Archive for wally’s

List of Upcoming Performances!

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by pogo56

Hello everyone,

Here’s a list of performances for those who are interested:

1/11 SUNDAY 8:30pm
Patrick Cornelius Octet
Cornelia Street Cafe

1/13 TUESDAY 7pm
City of Poets
Joe’s Pub (APAP)

1/16 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

1/17 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

1/23 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

1/24 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

1/27 TUESDAY 8pm
Lee Fish Group
Beat Hotel (Music of Wayne Shorter)

1/30 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

1/31 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

2/6 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

2/7 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

2/20 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

2/21 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

2/27 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

2/28 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

3/6 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

3/7 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

3/13 FRIDAY 9:30pm
George Burton Quintet
Smalls NYC

3/14 SATURDAY 9:30pm
George Burton Quintet
Smalls NYC

3/20 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

3/21 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

3/27 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

3/28 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

4/2 THURSDAY TBA
Melissa Oliveira +JAM
Portugal

4/3 FRIDAY TBA
Melissa Oliveira +JAM
Portugal

4/4 SATURDAY TBA
Melissa Oliveira +JAM
Portugal

4/5 SUNDAY TBA
Melissa Oliveira +JAM
Portugal

4/6 MONDAY TBA
Melissa Oliveira +JAM (Recording)
Portugal

4/10 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

4/11 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

4/15 WEDNESDAY 8pm
Noah Preminger Band
The Beat Hotel, Cambridge

4/17 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

4/18 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

4/24 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

4/25 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/6 WEDNESDAY 10:30pm
Noah Preminger 5tet
NP, JP, Ben Monder, Kim Cass, and Rudy Royston
Smalls, NYC

5/8 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/9 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston
5/22 FRIDAY 9:30pm

5/15 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/16 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/22 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/23 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/29 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

5/30 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/5 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/6 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/12 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/13 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/19 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet Feat. The Cloudmakers Trio
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/20 SATURDAY 5pm
Jason Palmer Quartet Feat. The Cloudmakers Trio
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/23 TUESDAY 8pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
The Beehive, Boston

6/26 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

6/27 SATURDAY 9:30
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/3 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/4 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/10 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/11 SATURDAY 2pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Soular Jazz Festival

7/11 8pm
Godwin Louis Band
The Jazz Gallery, NYC

7/17 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/18 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/22 WEDNESDAY 8:15PM
Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
MFA, Boston

7/24 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/25 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

7/26 SUNDAY 12pm
The Toth Brothers
Cambridge Jazz Festival

7/31 FRIDAY TBA
Matana Robert’s Coin Coin
Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI

7/31 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

8/1 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

8/4 TUESDAY 8pm
Noah Preminger Band
The Beehive, Boston

8/7 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

8/8 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

8/12-23 TBA
Alexey Podymkin 5tet
TBA Russia

8/28 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

8/29 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

9/4 FRIDAY 8pm
Noah Preminger Band
The Side Door, CT

9/5 Saturday 7:10pm
Mark Turner Quartet
Chicago Jazz Festival
Jay Pritzker Pavilion

9/6 SUNDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Virginia Tech, VA

9/7 MONDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Virginia Tech, VA

9/8 TUESDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Virginia Tech, VA

9/9 WEDNESDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Virginia Tech, VA

9/10 THURSDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Virginia Tech, VA

9/11 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

9/12 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

9/16 WEDNESDAY TBA
Jamie Baum Septet
Jazz Expansions

Portland, ME
9/17 THURSDAY 8pm
Jamie Baum Septet

Scullers, Boston

9/18 FRIDAY TBA
Jamie Baum Septet
Vermont Jazz Center

9/19 SATURDAY TBA
Jamie Baum Septet
Lake George Jazz Fest, NY

9/22 TUESDAY 7pm
Bruno Raberg Group
Berklee DFH, Boston

9/24 THURSDAY
Ambrose Akinmusire BB (rehearsal)
Hyde Park, IL

9/25 FRIDAY
Ambrose Akinmusire BB (rehearsal)
Hyde Park, IL

9/26 SATURDAY
Ambrose Akinmusire BB
Hyde Park Jazz Festival, IL

9/30 WEDNESDAY TBA
Cheryl Bailey Sextet
Worcester, MA

10/1 THURSDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Stanford Live, Palo Alto, Ca

10/2 FRIDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Stanford Live, Palo Alto, Ca

