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Jack Martin (part 1)

December 20, 2010

I woke up this morning around 10am after getting in around 5am.  I was supposed to be meeting up with Jack today.  Honestly, I was tired and thought for a moment about rescheduling.  I know Jack would have totally understood but I really looked forward to meeting up with him.  I called him up and he had already been up for a few hours.  I grabbed some coffee for us on the way over to his house.  When I arrived at his place it was everything that I imagined it would be.  A wall of vinyl records greeted me as I walked in.  Cool and eclectic furniture .  Jazz music filled the apartment.  Jack was playing music on his computer that served as a great backdrop for our sunday morning conversation. Jack has this cool presence about him.  I have known him for probably, I want to say two years.   If anybody knows him they know that he has this cool style about him that only Jack can pull off and make look cool.  He is a music man that belongs on stage.   Jack started playing music at 16, originally from Newwark, NJ.  He moved to New York and was playing in a band by the time he was 18.  “You look over the river and its like the Emerald City.  It looked like the Wizard of Oz.  I wanted to get to that point”.
During the time of bands like Sonic Youth Jack was listening to David Bowie and Hank Williams.  He didn’t really start taking lessons or learning music until he moved to New Orleans a few years later.  “I moved to New Orleans and every mother fucker had a guitar under his bed”.  He realized at that point that he better step it up and hone his craft.  Jacks guitar playing for me is artistic.  I feel like every time you see him play its going to be something different.  He’s going to paint a different picture.  “I think I had a book of dos and don’ts of guitar playing, I lost the dos sometime ago.  I listen to mostly sax players and  a lot of Thelonious Monk so I think all that stuff forms what I do.  The way I feel about guitar playing, being a musician at all is, its just another language.  Sheet music is written language.  Everybody can read music.  Sit down and take the time.  Music is the one area of my life that I think I’ve been the most honest. In some ways I feel like I’m not a traditional jazz and blues player, because what’s the way to be most traditional….fuck shit up, you know what I mean.”   Living in New York had a definite impact on Jack.  Soaking in the music scene there with everything he had.  “What I do is definitely filtered through New York City”.  As the music played in Jacks apartment he goes into these stories of the musicians and bands he had played with over the years.  Introducing them to me with a song.  Jack talked about this one viola player named Dylan Willemsa that went to Juilliard and he quit because he was worried about being a slave to the black dots or  losing his drunken fingers. Jack talks for a moment about moving to New Orleans with a girl named Pandora, a fire breather in the circus.  He points to a post card size picture of her on the wall in his kitchen.  She was a beautiful woman.  Memories of his past that remind him of his life.  Memories and experiences that make a man and fuels his art.   After living in New Orleans for 2-3 years he received a phone call from a band he used to play with saying that they were opening up for Mudhoney.  They asked him to come back.  ” I came from playing these little tiny gigs in New Orleans to going back to New York playing a sold out show at the Bowery.  From there I was on tour with this band constantly”.   Jack was starting to create a name for himself.


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