Lewis Winn Who Flies With The Wind

Hallowed ground: In that vacant spot between buildings was 115 1/2 West Gold where the Master of Time & Space Lester Young's father Billy opened his Young's Music Store 1928-1929 the years Lester was playing the territories with Art Bronson -- Lester was in & out of Albuquerque 1928-1930 -- At age 19 he married his Beatrice here in Albuquerque on February 23, 1930 (I've always thought it telling that Dante's muse was Beatrice) -- Shortly thereafter Beatrice & Lester moved on to Minneapolis and Lester then joined the Blue Devils and into history -- At the end of the street is the train station/bus depot on 1st Street and the nearby environs where the Black train porters settled, the population of Blacks in Albuquerque 1930 census was 441 out of a total population of 26,570 (*from Douglas Henry Daniels bio on Lester) And from Rex Stewart's book we learn that when Ben Webster lived with the Young family and played in the family band (Billy got Ben off piano and onto tenor and taught him to read) that summer of probably 1930 while the gang was swimming in the Rio Grande that Lester would have drowned if it wasn't for Ben saving him from an early curtain. (Albuquerque didn't start growing until after WWII.)

Hallowed ground: In that vacant spot between buildings was 115 1/2 West Gold where the Master of Time & Space Lester Young’s father Billy opened his Young’s Music Store 1928-1929 the years Lester was playing the territories with Art Bronson — Lester was in & out of Albuquerque 1928-1930 — At age 19 he married his Beatrice here in Albuquerque on February 23, 1930 (I’ve always thought it telling that Dante’s muse was Beatrice) — Shortly thereafter Beatrice & Lester moved on to Minneapolis and Lester then joined the Blue Devils and into history — At the end of the street is the train station/bus depot on 1st Street and the nearby environs where the Black train porters settled, the population of Blacks in Albuquerque 1930 census was 441 out of a total population of 26,570 (*from Douglas Henry Daniels bio on Lester) And from Rex Stewart’s book we learn that when Ben Webster lived with the Young family and played in the family band (Billy got Ben off piano and onto tenor and taught him to read) that summer of probably 1930 while the gang was swimming in the Rio Grande that Lester would have drowned if it wasn’t for Ben saving him from an early curtain. (Albuquerque didn’t start growing until after WWII.)

The Thursday Jazz Radio Show

July 21, 2o16 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

Lewis Winn Who Flies With The Wind

I remember one time at the Albuquerque Museum on a gig backing a singer Lewis Winn went to the mike as he was changing guitars and said, “Every once in awhile a man must strap on a Stratocaster” as he put away his Gibson. He also surprised me many years ago (20?) when I had stumbled upon the recordings of Okie madman bop western swing guitar speed demon Jimmie Rivers who was active in the crazy Okie bars of California in the early 60s — Lewis was already down on Jimmie Rivers, way ahead of me. Lewis Winn will be our guest on the Thursday Jazz Radio Show today and he’s bringing his “experimental group,” a trio that he’s been workshopping for five years (back when I was momentarily a TV host for a cable music show Lewis brought this trio — I’ve never seen the footage, not sure they aired it, maybe Lewis fried their system? — we seem to recall it was 2o12). This trio has a gig for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop at Albuquerque Museum Amphitheater Saturday July 23 so this will be a little taste of what’s to come. I asked Lewis what guitars he was using: “Still undecided on weapons for this concert but for the air I’ll prolly bring an archtop.” Lewis’s first guitar was a Stella Harmony, growing up in Montana. His bio: “Born in McCall, Idaho, Sept 18, 1955. We moved to various places in Utah and Wyoming for the next few years then several years in Ogden, Utah, until finally moving to Missoula in ’66.” The trio is Jon McMillan, bass, and John Bartlit, drums, a solid outfit, both veterans of the New Mexico scene. Lewis moved to New Mexico in 1980, lived the first three years in Santa Fe, and has been in Albuquerque ever since. They will be performing Live on the KUNM radio in the control room with yours truly at the dials, so don’t bother telephoning not unless you want to hear me talking on the telephone while they’re playing. It could be like a modernist thing: one-sided telephone conversation versus jamming trio. I asked Lewis what the compositional approaches were for the trio and how much improvisation figures into the mix: “We blow without parameters or discussion and we compose, that’s what we do.”

