New Mexico is blessed with a generous helping of world-class musicians of all types, artists who could play on the world’s finest stages (some do) but choose to make their home here. Stellar reed man, educator, and award-winning broadcaster, Arlen Asher has been on that list for 59 years. Since his arrival here in 1958, Arlen has beguiled audiences with his beautiful tone and his silky lines on an arsenal of woodwinds that he hauls to just about every gig—flutes, saxophones (he once confessed that the bari is his favorite instrument), and clarinet. On May 7, Arlen turns 88, but age has not dimmed his passion for the music. On May 4, this consummate gentleman will celebrate his birthday—and the 83rd birthday of jazz fan and producer Bumble Bee Bob Weil—with a concert in the hall that bears Weil’s name at the Outpost Performance Space. I caught up with Arlen recently to talk about the upcoming gig, which will include pianist Jim Ahrend, bassist Colin Deuble, and drummer John Trentacosta, as well as guest vocalists Judy Christopher and Patti Littlefield. The quartet will reprise the concert at the Museum Hill Café in Santa Fe on May 6, with guest vocalists Susan Abod and Pam Jackson (guitarist Michael Anthony will replace Ahrend). Here are some of the highlights of our conversation. Continue reading
Saxophonist Glenn Kostur has had nothing but trouble with the name of the sextet he is
accidentally headlining. When Tom Guralnick, executive director of the Outpost Performance Space, offered him a Thursday night in the fall season, Kostur immediately thought of the nameless sextet that had coalesced last spring for a faculty recital by trombonist Chris Buckholz and a subsequent recording project.
“We enjoyed playing together, and we liked the sextet format,” says Kostur. So the group, which also included Paul Gonzales on trumpet, Stu MacAskie on piano, Colin Deuble on bass, and
Arnaldo Acosta on drums, decided to stay together and develop a repertoire.
With a slot to fill on the Outpost calendar, the band needed a name, and Kostur suggested Deep Six to the band members. What no one expected is that Deep Six, a perfectly benign play on words, somehow got tangled up—and I’m guessing here—with the title of a famous
pornographic movie in some minds. In fact, when Kostur ran the name out for inspection at a party, he induced a bit of blushing among the ladies.
The group settled on Six of One, but deep swing is still on their menu. Continue reading