10/3 SATURDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Stanford Live, Palo Alto, Ca

10/9 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

10/10 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

10/14 WEDNESDAY 10pm
Noah Preminger Quartet
Smalls, NYC (Live Recording)

10/16 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

10/17 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

10/23 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

10/24 SATURDAY 8pm
Coltrane Memorial Concert
Northeastern University

10/30 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

10/31 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

11/3 TUESDAY 8PM
Lee Fish Group
Sahara Club, Methuen, Ma

11/5 THURSDAY 8PM
Elan Meher (TJ and the Revenge)
The Beat Hotel, Cambridge

11/6 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

11/7 SATURDAY 6-9PM
Jason Palmer Quartet
Steppin Out, Boston

11/7 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

11/12 THURSDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Krannert Center, Urbana, Il

11/13 FRIDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Krannert Center, Urbana, Ill

11/14 SATURDAY TBA
Darcy James Secret Society
Krannert Center, Urbana, Il

11/20 FRIDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

11/21 SATURDAY 9:30pm
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

11/27 FRIDAY 10:30pm
George Burton Quintet
Small’s Jazz Club, NYC

11/28 SATURDAY 10:30pm
George Burton Quintet
Small’s Jazz Club, NYC

12/3 THURSDAY TBA
Recording w/Mike Moreno, Edward Perez, and Lee Fish
NJ

12/4 FRIDAY 9:30PM
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

12/6 SUNDAY 5PM
Guest w/NCCU Jazz Band
Greensboro, NC

12/9 WEDNESDAY TBA
Recording w/Noah Preminger
Side Door, CT

12/10 THURSDAY TBA
Recording w/Noah Preminger
Side Door, CT

12/11 FRIDAY 9:30PM
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

12/12 SATURDAY 9:30PM
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

12/16 WEDNESDAY 8PM
Noah Preminger Quartet
The Beehive, Boston

12/18 FRIDAY 9:30PM
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

12/19 SATURDAY 9:30PM
Jason Palmer Quartet
Wally’s Jazz Cafe, Boston

12/31 THURSDAY 8pm
Grace Kelly Quintet
Sculler’s Jazz Club, Boston

2/1 MONDAY TBA
Mark Turner Quartet
Univ. of New Hampshire

2/3 WEDNESDAY TBA
Mark Turner Quartet
Bucknell Univ., PA

I hope to see some of you all out there!

JP

Nothing to Hide Liner Notes

Posted in Improvisation, jazz trumpet music, Musical Influences, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by pogo56

Hello all,

Since many folks that I know are checking out Nothing to Hide in the digital only format, I thought that I’d copy a sketch of the liner notes that I wrote for the album here. Digital formats have a big drawback where you only get the music, not the story behind the concept and the players. It’s sad to see. Most of the history I obtained about this music came from liner notes and books. This will probably assist in informing you on where each song’s concept came from as well as information about the player’s on the record. Here are the notes:

The concept for Nothing to Hide stems from the idea that I am an open book when it comes to paying homage to the trumpeters and musicians that influenced my styles of playing, composing, and arranging.

Fly Little Bird Fly: I developed a love for this Donald Byrd composition after hearing Darren Barrett, one of my musical mentors, perform it with his band on several occasions. Donald takes this tune at a breakneck tempo on the original Blue Note recording. I decided to arrange it in 5/4 time and play at slower pace. The staggered entrances and exits for this track was an idea of mine that was inspired by Wayne Shorter’s composition entitled Unity. I like to call this method the “Unity” method.

Nothing to Hide: I drew inspiration in composing this tune from a Kurt Rosenwinkel composition entitled Undercover. In 2008 I became the first trumpet player to be hired by the iconic guitarist. When performed live, Nothing to Hide, played in 13/4 time, features everyone in the band. It’s an epic tune that tends to cover many moods throughout the course of the performance. We usually open or close a set by playing this tune.

LaRue: My intention for this arrangement was to showcase one of my favorite Clifford Brown compositions (LaRue) and add a dash of another (Delilah), which occurs at the end of this track. The original recording of LaRue featured Kenny Dorham’s great hornwork, so I wanted to pay homage to him on this recording as well by documenting this tune. In arranging this song I decided to speed the tempo a bit and incorporate the bass figure from one of my original compositions entitled Laid Up, which appears on my previous release Songbook.

