Archive for August, 2010

George Weins’ New Port Jazz Festival, Workshops and Bob Bowen

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The New Port Jazz Festival was amazing to say the least. What an experience to play on the main stage, watching the boats floating by in the background, feeling jazz history under your feet, flashbacks of all the great live recordings that came from this festival, Trane in ’61 just to name one. George Wein who founded the festival in 1954 is still going strong and very much in charge, fantastic.

The 4th annual Hudson Jazz Works was again a great success and may I say probably the best year so far. The level of students was high, they were very dedicated, worked hard and gave a great concert at the Hudson Opera House with guest Jim McNeely. Talking about Jim McNeely, I had the pleasure to play a duo piece with him at this concert. Most of you might know him as an incredible arranger but he also is an amazing pianist. People that have witnessed him perform at the Vanguard Orchestra know what I am talking about. When I asked him what he would like to play he said, give me a minute, and wrote out a complete tune, we performed it 15 minutes later. It was very special, also because he was the pianist of Stan Getz for a very long time. I felt Getz presence in the room through McNeely’s playing. A beautiful experience.

New York jazz Workshop is going strong. This year we had three successful summer workshops, the guitar workshop with Vic Juris, vocals with Fay Victor and an improv workshop with yours truly and Tim Horner. Tim Horner gave an one hour history lesson on swing feel, never heard it quit like that before and should be heard by every aspiring jazzmusician. The regular Tuesday night class is a lot of fun and two more classes are in the making, a blues workshop and a rhythm/mixed meter workshop, talking about constrasts. Very exciting.

The summer teaching is over, but just to let you know, in December I will be doing a masterclass/presentation with Tony Moreno on rhythm followed by one set of music of Landmarc. John Zorn kindly offered me a spot on the 6th of December at the Stone. Please stop by if you are in the neighborhood. And on that note, if you are in NYC show your support to the Stone, a great location kept alive by volunteers and a lot of love for the music, and musically not afraid to let go of any boundaries.

Three recordings that I am on are out or about to come out. The long anticipated recording by my great friend Doug Beavers, trombone player and arranger, who recorded a nine piece band. The recording was done a couple of years ago, glad to see that its out. He will be having a CD release concert at Yoshi’s in Oakland, Sept. 17. Amina Figarova’s record ‘Sketches’ is out and hits high in the jazz charts (didn’t even know that excisted) in the US. I will be touring with her in February, March and April 2011. And, Armen Donelians ‘the Poet” will be released soon. This recording is very special with a stellar group, Mike Moreno. Tyshawn Sorey, and Dean Johnson. Armen revived a tune of mine that I forgot about. It was a great honor to have it performed with these great musicians.

We lost a great spirit in the NYC jazz scene. Bob Bowen had a bicycle

accident, the damage was to severe and he passed away August 30th. I had the pleasure to work with him in the beginning of the 90’s, he was a great human being, always very positive and excited to get deep into the music and a great bass player always in for an adventure. He will be missed, my sincere condolence to his family.