his singing adventures.  He joined the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus in 2012 while also singing with the Portland Opera Chorus and is thrilled to sharing the stage with these incredible music legends.

Co-Sponsored by the Cascade Blues Association


The Hager/Fleschner Duo hits Wilf’s Restaurant at Union Station Thursday, August 7th.  It’s been a couple weeks since the duo was able to perform, and we’re chomping at the bit.  So get ready.

We’ll also be playing a new series at Wine up on Williams, Saturday, August 9th.  Expect a little more of the jazz flavor, with plenty of bluesiness on the side, as we expand our reach into the Portland Jazz scene.

We’ll both be joined by Jon Barber on Drums and Jonathon Chase on bass, and of course all the amazing United By Music Artists.  We’ll be at the Bite Sunday, August 10th.

Thanks for the amazing support from everyone.