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Conrad Herwig: New York City, NY, July 25, 2012

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Conrad Herwig Quintet
The Blue Note
New York, NY
July 25, 2012

During the last week of July, 2012, at New York City's Blue Note club, trombonist Conrad Herwig performed with his quintet, also featuring trumpeter Alex Sipiagin
Alex Sipiagin
Alex Sipiagin
b.1967
trumpet
, baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber
Ronnie Cuber
Ronnie Cuber
b.1941
sax, baritone
, pianist Bill O'Connell
Bill O'Connell
Bill O'Connell

arranger
, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, drummer Robby Ameen
Robby Ameen
Robby Ameen
b.1960
drums
and conguero/percussionist Richie Flores. Herwig paid tribute to the sophisticated tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
, who passed in 2001.

Henderson was one of Herwig's heroes, mentors and close friends. Herwig's Blue Note shows were advertised as "The Latin Side of Joe Henderson." With Flores onboard, it was difficult not to put on a rhythmically enthralling show, Latin style.

This "Latin Side" touch has become a trademark for Herwig; indeed, the trombonist has been reinventing landmark albums by "Latinizing" them. His "Latin Side" recordings include The Latin Side of Herbie Hancock (2010), The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter (2008), Sketches of Spain y Mas (2006), Another Kind of Blue (2004), and The Latin Side of John Coltrane (1996), all on the HalfNote label.

Herwig is known for his collaborations with trumpeters Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
and Tom Harrell
Tom Harrell
Tom Harrell
b.1946
trumpet
, saxophonist Joe Henderson, and Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
(who performed with his quintet over the weekend)), pianist Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
b.1936
piano
, timbale player Tito Puente
Tito Puente
Tito Puente
1923 - 2000
band/orchestra
, and singer Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
. He has also performed with singer Cab Calloway
Cab Calloway
Cab Calloway
1907 - 1994
composer/conductor
and drummers Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
1917 - 1987
drums
and Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
.

Catching the second set on Wednesday evening, July 25, the band was getting ready to record on the weekend. Herwig thus mentioned that they were playing a longer set than usual: a wonderful idea. "We are rehearsing for record day," the trombonist explained, and the audience forgave him completely.

Herwig also talked about his friend, trumpeter/flugelhornist Clark Terry
Clark Terry
Clark Terry
b.1920
trumpet
, who is now 92 years old and with whom the trombonist has performed. He quoted Terry, saying, "It's not a jazz show if you don't play a blues." For that very reason, Herwig also decided to play one of Joe Henderson's blues.

The solos from each instrumentalist were impressive, as well as the quality and originality of each tune. The band played "Afrocentric," a tune from Henderson's Power to the People (Milestone, 1969), which featured bassist Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
, pianist Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, drummer Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
and trumpeter Mike Lawrence. "We hope you like this version," Herwig declared.

Herwig described Henderson as a brilliant and most sweet man, who spoke Spanish, Japanese, German and Russian. As Herwig explained, Henderson "was a genius."

The show was not only a great "rehearsal" for the musicians, who created a special intimate atmosphere onstage—using the Blue Note as a sort of recording studio—but it was also moving. While paying tribute to Henderson, Herwig not only reclaimed a daunting musical tradition by honoring the spirit of the late saxophonist, but he also celebrated friendship—and, in this case, a special kind of friendship: a musical one.



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