No Doom or Gloom in the Nashville Jazz Scene

Unquestionably I have been remiss in keeping this blog updated! Rest assured, I have been readily shaming myself. I’ve been feeling obliged to get back online and share some insights into the exciting things going on in the jazz and greater music scene of Nashville in light of the bizarre ‘doom and gloom’ articles recently posted by “writers” in the New Yorker and Washington Post. It’s been an excellent summer, and for that matter, year in 2014! Lots of exciting things happening in the Nashville music world. A few highlights of playing and teaching randomly listed below, along with a photo gallery. – Spent a wonderful week with 30 (yes thirty!) teenagers at the Nashville Jazz Workshop in June for the 3rd annual Nashville Jazz …

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Weekend happenings

It’s an exciting weekend for jazz fans in Nashville.  This Friday April 12th is a sold-out concert of the great Wayne Shorter Quartet with the Nashville Symphony. If you’re late on Wayne tickets, check out the angelic voice of Cassie Peterson at F. Scott’s on Friday night starting at 7pm. Saturday April 13th the Contemporary Jazz Series of NJW features my friend and colleague Chris West. That same Saturday night I’m also leading a quartet at F. Scott’s with Pat Coil, Jonathan Wires, and Chris Brown from 7:30 to 11:30. Finally on Sunday there are two shows by the super-talented NYC pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton at Nine48jazz.  It’s Champian’s debut in Nashville – click these links to buy tickets, although the early show is …

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Talking with Andy Reiss

When I first moved to Nashville, there was a guitarist I kept hearing people in the jazz scene talk about in the most glowing of terms: Andy Reiss.  It was hard to find Andy playing in a ‘typical jazz setting’, although the first time I heard Andy was in an ensemble with George Tidwell at the Nashville Jazz Workshop.  Lots of people were humming about the Western Swing band Andy played in every week at the Station Inn: The Time Jumpers. I didn’t realize then that Western Swing = jazz, so it took my stupid self some time before I got hip to the band, but boy am I glad that I did (their weekly spot is now at 3rd and Lindsley). Last week Andy …

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Talking with Alex Graham

Dr. Alex Graham moved to Nashville in the summer of 2011 to become the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Belmont University.  Beyond teaching a studio of around 15 commercial and classical saxophone students, Alex also directs a big band and both of the jazz combos. A clip of ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’ from his CD “Brand New” on Origin Records   Dr. Graham will be the featured guest at this Sunday’s Nashville Jazz Workshop Jam Session.  Last week Alex and I grabbed lunch at Tequila’s and spoke a lot about the jazz scene in Nashville: how it’s viewed, how it’s going, and where it’s headed.  Here are some excerpts from that conversation. EC:  What were your first impressions of the jazz scene in …

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Friday at F Scott’s

Yesterday I saw some posts highlighting a blurb by an “LA Times contributor” talking about the difficulties associated with being a musician. “Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again.” The quote goes on to provide some inspirational epithets – so inspirational in fact that the same quote can be found from a few weeks prior, but speaking about “Actors” instead of singers and musicians. Bad internet researching …

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Talking with Steve Herrman

If you’re heavily into the Winter Jazz Fest this week, I’d say the chances are good that you’ve never heard of the trumpet player Steve Herrman, even though the chances that you’ve heard his playing are strong, particularly if you’ve ever listened to Kenny Chesney or Delbert McClinton, among others.  Steve is well-known and very highly regarded in Nashville’s music scene as a session trumpet player.  But fear not if “session trumpet player” is an unfamiliar term – it was to me when I first moved here. Earlier this week Steve and I sat down to lunch where we spoke about that very term, as well as the idea that ‘jazz’ is a dirty word (and not just in the BAM sense), and how his …

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You’re Live in Three, Two, (one) —>

It was a great weekend of music at Pete Miller’s in Evanston, IL.  The Northwestern University campus and Evanston are in some ways unchanged and some ways very different.  Ten years ago it seemed like I had hundreds of friends and colleagues in and around the area.  Walking along there nowadays seemed like the ground had swallowed up and digested that universe with new people and businesses playing their roles in the recognizable Evanston facade, only to perhaps find the same result in 2022. 2022 sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it?  In remarking about the ease of having a pet cat versus a dog, my friend mentioned that the task is even easier since the litter box is cleaned by a robotic ‘litter’ dispenser.  It seems …

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Selflessness

As we work on developing our voice, one of the processes that occurs is that we grow our vocabulary.  As a saxophonist, I am always working on new shapes to portray distinct sounds and colors on specific chords.  The practice room is just the practice room however, and when I’m playing live I can only focus on playing with forward motion.  Trying to “squeeze in” a lick or shape that I’ve been practicing never works – it usually sounds contrived and interrupts the natural flow of the solo.  I’ve learned this the hard way over time, that you must separate the practice room from the performance. Teacher extraordinaire Greg Fishman calls the attempt of forcing licks into a solo the “Lobster Theory.”  When you order …

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New Project

I’m very excited to announce that I’m just one month away from heading to the studio to record my first “solo” CD featuring a great band and original works of mine.  The band will be performing the tunes on Sunday May 8th as the next installment of the Nashville Jazz Workshop’s Contemporary Jazz Series.  Then the studio awaits the following days! If you’d like to find out more about the project, including how you can be involved, please check out my kickstarter page. Tunes from the Workshop – the Debut Album of Evan Cobb thanks! -evan

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