April 2010


Played the ASCAP Expo ’songwriters in-the-round’ show last night in Hollywood. Nichelle Monroe sang with me and played percussion. She is great. She has got it ALL going! Talent and charisma. This was our first time singing together live. There will be more. The above pictures are from a show she did last summer.

So much fun to get out and perform and meet people. Thanks to all who came up to say hello afterwards, and thanks to Billy Steinberg, Robert Ellis Orrall and Steve Diamond for their candid stories and heartfelt performances.
To hear Billy Steinberg’s folk renditions of “Like A Virgin” and “I Touch Myself” was worth the price of admission, not to mention the roof lifting off the place with his tender performance of “True Colors.”


April 5, 2010 New York Times
Mike Zwerin, a jazz trombonist and bass trumpeter who became a prominent jazz critic and author, died on April 2 in Paris, where he lived, after a long illness. He was 79.

I picked up The New York Times the other day and saw that Mike has passed. It startled me. I thought we would all live forever, and it still doesn’t register that we won’t. Or perhaps, as my friend Brian Cullman says, “maybe we each have a different definition of “forever.”
I was playing in Paris with my friend Leni Stern and Brian suggested I call Mike. Mike was an expatriate music journalist in Paris, who wrote for the Herald Tribune. What a great guy. We met for a drink near the club, New Morning, where I was playing. He had a lot of history in his soul and on his face. Our meeting was brief, but part of the beauty of the circus world that is the world of the traveling musician, is the brief but beautiful encounters along the way. Mike was a fixture there. I assumed we would meet again.
It was a fun gig for me. The drummer was the great Dennis Chambers, John McLaughlin was backstage, along with lovely french girls, and french guys smoking Gauloises. I played lap steel and sang some blues and jazz standards. After the show we took a walk and found something to eat from a street vendor, late in the night, or actually, it was early in the morning. Paris. I could’ve stayed there forever, but my son was just a few months old and I couldn’t wait to get back home.
I won’t be seeing Mike again, not in this life. God bless him wherever he is.

The cause was a blood disease, his son, Ben, said.
When he was 18, nervously sitting in with Art Blakey’s group at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, Mr. Zwerin was noticed by the trumpeter Miles Davis, who complimented the young player and used him briefly in his influential nonet at the Royal Roost in Midtown Manhattan.
Mr. Zwerin later played with the big bands of Maynard Ferguson and Claude Thornhill. But it was as a critic and an author that he made his mark on jazz.
He was the jazz columnist for The Village Voice in New York from 1964 until 1969, then moved to Europe and served as that paper’s European editor until 1971. He also wrote for Rolling Stone and other magazines.
In 1979 he became a music critic for The International Herald Tribune in Paris, and in 2005 he became a music critic for Bloomberg News.
Mr. Zwerin also wrote several books about his own life in the world of jazz, most notably “Close Enough for Jazz” and “The Parisian Jazz Chronicles: An Improvisational Memoir.”
In his 1969 book, “The Silent Sound of Needles,” Mr. Zwerin wrote about his struggles with drug addiction. Using drugs was “part of the ethic of what I thought was being hip, which was really stupid,” he said in a 2005 interview with Bloomberg News. “When you’re that age, you’re immortal.”
Michael Zwerin was born in New York on May 18, 1930. He grew up in Forest Hills, Queens; went to the High School of Music and Art; and graduated from the University of Miami. He worked for his father at the Capitol Steel Corporation and became its president when his father died, though he continued to perform.
Music was his passion, especially jazz, and in 1964 he began writing about it.
Mr. Zwerin also wrote about the loneliness that can come with being an expatriate. In “The Parisian Jazz Chronicles,” writing about himself in the third person, he told his wife, Martine, that she “should sprinkle his ashes over the Atlantic.”
“He was an alienated American, a wandering Jew, a musician playing to empty houses on an endless foreign tour,” he wrote. “He was on permanent loan to Paris, like a painting in a museum.”
Beside his son, of Brooklyn, Mr. Zwerin is survived by his wife, Martine, and three daughters from his first marriage: Katie Hensler of Cocoa Beach, Fla., Laura Black of Miami and Donna Mosely of Long Island.

Saturday April 24th
Playing a few songs in the round at an ASCAP event.
5:30 - 6:45 pm

Round-Up: The Writers Jam
Grand Ballroom
Host: Brendan Okrent ASCAP 

Steve Diamond- Songwriter, Producer, Performer - “I Can Love You Like That,” “I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart,” “Let Me Let Go,” “Consider Me Gone,” “According To You”

Larry John McNally- Songwriter, Performer – “Nobody’s Girl,” “The Motown Song,” “For My Wedding,” “I Love To Watch A Woman Dance”

Robert Ellis Orrall- Songwriter, Producer, Performer - “From Here to Eternity,”Beautiful Eyes, “What’s It to You,” “Dancing In Circles”

Billy Steinberg- Songwriter, Performer - “Like A Virgin,” “True Colors,” “Eternal Flame,” “I’ll Stand By You”

There’s nothing more inspiring than to hear a master songwriter perform his or her own song. This group of some of modern music’s most successful songwriters will share the fascinating stories behind their work and will perform them live in a fun, stripped-down, in-the-round setting.

Thursday, April 22nd

For Earth Day I’m playing bass with my Columbian/American friend, Andres Ospina.
Great, fresh singer/songwriter music with spanish lyrics.

Andrés Ospina & band

4/22/2010 7:30 PM at TreePeople
12601 Mulholland Dr, Beverly Hills, California 90210

Cost: Free
Album release party for his debut album ’Buenaventura’