Saturday, May 29, 2010

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Previewing the Peter Martin Trio

Today, let's take a look at some videos featuring the St. Louis-based pianist Peter Martin, who will perform with his trio next Friday, June 4 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The show will be the third installment in the Peter Martin Music series at the Sheldon, and will focus on compositions drawn from the catalogs of Billy Strayhorn, Stevie Wonder and Thelonious Monk.

The series' first concert in February featured Martin and singer Dianne Reeves, for whom he serves as music director, and the second show in April featured a reunion with trumpeter Jeremy Davenport, who's been friends with Martin since they were in grade school. The April concert also included bassist Chris Thomas, who attended University City High School with Martin and Davenport, and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr, both of whom will be back in St. Louis to play with Martin on Friday.

Alas, beyond the clips from the April concert at the Sheldon, there don't seem to be any videos online of the Martin-Thomas-Owens configuration, but we do have some clips today that showcase Martin's playing in a trio setting.

First up are two songs recorded in January of this year at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, where Martin lived from the early 1990s until Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of the city. Up above, you'll see and hear Martin, bassist David Pulphus and drummer Geoff Clapp perform "I Can't Help It," and down below, they play "Brother Hubbard." These are camcorder vids, apparently shot from a balcony, and though Pulphus' bass almost disappears from the mix in some spots, overall the clips do give a good idea of the trio's interplay.

Down below that, there's a video of Martin and Owens with bassist Christian McBride, playing the venerable standard "Cherokee" at the 2009 Bratislava Jazz Festival. As is customary with "Cherokee," the tempo is way up, but in this case they mix things up by playing the bridge in 3/4 time. Again, it's an amateur video (shot with a iPhone, according to the credits), so the quality is less than pristine, but it's worth a look just to see Owens' skills at negotiating the song's breakneck pace and time changes.

Finally, just to round things out we have a short video of a Martin solo that seems to be from last fall's gig by McBride's band Inside Straight at Jazz at the Bistro, demonstrating more of his considerable keyboard prowess.

For more about Martin and next Friday's concert, check out this interview he did yesterday for KWMU's "Cityscape" program. Also, Metrotix this week announced a two-for-one discount on tickets for the June 4 concert. To access the offer, go here and and enter the promo code "PMTRIO" (without the quote marks).

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