Lewis Winn solo session at KUNM Studio A -- March 28, 2o11 -- I had been after Lewis to commit to a solo session for a couple years, and he wasn't exactly against the notion, but it took some persistence (that's what producers do best) because, as Lewis explains, he is more accustomed to interacting with other musicians than playing solo, but this session produced masterful renditions of jazz standards -- photo by Mark Weber -- Lewis is playing his Eastman 805 w/ a new Quilter amp

Lewis Winn solo session at KUNM Studio A — March 28, 2o11 — I had been after Lewis to commit to a solo session for a couple years, and he wasn’t exactly against the notion, but it took some persistence (that’s what producers do best) because, as Lewis explains, he is more accustomed to interacting with other musicians than playing solo, but this session produced masterful renditions of jazz standards — photo by Mark Weber — Lewis is playing his Eastman 805 w/ a new Quilter amp

Michael Olivola and Lewis Winn gig on Central Avenue (Rt.66) at Bumblebee Bob's Baja Grill in Albuquerque -- July 25, 2008 -- photo by Mark Weber ---- When saxophonist Nick Lyons was visiting from NYC I took him to hear the Patti Littlefield Group and afterwards I said What do you think? and he said "Who's that guitarist?" and I said That's Lewis Winn, too much, huh? and Nick said, "Yeh, wow, very intuitional."

Michael Olivola and Lewis Winn gig on Central Avenue (Rt.66) at Bumblebee Bob’s Baja Grill in Albuquerque — July 25, 2008 — photo by Mark Weber —- When saxophonist Nick Lyons was visiting from NYC I took him to hear the Patti Littlefield Group and afterwards I said What do you think? and he said “Who’s that guitarist?” and I said That’s Lewis Winn, too much, huh? and Nick said, “Yeh, wow, very intuitional.”

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet -- Lewis Winn, guitar; Paul Gonzales, trumpet; Jon Gagan, bass; Kanoa, tenor; Cal Haines, drums; and even though this is a quintet they had guest on piano from Santa Fe the incomparable Bob Fox -- December 11, 1995 -- photo by Mark Weber

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet — Lewis Winn, guitar; Paul Gonzales, trumpet; Jon Gagan, bass; Kanoa, tenor; Cal Haines, drums; and even though this is a quintet they had guest on piano from Santa Fe the incomparable Bob Fox — December 11, 1995 — photo by Mark Weber

Look how young everyone looks -- whew -- Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet -- December 11, 1995 -- photo by Mark Weber -- That's KUNM Monday jazz host Paul Gonzales on trumpet, as always

Look how young everyone looks — whew — Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet — December 11, 1995 — photo by Mark Weber — That’s KUNM Monday jazz host Paul Gonzales on trumpet, as always

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet -- December 11, 1995 -- photo by Mark Weber

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet — December 11, 1995 — photo by Mark Weber

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet -- December 11, 1995 -- photo by Mark Weber -- These guys are still active on the New Mexico scene in all kinds of musical situations

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Quintet — December 11, 1995 — photo by Mark Weber — These guys are still active on the New Mexico scene in all kinds of musical situations

When you think of the underlying forces and tidal movements that shape a guitarist like Lewis, as with any artist, it can be complicated, all the developments and changes in society that move at different rates, the interactions, discontinuities, wyrd, economic considerations, quantification is so nearly impossible that it would be easier to believe in astrology, even as the moon is certainly an influence -- When I was born (1953) the shadow of the great cataclysm known as World War 2 was only eight years past and this shadow influenced much, having come on the heels of the Dust Bowl Migration and the Great Depression, the shadow was cast large, then there's the population explosion now known as the Baby Boom which rode a wave of optimism and social change -- Still, despite the complexities of understanding an artist's place in all this, you could narrow it down in Lewis's case to: The Sixties, where it seemed possibilities were at every turn, endless things to investigate, the Era of LP vinyl record, innocence, we were gloriously naive -- A couple years ago I mentioned something to Lewis about the Allman Brothers and by way of response he pulled out his compact phone and played "Trouble No More" that he keeps close, as a touchstone, to remind him how the world began ---- Photo & line drawing by Mark Weber -- March 28, 2o11

When you think of the underlying forces and tidal movements that shape a guitarist like Lewis, as with any artist, it can be complicated, all the developments and changes in society that move at different rates, the interactions, discontinuities, wyrd, economic considerations, quantification is so nearly impossible that it would be easier to believe in astrology, even as the moon is certainly an influence — When I was born (1953) the shadow of the great cataclysm known as World War 2 was only eight years past and this shadow influenced much, having come on the heels of the Dust Bowl Migration and the Great Depression, the shadow was cast large, then there’s the population explosion now known as the Baby Boom which rode a wave of optimism and social change — Still, despite the complexities of understanding an artist’s place in all this, you could narrow it down in Lewis’s case to: The Sixties, where it seemed possibilities were at every turn, endless things to investigate, the Era of LP vinyl record, innocence, we were gloriously naive — A couple years ago I mentioned something to Lewis about the Allman Brothers and by way of response he pulled out his compact phone and played “Trouble No More” that he keeps close, as a touchstone, to remind him how the world began —- Photo & line drawing by Mark Weber — March 28, 2o11

