Martin Wind Newsletter
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January 2019 Issue

Martin Wind Newsletter

Recap I:  A one-of –a-kind week at Birdland Jazzclub
Recap II: Jazz@Kitano with Libby York and Scott Robinson's Quartet
Recap III: Tour with Matt Wilson's "Honey and Salt"
Recap IV: Going to Benin with Philip Catherine
Four concerts with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
I have to admit that the last few newsletters have been rather long; I was hoping for the February edition to end up a bit shorter, but since I waited until the end of the month (again) the recaps kept piling up…so please bear with me.

Recap I:  A one-of-a-kind week at Birdland Jazzclub

Between Tuesday, January 22nd and Saturday, January 26 I might actually have been one of the busiest men in show business, playing fourteen sets at the great Birdland Jazzclub in NYC. Ten of these shows were with Ann Hampton Callaway and her tribute to Linda Ronstadt; on Friday we recorded live and on Saturday we were honored by the presence of one of the most swinging cats on this planet, Mr. Monty Alexander:
From left to right: Tim Horner, Monty, Bob Mann, Ann, myself, and Billy Stritch
(photo by Kevin Alvey)
Then on Wednesday and Thursday of that week you could have seen me run up and down the staircase between the main space and the recently opened "Birdland Theater", where I got to join Ingrid Jensen in her "Invisible Sounds: for Kenny Wheeler" CD release; please look out for this album – I think it is such a fresh, original and respectful tribute to this great Canadian trumpet player and composer!
From left to right: Gary Versace, myself, Ingrid Jensen,
Jon Wikan (hidden), and Steve Treseler
(photo by Alexa Dumont)

Recap II: Jazz@Kitano with Libby York and Scott Robinson's Quartet

The following week it seemed like I was the bassist in residence at yet another of my favorite clubs, "Jazz@Kitano": first there was a swinging evening with singer Libby York, John DiMartino, and the incredible Warren Vache on Wednesday, followed by Scott Robinson's preview to his new album "Tenormore" (to be released on Arbors Records in April) over the (ice cold) weekend.  
Photo courtesy of Maria Traversa
....and check out coverage of the Scott Robinson Quartet's performance at Jazz at
Kitano (Feb. 2nd) -- published in the latest edition of The New York City Jazz Record

View the article

Recap III: Tour with Matt Wilson's "Honey and Salt"

At the beginning of February I hit the road again together with my old friend Matt Wilson and his brilliant "Honey and Salt" project; first we drove up to Amherst for a concert at the University of Massachusetts and headed East the following day for a set at the new "Sculler's" jazz club in Boston.

Our short run ended with a couple of very inspired evenings at the Jazzforum in Terrytown, NY: things really opened up and got quite a bit nutty…bassist Cameron Brown and his wife came out to hear the band, as did pianist Ted Rosenthal; on Saturday evening we were graced by the band's "house photographer", John Abbott!
Check out these beauties:
Photos courtesy of John Abbott

Recap IV: Going to Benin with Philip Catherine

As I'm writing this newsletter I am sitting in the lounge at Brussels Airport, waiting for my delayed "connecting" flight back to the U.S. to finally board – this is after I've already completed my first 8-hour flight btw…I'm on my way back from a trip to Cotonou, the biggest city of Benin, West Africa together with Belgian guitarist and European jazz legend Philip Catherine.

Our visit was sponsored by the Belgian embassy, Brussels Airlines, and the German Organization for International Cooperation, whose director of the Benin office is a diehard jazz fan and friend of mine.  Andreas König and I met on the Jazz Cruise several years ago – as a matter of fact, he just completed two cruises back to back a couple of weeks ago! For several years Andreas and I had been talking about organizing a concert together, and this past week it finally happened!
Our first day in Benin began with a luncheon at the residency of the Belgian ambassador, who happens to be the nicest gentleman you'll ever meet! He and his wife had just moved into their new house with spectacular ocean views, but are still waiting for their new furniture to be authorized by the Belgian government – the hardships of being a diplomat….

Unfortunately those type of properties have to be protected by high walls and barbed wire, and the strong current prevents any swimming; apparently one of the Belgian projects is the construction of a miles-long underwater wall, that is supposed to make these beautiful beaches "swimmable" and help this country attract more tourists.
In the afternoon we did a QUICK sound check at the venue, an Open Air theatre in the courtyard of the French Cultural Institute…a beautiful place to play, BUT the real feel temperature was around 100 degrees plus EXTREME humidity. I don't think that I have ever sweated so profusely, as at that concert: my clothes were sticking to my body, and the sweat kept running down into my eyes, so that I had to constantly wipe my face and hands – even a two-bar break would suffice for me to pull out that towel quickly….
Despite the conditions, we had a wonderful concert and a very inspiring post-concert reception, during which I was introduced to the German ambassador and his wife…wait, this sounds like a theme here…
Our second day in Cotonou was all about meeting local musicians; first, we did a workshop at "LeYesPapa", a club run by a guitarist from Benin and a singer/economist (!) from former East Germany, the lovely Luise!

Traveling groups usually play here for room and board plus whatever adds up at the door, and sessions are going on there every single night. Unfortunately, the stage was outdoors again, so more perspiration…we heard a talented teenage electric bassist and drummer playing African music, but the groups' improvisations would largely be happening over one or two-bar vamps…the concept of playing over a song form seemed not very familiar to most of these musicians.
In the evening we were then invited to sit in at the best club in town, where musicians are actually getting paid decently: "The Sanctuary". On the way over, we got into a minor car accident, which did not surprise me at all since the traffic motto there seems to be: anything goes – and I'm used to driving in NYC!

I later realized that I had filmed the moment that we were hit by a truck:
Our visit ended on the third day with an interview for national public radio of Benin – while construction workers were tearing down walls with sledgehammers, and the dust would sneak into our studio…wow, pretty unbelievable, but: the show must go on!
I traveled for two entire days to be in Benin for three, but it was well worth it: the hospitality that we encountered was overwhelming, and the appreciation for our music, teaching, and presence was always evident.

Four concerts with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Once back home, I will be playing with the legendary Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at the even more legendary Village Vanguard jazz club for the next three Mondays AND will fly out to Kansas to play at Pittsburg College with them on March 1, too. Here are the details:
Monday, February 25, March 4 & 11, sets at 8:30 and 10:30 pm
The Village Vanguard, 178 7th Ave S, New York, NY
For tickets:
Friday, March 1, 7:30 – 10 pm
Memorial Auditorium, 503 N. Pine, Pittsburg, Kansas
For tickets:
Martin Wind - "Light Blue"
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Martin Wind Quartet "Turn Out the Stars"
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Also available at WhatIf? Music
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