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January 2020 Issue

Martin Wind Newsletter

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Recap I: JEN Conference in New Orleans
Recap II: Mohonk Mountain Jazz Festival 2020
Recap III: Scott Robinson Quartet at Jazz@Kitano 
Recap IV: Northwest Tour with Matt Wilson and Honey and Salt
Mezzrow with Chuck Redd and John DiMartino
California Tour with Matt Wilson and Honey and Salt
Video of the month: Bobby Hutcherson & Joe Locke at JazzBaltica 2007
I continue to be amazed at how many folks out there really enjoy reading my newsletter, people that I respect a lot and that could do a million other things instead. Thank you so much for your interest, it makes this all worthwhile!

Recap I: JEN Conference in New Orleans


On Tuesday, January 7 I escaped the freezing temperatures and joined the conference of the Jazz Educators Network (JEN) in New Orleans. Of course, this soulful city is known as the birthplace of our music, but it is also an unbelievable food town. Our very first meal there was an unbelievable lunch at the original “Acme” restaurant right on the border of the French Quarter.

Before we got there I got tricked into an unvoluntary shoeshine, if you can believe it! Before I could stop my man, my foot was on his knee and the cream was on my shoe; while he was applying and distributing the lotion and polishing it with a rug he rattled off all kinds of slick one-liners that he’d compiled over years of perfecting his art form. After he was done he demanded 20 dollars for his "services": "10 for the shine and 10 for the line"!  Welcome to New Orleans!

Once at the restaurant it was easy to forget about that little episode: we started with a round of raw oysters followed by the charbroiled version of this shellfish. I can attest that this was the first time ever that I actually enjoyed a raw oyster! After my gumbo and crabcake on the side, I was ready to hit the convention and the never-ending schmooze that comes with the territory.
 
Wednesday, January 8 started out with probably THE musical highlight of the convention: a duo concert with drummer Allison Miller and my friend Jeff Lederer on tenor and soprano saxophone: so musical, at times energetic and provocative, while also tender and pretty. The set ended with saxophonist Jeff Coffin and Matt Wilson joining in:
At 2 pm it was time for our presentation "Bandstand Assistance"; Matt had purchased a couple of neon-colored safety vests for us, and had them prepared with nametags in the front and the word “song team” on the back. About 10 minutes before we were about to start, drummer Peter Erskine walked right by us into our venue – he had not noticed us in our safety attire! We had a nice crowd and a lot of fun exploring the bass/drums relationship with a special focus on "American 4/4 Time" (Thanks, Mel Lewis!).
In the evening, after several more hours of  "meet and greet" I joined my pal Dave Stryker at his favorite NOLA restaurant together with members of his wife's family; I followed his lead and had turtle soup (a first) and gulf fish "Amandine" – very unique and satisfying. Here is a photo of Dave and me together with Kate Baker, who had just lost her husband, the great guitarist Vic Juris; I’m glad that she came down to New Orleans to be around some of her friends within the jazz community.
Later that evening we all went to hear a beautiful set by the faculty of UCLA lead by drummer Peter Erskine; with him were pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Darek Oles – I’ve known both of their names and work for many years, but had never heard them play in person or met them before…and "subbing" for Bob Mintzer was Bob Sheppard, who nailed the material!
 
Highlights of my third day at the convention were a workshop about Bob Brookmeyer’s compositional techniques and a nice reunion with pianist Kenny Werner, who I had studied with at NYU, but hadn't seen in years. Then in the late afternoon, it was time to head back to the airport. Here are a few photos that I took with friends at the schmooze fest:
With Dave Robinson, brother of Scott
With Frank Alkyer, publisher of Downbeat Magazine
It was also a lot of fun to walk around in the city; it sure has a special vibe!
I cannot possibly finish this chapter without mentioning this amazing diner called 'Mother's" where Matt and I had breakfast at for two days in a row. If you ever get a chance to go there you must try the crawfish omelet with grits!

Recap II: Mohonk Mountain Jazz Festival 2020
 

Right on the heels of my return from Lousiana I repacked and headed up to New Paltz, NY together with my wife Maria for the 2020 edition of "Jazz on the Mountain Festival" at the Mohonk Mountain House. The festival opened with a somewhat reflective set of the Mohonk All-Stars featuring Scott Robinson (reeds & trumpet), Dave Stryker (guitar), Helen Sung (piano), and Allison Miller (drums).
I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to three members of the jazz community who had passed away in late December: our dear friend and guitarist Vic Juris, pianist Richard Wyands, as well as West Coast jazz legend Jack Sheldon. We honored them with renditions of Dizzy's "Con Alma" and Victor Young’s "Stella By Starlight" (in a slow ¾ feel…) for Vic; "Stompin' at the Savoy" for Richard, and Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of Your Smile" for Jack.

