The Dodecahedrons were the house band at Wellington music venue Happy for a number of years. Taking a Tuesday night residency (still perhaps the most maligned and dead of nights in any city's events calendar), the Dodecahedrons performed to everybody who was anybody who was nobody all at once. Audiences were quality of not often quantity, and included the hippest young musicians in town (Misha Marks and Isaac Smith), superstar of jazzsax Dave Liebman, random lone drifters and drinkers - always under the watchful eye of charismatic bar manager Kate Telford, who probably heard more Dodecahedrons gig than anyone outside the band.
Whenever a visitor was in town (who could cope with freely improvised music) they were invited to perform with the Dodecahedrons. Over the years these guests included Han Bennink, Sean Bergin, Eric Boeren - in town for the jazz festival..the Carlos Actis Dato Quartet, in town for another jazz fest, Audrey Chen, Isaac Smith, Clayton Thomas, Domenico Bulla...Mike Nock was scheduled to appear but cancelled due to illness, the gig without him was a ripper anyway.
Ondes Martenot player Takashi Harada visited Wellington and was invited to perform with the Dodecs...he was amused and puzzled to learn that the group rehearsed (!) improvisation.
The Dodecahedrons rehearsed every Monday night for the Tuesday gig. The rehearsals involved experimenting with systems, games, headfuckery, contrariness...anything to expand the possibilities of the music and to develop an approach that was unique to the group.
This recording is the complete live performance of The Dodecahedrons with Takashi Harada.
The title of the album comes from an amusing encounter with an enraged punter in 2014 - 10 years after Happy closed. Peter Broetzmann was playing with Tom Callwood, Rick Cranson, Gerard Crewdson and Jonny Marks at the Pyramid Club in Wellington. Said punter had paid his $10 to get in and promptly came back out shouting 'this is awful! I want my money back! This reminds me of the BAD OLD DAYS OF HAPPY!'
This angry and unhappy fellow was quickly encouraged to depart with his $10..leaving only the delightful and poetic phrase which takes the title.
As one may hear, the bad old days could be quite good.
recorded live at Happy, Wellington, Aotearoa - New Zealand
17 August 2004
mastered by Mike Gibson
released May 29, 2017
Takashi Harada - Ondes Martenot
Jeff Henderson - saxophones
Jonny Marks - Synthi
Maree Thom - accordion
Tom Callwood - bass
Anthony Donaldson - drums
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