Nature’s Table Archive Vol. 22: Joel Spencer Quartet, November 1, 1980 (RIP Kelly Sill)

Word came on September 28 that Table veteran bassist Kelly Sill had passed away at age 70. Sill was a fixture on the Chicago scene for decades, recorded with everybody, and was highly admired and respected by just about everybody he encountered. He also played many, many gigs at the Table in his day. For a time, Kelly was connected with Joel Spencer.

Volume 22 of the Table archives finds Kelly Sill with Joel’s quartet at the Table with some table regulars: saxophonist Ron Dewar and pianist Donnie Heitler. With Joel on drums, this is a C-U jazz all-star lineup in their prime.

A few tunes suffered from serious phase noise on the cassettes we dubbed, and were not listenable. The taper also stopped and started the recorder after every song, so beginnings and endings of songs are clipped. I tried to add a bit of fading to make it more palatable to your ear. Nevertheless, we were able to pull a solid two hours of music from this gig.

You will be missed, Kelly.

Joel Spencer Quartet – Live at Nature’s Table November 1, 1980

Nature’s Table Archive Vol. 21: Rachael Lee Quintet, 1st Nature’s Table Reunion August 11, 2007

I was recently given several cassettes from Rich Palmer of some recordings of CU’s own Donnie Heitler, the great pianist. Among the collection was a set of Donnie with Rachael Lee at the Autumn Tree restaurant in November 1982 (you can find that show here). That was so well-received that I recalled I had recorded Rachael at the first Nature’s Table Reunion show, held at Mike N’ Molly’s Pub in Champaign, just a couple doors south of WEFT radio on Market Street.

I listened to it, and it was delightful. So here it is, for all to enjoy. While not recorded at the Table, being part of the first Reunion show is good enough for me to post it here. This set features Donnie Heitler on piano, Jeff Helgesen on trumpet, Ed Schaller on bass and Gary Peyton on drums.

I have more material from the first Table Reunion, so look for that coming down the pike soon.

Rachael Lee Quintet – Live at Mike N’ Mollys August 11, 2007 (First Nature’s Table Reunion)