Jon Gagan Quartet: Lewis Winn, guitar; Andrew Poling, drums; Jan Gagan, bass; Kanoa Kaluhiwa (tenor) -- November 9, 1998 Outpost -- photo by Mark Weber -- It would be interesting to know, after all the years Lewis has been studying guitar and teaching guitar if he has winnowed down the guitarists that have had the most impact on him -- who are his pantheon?

Jon Gagan Quartet: Lewis Winn, guitar; Andrew Poling, drums; Jan Gagan, bass; Kanoa Kaluhiwa (tenor) — November 9, 1998 Outpost — photo by Mark Weber — It would be interesting to know, after all the years Lewis has been studying guitar and teaching guitar if he has winnowed down the guitarists that have had the most impact on him — who are his pantheon?

Real Time Quartet at old Outpost -- October 7, 1996 -- Kanoa Kaluhiwa (tenor), John Bartlit (drums), David Parlato (subbing on bass for Mark Tatum), Lewis Winn (guitar) -- photo by Mark Weber (Cal Haines was the original drummer in this band but he moved to Southern California just before this photo was taken, to take a job with Rockwell in Newport Beach for ten years) Lewis is one of those guys if the note he's looking for isn't on the guitar he just reaches up in the middle of a solo and de-tunes until he finds it (usually a low note): blarng, blaaaaarng, narng. He's also the guy that told me that our front porch wind chimes is Gmaj7+13dim4 or some such chord (I forgot which) Of all the musicians that have been in & out of Studio 725 he's the only one who has point that out.

Real Time Quartet at old Outpost — October 7, 1996 — Kanoa Kaluhiwa (tenor), John Bartlit (drums), David Parlato (subbing on bass for Mark Tatum), Lewis Winn (guitar) — photo by Mark Weber (Cal Haines was the original drummer in this band but he moved to Southern California just before this photo was taken, to take a job with Rockwell in Newport Beach for ten years) Lewis is one of those guys if the note he’s looking for isn’t on the guitar he just reaches up in the middle of a solo and de-tunes until he finds it (usually a low note): blarng, blaaaaarng, narng. He’s also the guy that told me that our front porch wind chimes is Gmaj7+13dim4 or some such chord (I forgot which) Of all the musicians that have been in & out of Studio 725 he’s the only one who has point that out.

These guys had a long-standing duo scene in New Mexico: Lewis Winn & Jon Gagan -- old Outpost Performance Space -- June 16, 1997 -- photo by Mark Weber

These guys had a long-standing duo scene in New Mexico: Lewis Winn & Jon Gagan — old Outpost Performance Space — June 16, 1997 — photo by Mark Weber

 Chris Allen on his Musser vibraphone and Lewis Winn on his 1958 Gibson ES-335TD -- May 1, 1998 Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque -- photo by Mark Weber

Chris Allen on his Musser vibraphone and Lewis Winn on his 1958 Gibson ES-335TD — May 1, 1998 Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque — photo by Mark Weber

Another great guitarist: Tom McFarland Blues Band -- August 13, 1977 -- McLaren Park, San Francisco Blues Festival -- photo by Mark Weber -- This concert knocked me out, and then the same year he came through Los Angeles with Otis Rush and killed me, again -- These years he was based out of Oakland, California, but had grown up in Oregon and had done a lot of playing in Portland and Seattle before moving down to Frisco in 1973 -- died age 59 on September 3, 2004 -- His cousin was Gary McFarland the arranger who also died young in a mishap -- This concert he played such soulful slowed-down versions of songs that came out the next year on his only album TRAVELIN' WITH THE BLUES (Arhoolie)

Another great guitarist: Tom McFarland Blues Band — August 13, 1977 — McLaren Park, San Francisco Blues Festival — photo by Mark Weber — This concert knocked me out, and then the same year he came through Los Angeles with Otis Rush and killed me, again — These years he was based out of Oakland, California, but had grown up in Oregon and had done a lot of playing in Portland and Seattle before moving down to Frisco in 1973 — died age 59 on September 3, 2004 — His cousin was Gary McFarland the arranger who also died young in a mishap — This concert he played such soulful slowed-down versions of songs that came out the next year on his only album TRAVELIN’ WITH THE BLUES (Arhoolie)