The second half of our set consisted of songs by two jazz musicians that would have turned 100 years old in 2020:

Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker. I believe that we got off to a pretty swinging start….
 
Here is a photo taken by one of the regulars at the festival, Mr. Howard Groder; actually a good number of patrons take photos and videos up there, often with not so great results. This one I really like, though:
On Saturday I was off for the entire day; I got to chill and enjoy Andy Miln's solo piano set. Fun fact: he played "Stompin’ at the Savoy" as well, and it could not have been more different, but equally beautiful – that's jazz for you!
 
On Sunday evening I was part of a really great set with the three background singers of Steely Dan: Catherine Russell, La Tanya Hall, and Carolyn Leonhart, with John DiMartino on piano, Marc McLean on drums plus the amazing Scott Robinson, who really knows how to play behind and around a singer! Dave Stryker hit it out of the ballpark when he joined us for Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic":
As always the weekend ended with the infamous Parlor Games; highlights were Michael Bourne's rendition of "I Get a Kick Out of You", a piano duo of John DiMartino and Helen Sung, as well as Dave Stryker's first appearance on drums!

Recap III: Scott Robinson Quartet at Jazz@Kitano
 

It almost felt like we were still in Mohonk when we gathered with Scott's quartet at Jazz@Kitano; Scott, Helen and I had just played a ton at that festival, and we even had some of our Mohonk audience members at the club on Park Avenue and 38th street.

The two nights were quite different from our “Tenormore”- themed concerts from last year: firstly Scott did not limit himself to playing the tenor saxophone, but also explored the trumpet and the mighty bass saxophone. Also different was the repertoire: in addition to one new composition of Scott’s he had us sightread tunes by some of his favorite composers such as Jimmy Heath, Sun Ra and Eddie Harris, that he pulled out of a big pile of handwritten sheet music. Needless to say, he had all of them transcribed himself over the years… "I have hundreds of them!" he claimed. It was a lot of fun, and the audience seemed to be digging it, too.

Here are four great photos of us, courtesy of the very hip Maria Traversa:

BREAKING NEWS!

"Tenormore" Wins 2019 JazzTimes Readers' Poll

I wanted to take a moment to congratulate my longtime friend and one of the most creative people I know, Scott Robinson. Scott's latest recording  "Tenormore" (Arbors Records) was voted the BEST NEW RELEASE in the 2019 JazzTimes Readers’ Poll! I'm extremely proud to have been part of this project, which includes Helen Sung (piano) and Dennis Mackrel (drums) and special guest Sharon Robinson (flute).    

Recap IV: Northwest Tour with Matt Wilson and Honey and Salt
 

You know that you will have a great time when you hit the road with Matt Wilson, especially if it's with one of his own ensembles.

Our "tour" of Montana and Washington State started on Friday, January 24 at Helena, MT; my Uber driver welcomed me in a T-shirt since the temperature read mid-50s. When I asked him, if that was normal for this time of the year he replied: "…oh absolutely not!  Usually, we have minus 20 degrees and 2' of snow on the ground this time of the year!" But global warming is a Chinese hoax, right?
When we went over to the venue in the afternoon, we learned that the Myrna Loy Theater is located in the former county jail! Check out the billboard for the theater's coming events:
Matt Wilson's "Honey & Salt" and Jack Nicholson in the "Shining", both playing at the former county jail!
 
The Helena folks turned out to be a very hip audience, and we really had a lot of fun! Here are a couple of nice shots by Ross Peter Nelson from the local newspaper:
After the concert, we stopped at a wine store to get a couple of bottles for our post-concert hang back at the hotel.