The Gigolo: This is one the more risky arrangements that I chose to present on this recording. I arranged this Lee Morgan original in 9/4 time using a bass line from an excerpt from my Sudoku Suite entitled Guidance that has a coda section which features Lee Fish. This rendition of The Gigolo is taken at a brisker pace as compared to the original version recording on Morgan’s record of the same name.

Strength and Sanity: Booker Little is one of the most underrated, unrecognized trumpeters in the history of this music. His untimely death in 1961 at the age of 23 was a huge blow to the continuum of jazz trumpeters, especially considering the death of Clifford Brown 5 years earlier. The first time I heard this composition, I was instantly wrapped up in its serenity. Booker’s body of compositions taught me not only to disregard my fear of dissonance, but to actually embrace it in my style of writing and arranging. I didn’t stray too far away from the properties of the original recording on the track.

Here and Now: The complete working title for this tune is: Where is the Place and Time for Everything that Everyone’s Been Talking About? Here and Now. It’s enlightening to perform this waltz because I enjoy the exchange with Michael Thomas, while at the same time we also share the responsibility of playing the 4 bars of the melody while the other improvises. To me, it’s a fun, simple, musical challenge. This particular version also features Greg’s great guitar work.

Luana: This tune and the original record that it’s on have a special place in my heart. Freddie Hubbard’s Hub Cap was one of the first albums that I owned of Freddie as a leader. The first time I heard Luana I knew I had to transcribe it and perform it with my band at the time. I then had the great fortune of meeting Freddie Hubbard in Boston and was fortunate enough to talk shop and have his signature on the cover of Hub Cap. For the version on this album I reigned in the tempo a bit and combined Freddie’s melody and harmonic progression with a tune of mine entitled Preservation of the Lower 9th Ward (aka Lower 9th Ward). Maybe you’ll hear that tune on a later release or at a live performance because we perform it quite often.

Half Nelson: This Miles Davis original was arranged in 9/4 time by Lee Fish. Lee brought in this arrangement around the time when we started rehearsing these songs. As soon as we played it, I thought that it would be a great fit to the set. The intro to this song also serves as the outro, where Lee is featured.

I’m extremely excited to present to you the members of my working band. We perform weekly (Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday afternoon) at Wally’s Café in Boston’s historic South End. I’ve been presenting quintets and trios there every weekend since 2000. I may be the only musician of my generation that’s held a residency at the same club for this amount of time. This is something that I’m proud of because I enjoy bringing the music to the people in such an intimate setting as Wally’s Café. Over the course of my residency there, I’ve had the great fortune of having some of the most creative, young minds in this music on the stage and this is the latest batch:

Michael Thomas: Michael joined the working band in 2009. Hearing him in his element always makes me wonder if there’s anything that he can hear that he can’t play. He is one of those players that give you the impression that nothing comes between what he hears in his musical imagination and his instrument. If I played alto, I know that I would be checking out Michael’s style for reference. A recent graduate of Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, Michael’s talents have already taken him to stages big and small in the U.S. and abroad to countries such as Latvia and Panama.

Greg Duncan: I have had the distinct pleasure of having Greg in the band for the past four years. His instrumental versatility and instincts go far beyond what he plays in his own solos. I’ve found him to be one of the more inventive accompanists that I’ve gotten to play with thus far. One word that comes to mind when I hear Greg improvise in this particular context is fluid. When he plays, the thoughtful ear is informed of how much extensive homework Greg has done on his instrument to get to where he is now.

Lim Yang: Lim’s a solid bassist who joined the outfit almost two years ago. Originally from South Korea, Lim made the move to Boston to study music. I was very lucky to become acquainted with Lim’s playing when I did because it happened to be around the time when the bassist in my band was making the move to NYC. Lim stepped in and made an immediate positive impression which led me to believe that her contribution to the band would be invaluable. She’s proven me right.

Lee Fish: Of all the members of the band, Lee’s been a member the longest. Lee’s got big ears, great instincts, and has an extremely balanced sound on the drum set, which is paramount in a recording situation. Lee’s also a talented composer and arranger.

J.P.

My New Record is Available Now!!

Posted in Improvisation, jazz trumpet music, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by pogo56

I’m proud to announce that my newest cd entitled Nothing to Hide is now available by clicking here. If you live in Boston, you can also purchase them from me at my weekly gig at Wally’s Jazz Cafe on Friday and Saturday nights as well as Sunday afternoons. I’ll probably always have some on me so if you see me playing somewhere else you can also grab a copy then too.

