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
Well, hello again. After my wife and I took a short vacation to celebrate a major milestone, I came down with a nasty illness that is
finally beginning to clear away, so it feels good to finally get back into the swing of things. Recollections, the latest CD from
guitarist Michael Anthony’s First Take Trio, with Michael Glynn on bass and Cal Haines on drums, provides a great way to do just that.
The title refers to Anthony’s fond
remembrance of his late mentor, guitarist Howard Roberts, to whom the album is dedicated. A legendary studio player in Los Angeles and a respected jazz artist from coast to coast, Roberts took Anthony under his wing and helped him get get airborne with a style of his own. Continue reading