Boss Guitar

In August 2008, I traveled from the Bay Area to Cincinnati, Ohio, via Detroit, Michigan to attend our 54th annual Huguely Family Reunion. I’m a 5th generation Huguely (father’s side), whose patriarch and matriarch were born in 1829 and 1830, respectively. The first Huguely family reunion took place in 1954 on a farm in Madison County, Kentucky. Huguely reunions have been held every year since then. After taking a red-eye from San Francisco late Thursday, I arrived into Detroit Metropolitan Airport early Friday, rented a car, and met up with my two older sisters (from Detroit) who were awaiting my arrival. We then exited the airport and I proceeded to “chauffeur” them on a wonderful, delightful, and reminiscing five-hour drive on I-75 south to Cincinnati. My three other sisters (from Detroit) and their families traveled this same route in two separated cars a few hours behind us. Ironically, I’d used this same modus operandi for the 2003 Huguely reunion in Lexington, Kentucky, this time “chauffeuring” my parents in my mom’s car after they met me curbside at the “Arrivals” baggage claim exit. After we all safely arrived in downtown Cincinnati (my older brother drove in from Chicago), we all checked into the host Hyatt Regency hotel, received our reunion packet (e.g., badge, itinerary, maps, goodies) from family representatives, and got settled in. It was rather heartwarming that all seven of us were present for that year’s family reunion. :v) The itinerary was chock full of wonderful family activities, all within a few blocks of the hotel: sight-seeing, museum, fun & games, fellowshipping, late-night suite & food, banquet, prayer service, and business meeting. Despite the exciting itinerary, conspicuous by its absence, for me at least, and a glaring omission by my count, was one single activity: J-A-Z-Z !!! So, I discreetly began asking around to see if there were any Jazz venues in town. Eventually, I heard about a Jazz club located only a few blocks away named Blue Wisp. A Jazz guitarist with whom I was not familiar, Dan Faehle’s quartet, would be appearing that weekend. Later that Friday evening, I talked one of my brothers-in-law, a close cousin, and a few other reunion members into joining me. The music, the tight-knit quartet, and the club’s ambiance were outstanding! A wonderful guitarist in his own right, Faehle, an Ohio native, played brilliant, fast, and clean bebop notes in the vein and style of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Pat Martino. That Saturday afternoon, family reunion members took in a wonderful tour of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, first opened in 2004, also located near the host hotel. Its exhibits, displays, and stories told were amazing, riveting, inspirational, and thought-provoking!!! Later that evening, not letting “Mr. Boss Guitar” leave town just yet without a second look/listen, I invited my brother and other reunion members to check out the Blue Wisp with me. And, once again, he did not disappoint. Afterward, I briefly spoke to Dan, telling him that I was a huge Jazz guitar fan, was in town for family reunion, and greatly enjoyed his playing. As a Jazz side note, Columbus, located 100 miles northeast of Cincinnati, is known for its number of great, burnin’ Jazz organists: Hank Marr, Don Patterson, Bobby Floyd, Tony Monaco, and Linda Dachtyl, just to name a few. Must be in the buckeyes falling off trees . . . For the return trip to Detroit that Sunday afternoon on I-75 north, my sisters, their husbands, and I decided to drive in three-car caravan formation, taking a few food breaks along the way. After we safely reached Detroit Metro, I dropped off my two older sisters at their cars, handed them a round-trip transportation invoice (unpaid to date), returned my rental car, and flew back west. Unbeknownst to me, I’d served as a Jazz ambassador that weekend, introducing such a fine art form to the masses: my family reunion members!!! :v)