SPRINGFIELD – It wasn’t quite like seeing Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues, but still, the Roaring Rapids Pizza Company was the place to be on a gorgeous Thursday night as ElkBLUESington put on a Blues Brothers-themed performance in front of a packed house.
Sometimes you see musicians just going through the motions, doing a professional job but without any emotion. Not on this night. Everyone was having fun – and the audience could certainly feel it.
“We’re all friends. I picked music that was fun. Mission accomplished,” said drummer Don Elkington, who organized this group to play just Thursday night. Ordinarily, Roaring Rapids is a jazz-only venue, but exceptions are made sometimes.
“We played 17 songs, and about half were Blues Brothers songs,” said Elkington, whose band did a tribute to Tina Turner with “Proud Mary” (even though it was originally written by John Fogerty) and wrapped up the night with Robert Johnson’s 1936 song “Sweet Home Chicago,” one of the Blues Brothers’ most-played tunes. (And no, they did not play “Rawhide.”)
A portion of the music band room at Springfield High School is named after Elkington’s father, Grant Elkington, who was the school’s band director, as well as being a professional composer, arranger and trumpet player.
Music runs throughout the Elkington family tree. Don’s daughter, Mary Dawn Elkington, sings and his brother Bruce plays bass.
“I’m a percussionist, so I’ve played dozens of instruments, and I also arrange,” Elkington said. “I’m busy as a musician – you’ll see me at the Hult, you’ll see me at the Shedd, I play at the U of O. And I play all kinds of music.”
There were some regular patrons in attendance Thursday who said they couldn’t remember a more perfect evening. Just a light breeze coming off the Willamette River and ideal temperatures to complement a great show.
If they could go back in time and make a special guest appearance at Roaring Rapids, it’s a good bet that Jake and Elwood would be doing backflips.
Thursday, July 6 – Sarah Rose – vocal jazz/standards
Monday, July 10 – Roaring Rapids Pizza Players w/Conner Pavlat – cool stuff
Tuesday, June 11 – Sean Peterson’s Esstet – jazz
Wednesday, June 12 – Ken Mastrogiovanni Group – jazz
Thursday, July 13 – Jim Olsen’s Brazilian Skies – jazz/Latin
Tuesday, July 18 – Eugene Hard Bop Collective – jazz
Wednesday, July 19 – Olem Alves/Ron Bertucci Band – jazz
Thursday, July 20 – COPACETIC w/ Gus Russell – jazz
Sunday, July 23 – BIEugene Brass – cool brass band stuff
Tuesday, July 25 – Joe Manis and Friends – jazz
Wednesday, July 26 – Swing Shift Jazz Orchestra – jazz
Thursday, July 27 – Whitney Moulton and Friends – jazz
Monday, July 31 – Roger Woods TenTet – jazz