Onward and upward!

J.P.

Upcoming Dates

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2010 by pogo56

Here’s a schedule of upcoming shows. Showtimes and dates are subject to change.

September 11 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 12 4:30-8pm Jason Palmer trio hosts the jam session at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 17 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 18 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 19 4:30-8pm Jason Palmer trio hosts the jam session at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 20 Time TBA Kansas City (Venue TBA) with Grace Kelly 5tet

September 23 7pm-8pm Birdland with Grace Kelly 5tet opening for Joe Lovano

September 23 Time 9pm-11:30pm NYC at the Tea Lounge with Brian Landrus Group

September 24 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 25 3:30pm Beantown Festival with Grace Kelly 5tet

September 25 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 26 4:30-8pm Jason Palmer trio hosts the jam session at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

September 29th 8:00pm Jason Palmer with Lewis Nash at Berklee Performance Center

October 1 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

October 2 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

October 3 6pm-9pm Pressroom in Portsmouth NH with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 8 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

October 9 9:30-1am Chan’s in Rhode Island with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 11 Time TBA Domicile Pforzheim Germany with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 13 Time TBA Burgerhaus Diagonal Ingolstadt Germany with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 14 Time TBA Enjoy Jazz Festival Heidelberg Germany with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 15th Time TBA Soundtheater Wels Austria with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 21 Time TBA Magic Mirrors Jazz Festival Toulouse, France with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 23 Time TBA Altstadt Festival Salzburg Austria with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 24 Time TBA 10er Haus Bad Radkersburg with Grace Kelly 5tet

October 29 9:30-1am Jason Palmer and the Public Option at Wally’s Jazz Cafe

October 30 Time TBA Clifford Brown Tribute Concert in Wilmington Delaware

October 31 7pm Jason Palmer with Doug Johnson @ First Parish in Dorchester, MA

November 5 Time TBA Rockport Music Hall (MA) with Grace Kelly 5tet

November 7-15 JazzUV Festival Residency in Xalapa Mexico

December 9 8pm Jason Palmer and the Public Option at the Jazz Gallery in NYC

December 11 8pm Center for the Arts in Natick Mass. with Grace Kelly 5tet

February 1-8 TBA European tour with Grace Kelly 5tet

March 15 8pm Sculler’s Jazz Club with my band

April 12 Time TBA Residency at the University of North Dakota

April 25-May 13 UK tour with Michael Janisch

Lenny the 25th

Posted in Stories in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by pogo56

I’d like to introduce you to a very good friend and mentor of mine. I consider him to be one of the last living masters of this music that we call jazz. He plays drums and I place him in the same category of a Tony Williams or Roy Haynes (he actually knows both of them and would go over to Tony’s house and play drum duets with him when he was younger). Chick Corea considers him to be one of the world’s greatest drummers. I saw that quote in a magazine a few years ago. He taught at Berklee College of Music and he continues to educate and inspire many musicians worldwide via his vast collection of instructional/inspirational drumming videos.

His name is Lenny “The 25th” Nelson. He’s one of the nicest, humble, down-to-earth individuals that you probably have never met. I’ve known him for about eleven or twelve years. He frequents Wally’s Café on the weekends and every time he visits, we talk and I always asked him to play. He kindly refused up until about 3 or 4 months ago. We played Just One of Those Things and it was FAST!! Lenny’s a master at the uptempos. Here’s a video of one of his earlier videos, he has over 1,000 of these in his library:

Why is Lenny known as Lenny “The 25th”? I’ll tell but it’s a long story! I’ll give it to you.

Let’s go back to the opening of Spike Lee’s The 25th Hour in the theatres. So my wife (then girlfriend) Colleen are standing in line waiting to buy tickets. I look over my back and see Lenny with his wife and I asked him what they were going to see. He said they were going to see The 25th Hour. He was excited because he calls himself the 25th. I was a bit confused so I asked him why. He then gives me his business card. It has his name “Lenny the 25th”Nelson on it and nothing else. I chuckled a bit because I think that’s the first and only time I’d received a card with no number on it!

