Here is a review of Joe I did about a year ago..
I spoke with Joe just after his graduation from NYU, this spring..
Q; Joe, how great is it to be a graduate of a great University and playing jazz in NYC?
Joe... It’s great. I mean, of course, I’m in the midst of still trying to figure out how to actually make a living at this, but I feel very lucky to be able to do something that I love and something that I’ve always wanted to do. I remember driving around in my car in Atlanta back in high school and I'd be blaring some jazz, just thinking to myself, "This is New York, I have to go to New York." So being here and doing what I've always wanted to is a dream come true.
Q; I know you got back to Atlanta recently, must have been a blast going back as an NYU Grad?
Joe... It was great. I love going home; plus, getting my Waffle House fix is always a major plus! In all seriousness though, it’s really great to go back to visit Atlanta. There’s a jazz club there called Churchill Grounds, which was the spot that I really got to know jazz, live. In fact, when I was 17, I got myself a fake I.D. just so that I could sneak into the club and listen to the music there. Anyways, I went home to play there. It’s really surreal to be playing there, because I have so many memories as a youngster there.
Q; Has it set in yet that you are one of the bright new stars in Jazz in New York City?
Joe... Not at all. That’s kind of weird to hear! Honestly, I’m just doing my best to try and play music that would make my musical forefathers proud. That’s very nice of you to say, though.
Q; Besides having more free time and making some $$$$ do you feel any different since graduation?
Joe... Honestly, no. I don't feel any more mature than I did at the beginning of college, hah! I guess that's a good thing, though. The only thing that does feel different is that all of my friends are in different places now; while I've been focusing on music and pursuing it for a long time (basically what I've been doing for a while), it's strange to see many of my friends supporting themselves and having real jobs. It's weird how quickly that's all changed.
Q; Tell us a bit about the great musicians you have been working with recently.
Joe... Playing with Houston Person has been an absolute dream come true. We first met at an NYU where he came to give a class. It's been a dream of mine to play duo with him on one of my favorite songs, "I Cover The Waterfront" for years, so, luckily, when I was called on the stage to come play, he said that he wanted to play duo, so I had my chance. After the class we exchanged phone numbers and we stayed in touch. I'd go to all of his shows and call him pretty frequently, and eventually a friendship formed. At first, I was just hoping to connect with Houston, one of my favorite musical heroes, on a musical level, but we've really connected on a personal level, too, and that has been the biggest plus of all. He is one of the kindest people I've ever met and he's really helped me out a lot. He even came down to NYU to play with me at my senior recital!
Houston's outlook on music is extremely refreshing and inspiring. Everything he plays is with regard to the audience, and I really admire that about him. I'm really thankful to have met him.
Q; How is the best "bassman", my man James Cammack?
Joe...That's it exactly. James really is the best. Every note he plays (and the way in which he plays every note) is perfect for every moment. He also has this way of working the melody of songs into his walking bass lines that really knocks me out. It's really a thrill to play with someone who has swung so hard for so long; it's really showed me what swinging, really swinging, is all about. Just like he has done with Ahmad Jamal for the past 30 years, James reads my mind and knows exactly what to play, where. It's super fun playing together and playing with James is the closest I've ever gotten to playing the music I've been hearing in my head for so long.
Q; Anything we should know about, up coming gigs?
Joe... I'm very excited about a show I'll be in next February at the Tribeca Center for the Performing Arts. Jack Kleinsinger produces a jazz series each year (it's the longest running jazz concert series in New York...next year will be it's 39th season) called "Highlights In Jazz" Each year he has some sort of show which mixes young musicians with older musicians and he's chosen me to be the pianist in next season's show. It'll be me with Houston Person, among others, and I'm really excited about that!
...He chose you for a reason Joe, please let us know the dates when available, I'll be there!
Thanks to Joe a great guy and musician, for taking time for me, see you soon Joe...
check out the latest news on Joe...http://www.joealtermanmusic.com/
by Pete Carma, follow Pete... www.twitter.com/petecarma