Sunday, November 01, 2009

Conrad Herwig: a 50 years young veteran

Conrad Herwig: a 50 years young veteran (English) Conrad Herwig: een veteraan van vijfig. (Nederlands)

A veteran and versatile trombonist celebrates his 50th birthday
Hans Koert

NEW YORK - Conrad Herwig, the veteran and versatile trombonist and well-respected educator, received his third GRAMMY nomination overall and second in four years for Half Note Records when the selection committee named LATIN SIDE OF WAYNE SHORTER (HN-4535) among the “Best Latin Jazz Album” (Category 50) selections.

This message is to be found on Conrad Herwig personal website: the veteran and versatile trombone and well-respected educator. When you read that you could be misled, as veterans are, in my opinion, normally elderly men !

Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribean All Stars with Conrad Herwig as the first on the right. (North Sea Jazz Festival, July 2006) ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

On the 1st of November 2009 Conrad Herwich celebrates his 50th birthday.

Born in Oklahoma on the 1st of November 1959 in a family where music seemed to be part of the daily food; his grandmother played the organ in church and an uncle played trumpet in a traditional jazz band. Another uncle introduced him to modern jazz donating his record collection. Herwig studied at the North Texas State University, where he played in the trombone section of the college band. His first recordings were made in Dallas with that band, May 1980, the One O'Clock Jazz Lab Band. A year later he moved to New York where he played with Clark Terry and Buddy Rich. In 1983 he starts to play in the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, where he played with Brian Lynch ( trumpet), Frank Wess on alto saxophone and flute and, of course, with Lew Tabackin (tenor saxophone and flute) and Toshiko Akiyoshi (piano), who have married together since 1970.

Conrad Herwig ( North Sea Jazz Festival - Rotterdam July 2006) ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

He also played and recorded with the Mario Bauza / Paquito d'Rivera band in which Claudio Roditi was in the trumpet section. It's a small world, as I heard Claudio two weeks ago in a great concert in the Porgy en Bess Jazz club in Terneuzen (The Netherlands). Since the 1980s he's a sought after trombone player who is to be found in bands like Slide Hampton's, the Mingus Big Band and Joe Henderson.

Since the 1990s he performed regularly with Eddie Palmieri, next to Brian Lynch on trumpet.
It was with that orchestra, the Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribean All Stars, that I heard him for the very first time at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, July 2006. The photos, although of a very moderate quality, were made during that concert. During that performance he received the Paul Acket award Artist Deserving Wider Recogniton and I remember that I was fascinated by his trombone solos.

Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribean All Stars with Conrad Herwig as the first on the right. (North Sea Jazz Festival, July 2006) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
Conrad Herwig loves to play in the Afro-Latin tradition, like in the Eddie Palmieri band, but is also fascinated by the great John Coltrane.

He made a great album, titled The Latin Side of John Coltrane. Although he says he is fascinated by trombone players like Trummy Young, Carl Fontana, Frank Rosolino, Jay Jay Johnson, Slide Hampton and Albert Mangelsdorff it is hard to compare his playing with one of these giants. One of his latest albums, titled A Jones For Bones Tones ( what a great title ), is a tribute to some of these trombone players.
Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribean All Stars: f.l.t.r.: Brian Lynch - Eddie Palmieri - Giovanni Hidalgo - Donald Harrison - Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and Conrad Herwig ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
Conrad Herwig and Brian Lynch are playing together for a long time and they are involved in some of their projects, like the Latin side of Miles and in the Bryan Lynch/Palmieri project in which Conrad Herwig plays the trombone. The music is to be found on the Simpatico album, which can be downloaded from Brian Lynch's website.

To finish this short introduction to Conrad Herwig and his music, I love to share with you a weird film fragment I found made at the Trombonanza 2009 in Santa Fe (Argentina) on which a few dozen trombone players play together - a terrible sound, which learns that you shouldn’t want to play with so much trombones together ……. The fact that Conrad Herwig seems to be one of them, is fine as it is ………… Happy birthday, Conrad !!
Hans Koert

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Anonymous Free For all said...

Happy 50th Rad! Don't sweat it- it didn't hurt all that much.

You've done some very good work. Keep it coming!

Feree for Al (Florida - USA)
(Organissimo Jazz forum)

6:32 PM  

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