Now fast forward several years to this past Friday night. Lenny came down to Wally’s and I hung out with him on our set break. We started a conversation that somehow got to the subject of his childhood. He then tells me that he is the 25th BORN OF 26!!! The 26th child passed away at 1 year so Lenny got all of the attention. When he was born it was headline news here in Boston. President Roosevelt contacted Lenny’s parents because he wanted to send a TV crew to their home and document their home life. This would have essentially been the first reality tv show (forget John and Kate plus 8, lol). But Lenny’s mother declined. He then described living in a household of this size. Imagine sitting at a dinner table 20 yards wide every meal!!

Lenny was a celebrity here in Boston. He was recognized everywhere he went and a social magnet to all creeds and colors. Needless to say that after all of those years of living in the public eye, Lenny now enjoys a little solitude, but when he gets on the set, he brings everyone together.

Here’s a big CHEERS to Lenny “The 25th” Nelson!!

Jason Palmer

Ethics at Jam Session Insight #2

Posted in Jazz Ethics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by pogo56

Alright this issue is for the players that lead the jam sessions. I am certainly not casting the first stone on this one because I have been guilty of this in the past, but I realized these faults and I’ve done my best to avoid them.


If you are regulating the session please be proactive. Communicate (vocally) with the audience and the musicians who have come to share to let them know what’s going on. If you are going to play a few songs out front before you open the bandstand up for players to sit in, let them know. If a very special guest shows up at the beginning of the session and you would like them to join the house band before you open it up, let everyone know. If you don’t use a sign-up list, be mindful of who arrives and in what order they arrive in, just in case drummers show up and you don’t know who entitled to sit in first.


When it’s time to open the session up, do your best to be cordial and stick around to check out your fellow musicians. Everyone that plays/ed in my band was first heard at the jam session at Wally’s…EVERYONE. When I get calls for recommendations for other gigs I recommend players that I have heard at the jam session (and sometimes from school). I went to a late night session in NY not too long ago and experienced the leader, after playing a long set out front, proceed to put on headphones and partake in some billiards, and didn’t come back until the session was over. I would not have known whom the leader was if I wasn’t there in the beginning. I know that some folks need to get away, but I think there are other ways and other times for this….

Keep Swinging,

J.P.

Stories Behind the Song

Posted in Composition with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2009 by pogo56

We all know that songs take on a deeper meaning to the listener if they know what inspired the tune to be written or just in the name of the tune itself. I’ve written a lot of tunes that have weird names and I play at a club which is frequented by rowdy patrons, so I don’t usually get a chance to talk about the tunes and what inspired me to write them. I thought that I might take this time and blogspace to clue you in to a few (I’ve to date written a little over 200 compositions that I consider complete and record-ready) of the titles and where they came from.

Velvet Hammer– Last summer I did a mini-tour of the beautiful country of Kyrgystan with bassist Curtis Lundy. We were on a 3 or 4 hour bus ride out of Bishkek to some other city to perform, when I decided to strike up a conversation with Curtis about the business side of the music. So we were talking about networking and he tells me how it should be done. He said that you have to be persistent, whether it’s by email, letter, or phone (preferably by phone). He mentioned that it’s best to let clients know who you are and let the music be the last thing that hits them. And when the music hits them, it’s like a VELVET HAMMER.

Takes Courage to be Happy– I wrote this song for the beautiful, human nightingale, Abbey Lincoln. I was a student at NEC when I heard her live for the first time. I love the albums she did with Max Roach, Kenny Dorham, Booker Little, Coleman Hawkins, etc. She is also a wonderful actress, starring in Nothing but a Man and For Love of Ivy (alongside Sidney Poitier). She’s probably most known on screen for her appearance in Spike Lee’s Mo Betta Blues, where she plays Bleek Gilliam’s (Denzel Washington) mother.

After one of her Valentine’s Day concerts in Boston, I was able to meet her backstage for an autograph and to chat a little. She gave me her number and asked me to call her sometime to talk music, etc. It took me about a year to gather up the courage to call her but I finally did. In the course of this conversation, Abbey suddenly says to me, “You know Jason, It Takes Courage to be Happy”. A song was born.
Be Aware- I was inspired to write this tune after reading the liner notes of Wayne Shorter’s album Night Dreamer. In the notes when describing the song Oriental Folk Song, Nat Hentoff and Wayne explain that:

“In this, as in all the numbers, there are various repetitive devices which serve to accentuate the overall theme of the set. “There an attempt,” Wayne explains, “to keep telling the listener that ‘Judgment is Coming’. The word, however, is not ‘beware’ but rather it’s ‘Be Aware’!”