The Blue Guitars show at the Smithsonian, Washington DC -- March 12, 1998 -- photo by Mark Weber

The Blue Guitars show at the Smithsonian, Washington DC — March 12, 1998 — photo by Mark Weber

Who are these two old geezers? Well, that's Lewis Winn getting in touch with his inner Cro-Magnon and the other guy is esteemed member of Outpost Board of Directors Lynn Slade -- April 9, 2015 -- photo by Mark Weber

Who are these two old geezers? Well, that’s Lewis Winn getting in touch with his inner Cro-Magnon and the other guy is esteemed member of Outpost Board of Directors Lynn Slade — April 9, 2015 — photo by Mark Weber

10 Comments

  1. As usual, a wonderful, positive-minded article … I found this on your “main (Maine) subject”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JwUYT7rG1s
    I thought some other readers might like to put a sound with the words … Thank you, Mark

  2. Lewis tells me he’s decided to use a Telecaster at this Saturday’s (July 23) performance —— other notable Fender Telecaster players that come to mind: Albert Collins, Ed Bickert, and Duane Allman

  3. Not sure what manner of brain degradation caused me to say that Duane Allman played the Telecaster? Everybody’s grandma knows he played the Les Paul. (By the way, have you ever hoisted a Les Paul? those mothers must weigh 20 pounds — they say the density helps the resonance.) What we really know the Telecaster for is with country music in California in the 60s, especially those cats in Bakersfield, like Don Rich with Buck Owens. Hell, Jimmie Rivers probably played Telecaster.

  4. Dug the Lester Young info on his Albuquerque days and the photo with its old urban feel, also the blue guitars photo, I only ever played the harmonica (bad dodecaphonic, ask Gerry Locklin) but instruments are magic things broken in by tongues and lips and fingers and souls

  5. Billy the Celloist

    July 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    so fortunate to have played with both Lester, Ben, and Gary McFarland (who died from drinking a Manhattan laced with Methadone at Beefsteak Charlie’s, the NYC working-musicians lunchroom)….was good to be young, willing, and a decent bass player in NYC in the 50s and early 60s. Ben had an old photo in his tenor case of himself and Pres playing in the Young Family Band …they looked like teenagers.

  6. Holy WOW, Billy, you played with Lester Young? Tell us more. He’s the guiding spirit of my radio show. I got to hold his saxophone, once, that is stashed at Institute of Jazz Studies/Newark. I’ll tell that story some other time.

    Meanwhile,
    Check out Lewis and this trio of his > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jalb-6B894s

    I asked Lewis: Is this trio w/ McMillan & Bartlit called Right About Now?
    LW: Yep. As if in answer to the cosmic question, “When?” Or, perhaps more mundane “When did you compose that piece?” or even, “When will it get good?”

    NOTE: The A-Alive film taping session was August 19, 2o13 (see YouTube above) and the first concert this band gave was August 8 at Outpost.

  7. Frame 28658 ———– Tom McFarland Trio ——– those guys are possibly the same who are on
    Tom’s Arhoolie album: Bobby Broadhead, drums, and Steve Ehrmann, bass ——— I’ll do some more
    research . . . .

  8. ————————————–playlist———————————–
    July 21, 2o16
    KUNM Albuquerque
    FLIES WITH THE WIND jazz radio show
    Guests: Lewis Winn (archtop guitar: Eastman 810); Jon McMillan (upright bass),
    John Bartlit (drums) trio called Right About now
    Host MARK WEBER

    1. Jimmie Rivers & the Cherokees circa 1962 featuring Vance Terry (steel) “Slow Boat to China”
    cd BRISBANE BOP (Joaquin Records)
    2. Right About Now — Live in-studio — spontaneous improvisation
    3. Tom McFarland trio “Travelin’ with the Blues” — 1978 — (where I ask Lewis what that chord
    is and he figures it out purely by ear — not touching his guitar — tells me “That’s the Jimi
    Hendrix chord: 7 #9 — in this case the B7#9)
    4. Right About Now — Live — play a half-hour set
    * “Somewhere Warm”
    * “Good Save”
    * “Marbles in the Dark”
    * “Power Outing”
    5. Barney Kessel “Gone with the Wind” –6aug56 cd MUSIC TO LISTEN TO BARNEY KESSEL BY (Contemporary)
    6. John Pisano & Lee Ritenour “Whisper Not” –12aug94 cd CONVERSATION PIECES (Pablo)
    7. Hal McKusick “Lydian Lullaby” — 3march56 cd THE JAZZ WORKSHOP (RCA)

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