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A Very Cool Sound -
Things are "Brewing" in  Central Windsor

by Elaine Weeks

If you've been longing to find a place where you can listen to some fine music from the thirties, forties and fifties, have we've found the place for you! Every Saturday afternoon for over a decade, those in the know have been making a pilgrimage to the Air Force Club, tucked away in a quiet residential neighbourhood in central Windsor.

Plunking down a modest cover charge, they've greeted their friends, found a seat at the long bar or perhaps at one of the round tables scattered about the spacious room, ordered a pitcher of ice cold draft beer and then sat back to take in some very cool sounds.

From three until six, it's like sitting in another time and another place for these faithfuls when Bobby Brew and the Dalhousie Street Paraders, accompanied by vocalist Val Brown take to the stage to deliver their effortless renditions of jazz, swing and blues classics.

brew-band.jpgMembers of the six piece band include Brew on drums, Pat Raeburn on tenor sax and clarinet, Vern Peifer on trumpet, Al Winters on trombone, Ed Laporte on bass and Ken Crone on the keyboard. Now retired from their day jobs, the band, in one incarnation or another, has been captivating audiences throughout Canada (including every Prime Minister during the last 30 years) and the United States for more than three decades.

Says Brew, "Now that we're all retired, it's a lot easier for us to get together as some of our guys are not from the area. Some of them would travel four hours here and back every week because they loved to play so much!"

Prior to their gig at the Air Force Club, the band was usually found at the El Morocco on Wyandotte West. The band knows so many tunes that for ten years, during the club's weekly "Stump the Band" session, they were stumped only once.

val-brown.jpgVal Brown, a singer for many years in the Windsor area, joined the band after they noticed her in the audience one day at the Morocco and invited her to come up and sing. When they saw how she brought the house down with her incredible four to five range octave, they immediately asked her to sing with them from that point on.

According to Brown, her life, with the exception of a hiatus when she was raising her family, has been filled with the sound of music. "I've been singing since I was a little girl. My grandfather, who was also a singer, didn't want me to take lessons though, as he didn't want me to lose my natural sound."

To listen and dance to the cool sounds of Bobby Brew, Val Brown and the band, (the club features a nice big wooden dance floor too!) check out The Windsor Air Force Club, 1570 Marentette Avenue.

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