I ended up getting a 2015 Carmenere Grand Reserva from Chile that had the most offensive nose I've ever experienced! It was so bad, that we first thought that it was completely spoiled, but it turned out to be delicious…you just had to get past the smell of it. We lovingly labeled it our “a++ wine”…
The next morning we went on a wonderful ride from Helena to Missoula – unfortunately, we did not see any mountain goats or other spectacular wildlife, but it was still gorgeous. After a couple of hours, we arrived in Missoula, had a fantastic Mexican lunch, gave a workshop at the University of Montana and played yet another nutty and very memorable concert at a dance studio in downtown.
That night I excused myself from the obligatory post-concert gathering after only sampling one of the wine offerings; we had a 3:15 am lobby call for our first of two back-to-back 5 am flights, and I wanted to at least get a couple of hours of sleep. Other bandmembers decided to party a bit longer and seemed to regret their choice dearly…I will not mention any names…
 
As we checked in a few luggage items we noticed, that the flight was scheduled for 6 am – yikes! That extra hour in the early morning really does make a huge difference!

We flew from Missoula to Seattle and continued to Yakima, where Matt and I had spent many very memorable visits with great concerts and amazing hangs over the years. On these two flights, we befriended one of the attendants, who helped us get some of the instruments on the rather small commuter plane. It turns out that she was going to be on our 5 am flight from Yakima back to Seattle the next morning, and that she would be staying over in town, -so we invited her to attend our concert, imagine that! She actually did show up, and on top of that, she read a couple of Carl Sandburg’s poems that she remembered from her childhood. After she was done, Matt and Jeff pretended to demonstrate the safety features of "The Season's" concert hall – you had to be there!
 
Here is a photo of those two going at it during their drums/sax duo of "Sliphorn Jazz"; that poem, by the way, was read by our dear old friend Doug Ramsey, who looked better than ever!
After another very short night, we reunited with our flight attendant, Lea-Anne Garrett Hucke at the airport; after a quick flight back to Seattle we all went our separate ways. For me, that meant waiting around from 6 am on until my 1:30 pm flight back to Newark Airport – thank God for the United Lounge!


Mezzrow with Chuck Redd and John DiMartino
 

It’s always great playing at this wonderful club in the heart of the West Village in Manhattan; this weekend I will be hitting again with the swinging Chuck Redd on vibes and John DiMartino on piano.
Mezzrow regulars know by now that there is also the possibility of watching us on their live stream.
Here are the details:
 
Friday, February 7 & Saturday, February 8, 7:30 - 10 pm:
Chuck Redd Trio featuring John DiMartino (piano)
Mezzrow Jazzclub, 163 W 10th Street, New York, www.mezzrow.com


California Tour with Matt Wilson and Honey and Salt
 

Beautiful, we’re going back out with this band already! This run will take us to California, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing some of my friends "Out West"!
 
Kirk Knuffke will be playing the cornet with us on this trip, which should make for some special moments; I just heard him again at the Mohonk festival with Allison Miller's fantastic band "Boom Tic Boom".
 
We’ll be at the San Francisco Conservatory and the Jazz Bakery in L.A. among other venues. Here is our itinerary:
 
Matt Wilson's Honey and Salt featuring Matt Wilson (drums), Dawn Clement (piano, voice), Jeff Lederer (saxes), Kirk Knuffke (cornet)
Thursday, February 20, 8 pm: San Francisco Conservatory, Osher Salon, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA
https://sfcm.edu/performance-calendar/event/honey-and-salt-matt-wilson
 
 
Friday, February 21, 7 pm – 8:30 pm: San Jose Winter Jazz Festival (Hammer Theater)
https://sanjosejazz.org/artist/matt-wilsons-honey-salt-quintet/
 
Saturday, February 22, 8 pm: Jazz Bakery/Moss Theater, 3131 Olympic Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404
https://jazzbakery.org/events/honey-salt
 
Sunday, February 23, 7:30 pm: Jazz@ The Athenaeum, San Diego
http://www.ljathenaeum.org/event/19bd917593a5798654a818605e9c2263

Video of the month: Bobby Hutcherson & Joe Locke at JazzBaltica 2007

Somebody recently posted this on Facebook: Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Locke, playing “Old Folks” at the 2007 JazzBaltica festival together with Andy Haberl on drums and my friend, the late Don Friedman on piano. I got to play with so many incredible musicians there and have countless wonderful memories that I will cherish for the rest of my days.

What I remember about this particular concert is that Bobby moved me to tears at the rehearsal, as he was playing the melody to "I'll Be Seeing You". This has happened to me only about a handful of times, and he did it in one of the rehearsal rooms at the Salzau castle – it was deep! Another example of a master musician, who really sang through his instrument and put his entire life's experience, knowledge and emotions into every single note that he played. I felt honored to be in his presence!
 
Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Locke.  "Old Folks" - 2007 JazzBaltica
Martin Wind - "Light Blue"
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