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Martin Wind, Jim McNeely and Ed Neumeister 'Counterpoint' — Playful Dialogue Of Bass Instruments


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Martin Wind
Some projects can't be planned, they just happen as a lucky coincidence. In the case of Martin Wind's new album Counterpoint it all started with an email he received from a musician in Europe.

Wind, who has lived in Teaneck, New Jersey, for 25 years and has made a name for himself as a bassist and composer in New York City, recalls, “He suggested that we record an album together and asked if I could arrange some gigs in New York clubs in advance." The idea sounded interesting to Wind at first, but when detailed ideas of the colleague were revealed, he chose to pass on the project.

“I had, however, already booked the studio, and pianist Jim McNeely had reserved the dates accordingly. We’ve known each other since my graduate studies at NYU and had made plans to record an album together a few years ago, but an untimely hand injury prevented Jim to participate. So, I decided to seize on the opportunity and realize another idea of mine: a trio with Jim and the master trombonist Ed Neumeister," says Wind about the initial situation.

The album title Counterpoint stands for the concept of countermovement or opposing poles, which also exists in literature, painting, and dance. “It's about the duality of the two bass instruments, double bass and trombone, while the piano comments," Wind explains. Sometimes bass and trombone move with each other, as in the newly arranged standard “Bittersweet," sometimes opposite as in “Counter my Point," or in alternating roles—as in the Baião composition 'Rosa.'" Counterpoint is a concept that's all about optimism, and it gives the performers tremendous energy" is how American choreographer and ballet master Twyla Tharp sums it up.

“Ed and Jim were excited from the beginning because playing without drums creates a lot of freedom" says the bassist in retrospect. “Hiatus" is an ideal opener, swinging mightily and drawing the audience into the action. “Jim wrote this tune while being a member of Phil Woods’ quintet. When gigs with the group became sparse one year, Phil declared that the band was in hiatus," Wind explains the humorous title.

In “Remember October 13th", the trio uses the gained freedom extensively. Especially in the two-minute intro, during which Wind and Neumeister elicit unusual sounds from their instruments. “Playing completely freely—that's a format in which I feel increasingly comfortable, as do Jim and Ed. It's as if someone opens a door and says: come on, we're all going this way now!", describes Wind the experimental character of the piece, which leads into a blues after the intro.

It is consequently dedicated to the legendary bassist Ray Brown, whose birthday is on October 13 and who has been a huge influence on Martin’s playing. Ed’s “Gmunden" contains a free improvisation part which seems like the atmospheric background for a silent movie scene. The inspiration was a night that Neumeister spent in a hotel at the Traunsee/Austria, where Arnold Schönberg had stayed a century before. The interpretation of the standard “Blame it on my Youth" is one of Wind’s favorite on the album. “In our version, I play the theme first alone and then in a duo with Ed. His playing on the muted trombone sounds so human—it’s a style that was made popular about 100 years ago with Duke Ellington’s jungle band."

With Counterpoint, the Flensburg native seamlessly continues the albums White Noise (in trio with Philip Catherine and Ack von Rooyen), and Gravity (in trio with Peter Weniger and Jonas Burgwinkel). If you add Air (2022) and My Astorian Queen (2021, all Laika Records), you get five albums in three years. You could certainly call this a creative phase, but there is a somewhat serious background, too: “The experience with Ack van Rooyen, who passed not too lang after the release of our trio album, confirmed that some matters of the heart do not tolerate postponement", Wind explains. He wants to realize projects that are important to him soon, instead of putting them on the back burner. At the top of his wish list: an album with pianist Kenny Barron. Sounds like Martin Wind's creative phase will continue for a while.

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Track Listing

1. Hiatus 6:09 2. Remember October 13th 6:35 3. Last Waltz 5:52 4. Counter my Point 5. Blame it on my Youth 6:11 6. Bittersweet 3:52 7. Gmunden 3:27 8. Rose 4:45 9. Extra Credit 9:04 10. In the Wee Small Hours of the morning 6:52


Martin Wind
bass, acoustic
Jim McNeely
composer / conductor
Ed Neumeister

Album information

Title: Counterpoint - Martin Wind-Jim McNeely-Ed Neumeister | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: LAIKA Records



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