This tune was also an attempt to write in a harmonic style that mirrored Wayne’s style, but not any one of his songs in particular.

It’s a Brand New Day– I wrote this song for brother Paul Poindexter. Paul is a manager at the club I play at, Wally’s Jazz Café in Boston. At the end of most nights in an effort to clear out the place, Paul has several phrases that he likes to use. One of those is, “From the table to the bar, from the bar to the floor, from the floor to the door…it’s time to suck em down, pack it, stack it….It’s a Brand New Day in the neighborhood….

Black Beauty – This 8-bar waltz has a rubuato intro which is also used as an outro. I composed the melody and all of the ideas in the intro only using the black notes on the piano, and upon hearing it I thought that it came out quite beautifully, hence the name Black Beauty…

Crash– I wrote this tune after the melody came into my mind when I was watching the Academy Awards ceremony several years ago. It’s named after the movie that won “Best Picture”, which I didn’t think should’ve won.

3rd Shift– I wrote this tune for my mom. For over 20 years, my mom worked the 3rd Shift in the textile industry. This tune is a waltz that’s a contrafact (a tune that’s based on the chord changes of another tune) of Wayne Shorter’s tune entitled Night Dreamer. But my mom isn’t someone to be sleeping on the job!!

Blue Grotto Parts I and II– I was inspired to writes these two tunes after visiting the Blue Grottoes of Malta while I was on tour with Greg Osby’s band a while back. We were taken in small sailboat into these gorgeous caverns which I found to be stunning and serene. These tunes came pretty fast to me after this experience.

It Only Takes One– This tune in 5/4 time is a concept piece. The premise is pretty simple. I just took one note (a concert D) and changed the underlying harmony beneath to fit the note of the melody. When we perform this tune, the players playing the melody are encouraged to play the concert D in any rhythmic configuration or duration. We usually play off of each other when we play the melody. The solo sections to this tune are split into three parts, with each soloist cueing for the next soloist to begin at the next section. The complete name of this tune is It Only Takes One Note to Make a Song…

Six to Three– This ditty is also a concept piece of mine written about 3 years ago. The idea for this one is that I took two intervals, and major sixth and a minor third and used those as the distances of the notes in the melody. It gives the melodic lines a diminished quality. The song’s in a major key so when you combine the melody with the harmonic function of the piece you get a really quirky piece. This song somehow reminds me of one of my earlier compositions Hoop-ti-Du.

That’s Just Lovely– I wrote this tune while I was on my honeymoon in 2008. It’s a ballad that I composed with the help of any instrument at my disposal (I actually write tunes in this manner quite frequently). When I wrote it I had a pretty clear idea of what it would sound like when the band played it. When we played it, the song sounded just as such, and that happens half of the time. The other half of the time I have to do some tweaking of the feel from the rhythm section to get things to settle in.

Sway– I also wrote this tune on my honeymoon last year. This tune is very tricky and we’ve only played it a handful of times thus far. The tricky thing about this tune is that is in 13/8. There is a melody, a counter melody (made up of 13 eighth notes, which keep the song together because they’re played throughout the song), a bassline, and harmony. The title comes from the movement that took place in my body when I tried to feel the rhythm of what I was hearing. What’s funny about this is that when I had the rhythm in my head I thought that it was in 15/8 time, but when I wrote it out it ended up being in 13/8, which doesn’t make it any easier, but it a fun, groovy tune nonetheless.

Sudoku Suite- Now my Sudoku suite is a series of 12 songs that each have their own titles. Those titles together form this phrase: Beauty n Numbers; Obsessive, Compulsive, Disorder, Is, Now, Under, Control, Thanks, (To The), Guidance, (Of Fun and Games) .I wrote this piece at a time in my life when I was dealing with a serious OCD issue involving numbers. I was obviously obsessed with doing Sudoku games but in addition to that I had a compulsion for adding up the numbers on a license plate in my head as I walked down a street. When I would ride on the subway, I would add up number in all of the ads on the trains (usually involved phone numbers). So writing this suite out somehow caused this serious disorder to subside to the point now in my life that it’s not an issue.

If any of you readers out here would like to hear some of these tunes in their entirety send me an email to pogo56@hotmail.com requesting the sound files and I’ll gladly send you some live tracks.

Keep swingin,

Jason Palmer