Wind established roots thanks to the woman who eventually became his wife. The fact that he had family stability and became imbedded in the U.S. fabric also provided him with the luxury of being patient during the lean times. Some fellow German musicians had no other focus but music and ended up leaving the U.S. Soon he had a family started "and it gave my life a different meaning. I was here for more than music reasons. There was my family. And the family of my wife. So I belonged to a different social scene. All of these things helped."
Forging relationships with other musicians, as always, is a key for anyone in New York and for Wind, meeting drummer Matt Wilson
"was probably the most important thing that happened to me all these years living in New York. He really encouraged me so much and embraced all of my choices that really, through him, I started to trust my musical instincts a lot more. Through him, I started to allow myself to be myself more. Not try to be somebody else. To work with his groups and see how he was leading his bands. His friendship. People saw me and said, 'Matt Wilson's using this guy.' It helped my status. That was incredibly important to me on so many levels. It's wonderful that we're still playing together. It doesn't get old."
Working with the high-profile Vanguard Orchestra has also helped, and Wind still finds time to work with Mays "who is still a great influence and inspiration. I've met so many wonderful musicians over these years. The great thing about New York is that there is always somebody that you haven't worked with, that you're looking forward to working with. It keeps you motivated and keeps you working on your craft. It's a very unique place to be."
Veteran bassist John Clayton
, who Wind met in Europe, is another inspiration. "What he does with the bow in jazz, encouraged me. All those hours you put in to get a good sound with the bow, he can use this in jazz too. Then I saw him become this great arranger. So I thought maybe I can write for big band too. He's also a great arranger for orchestral projects. He instilled that belief that even as a bassist, you can be this complete well-rounded musician. It's possible to do many other things and be well-rounded. Maybe go into film music. That keeps it fresh. It's never boring. There's always something else to learn. I learned that from him, along with some other people."
For pure playing of the contrabass, Wind notes his main men are Ray Brown
and Ron Carter
. "I got a chance to meet both of them and I'm still in awe of their contributions. For me, that's home base right there."
So Wind is a busy New York City musician with various irons in the fire. Another one this year is teaching at the Centrum Jazz Camp in Port Townsend, Washington State. "I'm going there as a faculty member, but 25 years ago I went there as a member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in Germany. We went there to perform at the festival and also participate in the camp. That's actually where I met John Clayton. I met Jeff Hamilton
, who is also important to me. Ray Brown was there. Monty Alexander. It was incredible how many people I met there. It's wonderful to go back there 25 years later and pass it on to the next generation."
Martin Wind, Turn Out The Stars
(What If? Music, 2014)
Ted Rosenthal Trio, Rhapsody in Gershwin
(Playscape Recordings, 2014)
Martin Wind, Salt 'N Pepper
(Challenge Records, 2008)