It’s been a while since my last update. A lot of good things have been going on, and now that things have slowed down a little bit (even as we swing into the holidays) I can take a moment to recount for those who are interested.
JAZZ TIMES FEATURE
Last month’s (October 2013) issue of Jazz Times had a very nice feature story about yours truly, well written and researched by Michael West. For better or worse, the spiffy photo by my buddy Nick Ruechel of me resplendent in a coral (it only looks pink) Paul Smith suit looks like a new trademark shot for me. The Yamaha ad in the same issue featured a more sober NY black vine though. Order the magazine through http://jazztimes.com/ It’s the Brass Issue, and there’s stories about a lot of other players as well.
LYNCH/COHEN KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUCCESS
It was a nail biter, almost last moment thing, but the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign for production of the upcoming Brian Lynch / Emmet Cohen recording on Hollistic MusicWorks met its goal. The funding will go towards post production of the completed tracks (mixing, mastering), manufacturing of the physical CD (yes, we still make those), promotion and tour support for the recording. The CD will be out early next year. The main challenge right now is to find the time to get the work done!
Thanks to all the supporters of this project – we are so thankful and we love you madly! Your assistance makes it possible for us to bring to you and the world high quality work that expresses our artistic vision in the way we think it deserves.
Check out the Kickstarter appeal video with some impromptu duo jamming by Emmet and myself:
And the Quartet live at NYC’s Iridium last July:
UNSUNG HEROES VOL. 2 – FINALLY ON CD!
I’m happy to relate that the second volume of my acclaimed (5 stars in Downbeat) Unsung Heroes project is finally available on physical CD, after existing purely in the ethereal (digital download) realm for so long. You can cop at Amazon, CD Baby, or on the Hollistic MusicWorks website.
Check out the press release for Unsung Heroes Vol. 2 here.
FALL PERFORMANCE TOUR
I had a blast playing at home in New York and out on the road this fall with some great musicians, peers, mentors, and legends alike.
The end of September found me way up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where bassist Steve Kirby is keeping the flame strong through his stewardship of the scene as well as his work as chair of the jazz program at the University Of Manitoba. The real deal! We played together with my bud, tenor sax great Eric Alexander and the redoubtable Davis brothers, Xavier on piano and Quincy (also on the faculty at the U) on drums. My friend, trumpet great, and another Manitoba professor, Derrick Gardner, stopped by one of the concerts and played some. Dangerous! There’s some stuff going on up there in Winnipeg! http://jazzwinnipeg.com/artists/steve-kirby/
Next up was a week in NYC at the Jazz Standard and a weekend on the road (Boston, San Francisco, Kansas City) with the Messengers Legacy band. This alumni association of our music’s ultimate finishing school, Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, is a most distinguished collection indeed: Donald Harrison (alto sax), Bill Pierce (tenor sax), Donald Brown (piano), the august presence of Reggie Workman (bass), yours truly on trumpet, and Ralph Peterson on drums, who put the group together and can justly lay claim to being a Messenger from his incumbency in Buhaina’s big band in the 1980s. I had a truly great time playing and being together with these giants. We hope to keep this group together and bring the Message to a new generation!
Not even pausing to stop home (neither NYC or Miami), I then jumped on a plane for Paris to perform at the storied Theatre Du Chatelet with the virtuoso Cuban flautist Orlando “Maraca” Valle and his Latin Jazz All Stars. There were a lot of good buddies there to share the stage with, including Giovanni Hidalgo, El Negro Hernandez, and Steve Turre. A most successful concert, later rebroadcast by French radio.
In the City Of Lights less than 24 hours, I turned right back around to NYC to start a 6 night run between two of the top clubs and alongside two legendary altoists and longtime mentors. At the Blue Note, the Phil Woods Quintet, with which I’m entering my 22nd year as a member, did a two night midweek engagement. Pianist emeritus (and close friend) Bill Charlap graced the group with his artistry, filling in for regular pianist Bill Mays. Then the scene changed to a few blocks uptown back at one of my favorite clubs, the Jazz Standard, with a true master of the art form of jazz music, Charles McPherson. I’m proud every time I can get on stage with Charles. The band was smoking too: Jeb Patton, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, and my main man Johnathan Blake on drums.
It was a great run!
TEACHING, TEACHING, TEACHING
My “day gig” at the University Of Miami’s Frost School of Music continues to reward with stimulating students and amazing colleagues. I’m pleased to relate that I’ve been awarded tenure and advanced to the rank of Associate Professor as of this fall. My artist ensemble at Frost is doing a great job of playing my compositions and arrangements in the Afro-Caribbean jazz idiom alongside me. Check us out here:
IN OTHER NEWS
I was honored to be a part of the Cedar Walton Memorial Celebration at NYC’s St. Peter’s Church on November 15th. It was great to play Cedar’s music in the company of old friends, the jazz community, and Cedar’s family. In particular, it was memorable to hook up with my old Horace Silver front line partner (and one of the greatest of my generation on his or any instrument), tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore. Cedar and his music (along with his comrade in arms Clifford Jordan) had a major impact on how I play and what I value musically. After the concert, I had a great hang reminiscing more about the man in the company Ralph, Kenny Washington, Ted Panken, Cedar’s widow Martha Walton and Cilfford Jordan’s widow Sandra, who gave me a fresh CD of Clifford’s “Glass Bead Games”; incredibly touching since it’s one of the most important recordings of my musical life as well as one of the best jazz records of all time! From 1973, Glass Bead Games features Cedar, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins in one of two quartets, the other being pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Bill Lee and Billy. All heroes!
Buy Glass Bead Games here.
All right, enough! Thanks if you made it this far – keep swinging!