John Von Ohlen

Discussion in 'General' started by edge, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    I was in Cincinnati for the weekend, Saturday night we crossed over into Covington Ky and went to a 5 Star restaurant, walking in a saw a beautiful red 18,12,14 Gretsch behind the bar, one of the owners told me it was her fathers kit and also the house kit, about an hour later the band started up softly, I turned around to check them out, the drummer was pretty old but had great hands, I keep looking at him thinking, man that guy looks like Baron John Von Ohlen, I had met him in 1977 in high school, anyway sure enough it was him, what a great pleasure to see this man still swinging and playing so well, he was up there with two young guys, an upright bass and a baby grand and those little red Gretsch, guess he plays there very often so I will be going back soon to catch him before the show.

    When we saw him in 1977 with a 17 pc big band he swung his a$& off, I never forgot that show
     
  2. dcrigger

    dcrigger DFO Master

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    John Von Ohlen driving the Kenton bus back in '72...




    This whole concert is posted - just following the links to similar clips - great document IMO of the Kenton band of that era and John's excellent stewardship of the drum chair.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2018
  3. rondrums51

    rondrums51 rondrums51

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    John is a great player. I'm glad to hear he's still working.
     
  4. MrDrums2112

    MrDrums2112 "Normal" Drummer

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    What a great drummer. One of my favorite Stan Kenton tunes is "Intermission Riff" - I have a live version and John just swings that tune so well, and it's not an easy tune to swing. Very inspiring, glad to hear he is still playing.
     
  5. cpj83

    cpj83 DFO Veteran

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    If you were a kid in the Indy area back in the day, you took lessons from about 3 or 4 guys. John was one of those guys.
    Great to hear he's still playing.

    Chris
     
  6. tnsquint

    tnsquint Backline Rental Guru

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    I saw him with Kenton and thought he was great. Thanks for posting. I am embarrassed to say I had completely forgotten about him until I saw this post.
     
  7. old_K_ride

    old_K_ride DFO Master

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    That set was Dee Felice's.He ordered them from the shop I worked in in the mid 80's.Dee was a truly great drummer and a Cincinnati celebrity.John has truly made that set his own with his very low tuning and very old school tilt on the snare drum.The pianist was most likely Mike Darrah and the bassist,Peter Gemus.Mike is an incredibly talented player.Peter's playing has gone up many notches since landing that gig playing with VO on Fri/Sat.
    Hey...what'd you have to eat? My favorite is their amazing Halibut Forte with red beans & rice or their spicy Jambalaya.
    FWIW...I took Dave Mattacks to dinner there once.John was playing.DM sat in with the trio.

    related...John's legendary 24" Kenton ride was stolen earlier this year from the Blue Wisp Jazz Club which folded this year.If you see it you won't forget it because of all the "cut-out cracks" that were made to it...despite the damage,it still sounded incredible...it sucks particularly hard that someone would steal that from John...
     
  8. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    I had the blackened filet mignon and shrimp creole, both were 5 star quality, my friend had the Halibut, yes Dee Felice it was, quite a nice place, I remember that ride cymbal from 1977, it had a big cut out then and it made an imprint on my brain as I remember how totally amazing it sounded. What a shame that someone would actually steal that cymbal.

    From your description of the players I would say you are correct, the piano player was pretty special.
     
  9. studrum

    studrum DFO Veteran

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    Very cool to hear that Mr. Von Ohlen is playing. I was unfamiliar with him till he was featured at a mid-2000's PASIC I attended - Louisville, I believe? - with the Blue Wisp big band. All the top cats (PASIC presenters and honchos) were checking him out. He swung!

    Sounds like the restaurant is a little too "rich" for my blood, but just in case, and if I'm in the area and could see the band, what's its name?
     
  10. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    Dee Felice is the name of the restaurant
     
  11. Sonorlite

    Sonorlite Forgive him for he knows not what he does.

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  12. Scott K Fish

    Scott K Fish Very well Known Member

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    John Von Ohlen is a terrific guy. I loved his playing with Kenton, and also, his Blue Wisp Big Band. Hard to imagine John on a small Gretsch kit - but, I'm sure he's still as great a player as ever.

    skf
     
  13. Craig km

    Craig km Active Member

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    Stop in The Cymbal House in Covington he stops in there often. You might see him there trying out cymbals.
     
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  14. old_K_ride

    old_K_ride DFO Master

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    John tunes all of his stuff wayyyy dowwwwwn loooowwww....it's scary to sit in or sub if you're not used to hitting pudding!
    He has a note taped to the bass drum that sez something like: "cats...do not tune the bass drum". Man...the beater disappears into the head!
    But John makes those tunings work.He's fluid & musical always.
     

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