A Memorable Evening with Andy Martin

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After several months of inactivity, big-band jazz in Albuquerque sprang vibrantly to life for one memorable evening February 19 as Andy Martin
Andy Martin
Andy Martin
b.1960
, one of the world's most accomplished trombonists, flew in from Los Angeles to team with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra for an electrifying concert at the Eldorado High School Performing Arts Center, crowning the city's annual two-day schools-oriented Jazz Festival.

For those who need to "bone up" on Martin (pun intended), he's not only a sought-after studio musician but has played lead trombone and / or jazz with almost every big band in the Los Angeles area including those led by Bill Holman
Bill Holman
Bill Holman
b.1927
sax, tenor
, Gordon Goodwin
Gordon Goodwin
Gordon Goodwin
b.1955
composer/conductor
, Tom Kubis, Jack Sheldon
Jack Sheldon
Jack Sheldon
b.1931
trumpet
, Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
b.1933
producer
, Louie Bellson
Louie Bellson
Louie Bellson
1924 - 2009
drums
, Matt Catingub
Matt Catingub
b.1961
and Bob Curnow. Martin has recorded eight albums as leader or co-leader with such celebrated artists as Carl Fontana
Carl Fontana
Carl Fontana
1928 - 2003
trombone
, Pete Christlieb
Pete Christlieb
Pete Christlieb
b.1945
saxophone
, Eric Marienthal
Eric Marienthal
Eric Marienthal
b.1957
saxophone
and Albuquerque's own Bobby Shew
Bobby Shew
Bobby Shew
b.1941
trumpet
. His trombone can also be heard on many recordings by pop stars as well as on movie soundtracks and such TV series as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. In terms of Martin's technique and virtuosity, think Frank Rosolino
Frank Rosolino
Frank Rosolino
1926 - 1978
trombone
. Yes, there has been only one Rosolino, but Martin comes about as close as anyone to equaling Rosolino's incomparable dexterity and panache.

One would assume that a musician of Martin's stature would draw a standing-room-only audience, even in Albuquerque, and I wish I could say that were true. The fact is there were more than a few empty seats, but Martin, always the professional, played as if the concert were standing room only, and everyone in the house was charmed by his performance. The AJO, now directed by lead alto Glenn Kostur after Shew's recent departure, raised the curtain with Mike Crotty's high-powered arrangement of "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," ushered baritone saxophonist Paul Blakey to the forefront on Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1927 - 1994
piano
's "Wave," glided easily through George Stone's tasteful reading of Rodgers and Hart's "Where or When," and closed the first part of the concert with Randy Brecker
Randy Brecker
Randy Brecker
b.1945
trumpet
's funky "Shanghigh."

After a brief pause Martin was welcomed onstage for the first of his five numbers, a fast-moving version of the standard "Just Friends," arranged (as were the others) by his friend and colleague, Tom Kubis. "Friends" was followed in order by the theme from "Black Orpheus," the standard "Alone Together," the ballad "Imagine What a Change Will Do" (written by Kubis' wife, Carol Jolin), and Juan Tizol
Juan Tizol
Juan Tizol
1900 - 1984
trombone
's jazz classic, "Caravan." There's not much that can be said about Martin's solos aside from the observation that each one is a well-polished gem, keenly logical yet always swinging, with nary a note squandered or misplaced. While Martin was undeniably the main man, several members of the orchestra including Kostur (alto and soprano), tenor Lee Taylor, trumpeters Kent Erickson and Brad Dubbs, trombonist Christian Pincock
Christian Pincock
Christian Pincock
b.1977
trombone
, pianist Chris Ishee and drummer Paul Palmer III weighed in with persuasive statements of their own.

It was, to be concise, a night to remember, and we look forward to seeing and hearing Andy Martin again in Los Angeles in May. Speaking of which . . .

Everything's Coming Up Golden

Ken Poston has announced more details about the Los Angeles Jazz Institute's "Big Band Olympics," set for May 26-29 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, whose over-arching theme is "Celebrating the Big Band Sound from Around the World." With that in mind, the LAJI has invited ensembles representing 13 countries to take part in the four-day event (including tributes to Canada's Boss Brass and Belgium's Clarke-Boland Big Band). Other bands scheduled to appear are from Australia (The Tim Davies
Tim Davies
b.1972
composer/conductor
Big Band), Cuba (The Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval
b.1949
trumpet
Big Band), England (The John Altman
John Altman

saxophone
Big Band), France (The Christian Jacob Big Band), Germany (The Chris Walden
Chris Walden
Chris Walden

arranger
Big Band), Hungary (The Tommy Vig
Tommy Vig
Tommy Vig
b.1938
vibraphone
Big Band), Japan (The Toshiko Akiyoshi
Toshiko Akiyoshi
Toshiko Akiyoshi
b.1929
piano
/ Lew Tabackin
Lew Tabackin
Lew Tabackin
b.1940
sax, tenor
West Coast Reunion with Bobby Shew and others), the Netherlands (The Rob Pronk Big Band), Russia (The Valery Ponomarev
Valery Ponomarev
Valery Ponomarev
b.1943
trumpet
Big Band), Yugoslavia (The Dusko Goykovich
Dusko Goykovich
Dusko Goykovich
b.1931
trumpet
Big Band) and, last but not least, the United States (The Bill Holman
Bill Holman
Bill Holman
b.1927
sax, tenor
Big Band).

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