Bassist Martin Wind had already gigged with American jazz musicians prior to moving to New York City in 1996 to advance his musical studies. Though classically trained, Wind is highly versatile, having played in orchestras, small jazz groups, crossing genres on the electric bass prior to departing his native Germany.
Now, years later, he is a well-established player on the New York scene, having performed with stalwarts like Monty Alexander
"It's one of the things I love about being in New York. I get to play with so many different groups," he said during a June weekend in which he was playing a trio gig at the Village Vanguard in New York City with Anat Cohen
, where he has filled the bass chair off and on for some time.
"I'm living my dream, playing with all those different groups," he said. Part of Wind's dream is a recording that came out this year, done with a grand orchestra in Europe, as a tribute to the great Bill Evans
The Martin Wind Quartet, featuring Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, plays Turn Out the Stars; Music written or inspired by Bill Evans on What If? Music. It comes from a live concert of tunes arranged for the orchestra by Wind and performed at Theatro Rossini, Pisaro, Italy, in May 2011. It took some time to make the recording commercially available, but the elegant, thoughtful music can finally be heard.
"I always thought that 'Turn Out the Stars' was one of the most amazing songs ever written," says Wind." I thought that would be a powerful title for the whole project."
Wind says the project idea came about via a friend in Italy who has been producing jazz concerts in the Aconoa region, on the Adriatic Sea. "I was in the beautiful town of Assisi with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra," recalls Wind. "He came over and had lunch with me. During our conversation, he mentioned that he was organizing one concert a season with an orchestra from the region. He suggested that if I had an idea, he would run it by them. I always thought that Bill Evans' music and his style of playing and his romantic approach would lend itself to a project like this ... Bill Evans was very popular in Italy. Fortunately, they were biting."
Selecting the tunes came naturally, he says. "I always wanted to play 'My Foolish Heart' with an orchestra accompaniment. So that was kind of selfish. I always wanted to be a soloist with the strings playing underneath. It was also the first song that pulled me into Bill Evans' world. I can't explain it, but when I heard that for the first time I was in love. That sensitive, beautiful touch and that romantic kind of sad underlying quality. It was just something that hit me."
"I did not only want to do songs that he'd written himself, but songs that were part of his regular repertoire. I've been playing with Don Friedman, who wrote this song for Scott LaFaro