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Never a wise man in your own village

April 2, 2009

Let’s amend that to say you’re never a bad jazz cat in your own alley. Why is it that we always look elsewhere – New York, London, Paris, (and maybe Toronto) – for the jazz luminaries when really you can catch great players almost any night of the week down at Hermann’s or at The Cellar in Vancouver?

So many of the jazz musicians out west here have proven themselves in the big alleys like New York and London: Hugh Fraser, Ian MacDougall, Joey Smith, Sean Drabitt, Josh Dixon to name just a few.

The Becker-Rosenwinkel Connection

Take Noah Becker, for instance. Here’s a guy who spent a good chunk of time in New York, playing with some of the best, among them guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. And it turns out there’s a whole bunch of Canadians who were down there at the same time and continue to be there for that matter.

I asked Becker to tell me about his time with Rosenwinkel and this is what he had to say:

“Kurt was on the scene when I lived in NYC and we gravitated towards each other musically and personally. When I was hanging at Small Jazz Club and the Village Vanguard, Kurt was around.”

“Terry was repairman to the most famous horns on the international scene.”

“Canadian tenor saxophonist Terry Deane moved into my apartment in Brooklyn and over the course of five years there were over 20 Canadian jazz musicians that I harboured or rented rooms to. People like Sean Drabitt, Kenji Omae, Quinsin Natchoff, and Dave Smith were among them.”

“Terry was repairman to the most famous horns on the international scene. (Terry is also one of the baddest cats playing saxophone in the world ever!) He set up the sax shop in my apartment and they all dropped by to test their horn repair jobs or play chess. Most notably were players such as the late Michael Brecker, Joshua Redman, Eric Alexander, Ravi Coltrane, Javon Jackson, Seamus Blake and Craig Handy just to name a few!”

“Kurt is one of the sweetest, most giving people I know.”

“Kurt Rosenwinkel was also living very close to my place so we would catch the same taxi home to Brooklyn or ride the subway. Kurt is one of the sweetest, most giving people I know. The opportunity to record the album Where We Are was a really deep experience and came from this interaction. George Colligan was on piano for that session in addition to a stellar cast.”

The album Becker refers to is available for download at iTunes on his Entour label and it features Rosenwinkel. Here’s a link that will take you to the album



and just for fun here’s a YouTube video of Becker playing with Rosenwinkel on piano that was recorded in Switzerland. The sound is poor on Becker’s horn because he’s too close to the camera but you’ll see a whole other side of Rosenwinkel!

So next time you’re down at Hermann’s or hanging at The Cellar, or up island in Qualicum, or wherever, just pretend you’re in New York.

Rick Gibbs

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