Tag Archives: “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall

It’s A Small Jazz World

John Stowell is a noted jazz guitarist.

He’s performed around the world — including, in 1983, the Soviet Union’s first public jazz performance in 40 years. Stowell has also been artist-in-residence at schools in Germany, Indonesia, Argentina, the US and Canada.

He recorded with Lionel Hampton. He appeared on BET Jazz Discovery. His “Through the Looking  Glass” LP was chosen as one of the Best Jazz Albums of the Decade by the Los Angeles Examiner.

John Stowell

Greg Wall — “The Jazz Rabbi,” and a world-renowned saxophonist — knew all of that when he asked Stowell to join him this Thursday (December 5), for 2 shows at Pearl at Longshore (6:30 and 8:15 p.m.).

One thing Wall did not know, though: Stowell is a 1968 graduate of Staples High School.

The connection came out as they chatted. Though Stowell — who now lives in Portland, Oregon — still has many friends in the area, and visits once or twice a year, he has not played here in at least 40 years.

Despite his pedigree, Stowell is not a product of the Westport schools’ famed music program. He came late to jazz — after Staples. He studied with, and was mentored by, John Mehegan and Linc Chamberland.

He left Fairfield County in 1974, for New York. Two years later, he headed to the West Coast.

Stowell looks forward to playing in Westport — and meeting Wall. They’ll be joined by 7-time Grammy-winning bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Rogerio Boccato.

Neither of whom — as far as we know — has a local connection. Besides, that is, bringing cool jazz music to a very cool venue.

Greg Wall, the Jazz Rabbi.

Play It Again, 323!

Last month, “06880” reported on a piano plea from 323.

Music lovers at the North Main Street restaurant hoped to raise $11,000 to buy a piano. The one used for 323’s popular Thursday night jazz series — lent by Beit  Chaverim Synagogue (through their leader, Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall) — was not up to the job.

This was not just any piano, mind you. It was a fine 1937 Steinway “M” — from New York’s legendary Village Gate. For decades beginning in 1958, it was played by greats like Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Ahmad McCoy Tyner, Erroll Garner, Nina Simone and Sun Ra.

Would jazz lovers an hour from the city pony up the cash to give it a second life in Westport?

Yes! The deal has been closed. The new piano is already safely in its new home, right near the bar.

Steinway's classic piano, in its new 323 home.

Steinway’s classic piano, in its new 323 home.

The official welcome show is this Thursday (May 19, 7:30 p.m.). It’s billed as “Chris Coogan Meets the Jazz Rabbi.” All are welcome.

The fine print: The newly formed Jazz Society of Fairfield County has not yet raised the full amount. An interest-free loan from an anonymous jazz lover will tide them over for a few days. They  hope to reach their goal this week, and start a fund for periodic maintenance, regulation and tuning. Contributions can be made via PayPal (click here). For other arrangements, email JazzRabbi@gmail.com. For 323’s Jazz Series Facebook page, click here.