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Martin Wind Quartet: My Astorian Queen (Laika)

A review of the bassist-led quartet's loving tribute to place and partner

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Martin Wind Quartet: My Astorian Queen
The cover of My Astorian Queen by Martin Wind

Martin Wind’s life was changed irrevocably upon his arrival in New York. While testing the waters and surveying the scene during a stateside visit in 1995, it took less than 24 hours for the German-born bassist to meet the woman whom he would later marry. After he made the move there the following year, both the city and an evolving relationship would become nurturing constants for his artistry. Now, a quarter-century later, Wind pays loving tribute to place and partner with My Astorian Queen.

Teaming with three close colleagues—multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, pianist Bill Mays, and drummer Matt Wilson—Wind reminisces in style. The cheery swing of Thad Jones’ “Mean What You Say” recalls the bassist’s first performance with the storied Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. “Solitude”—a wistful Wind original, not the Ellington standard—speaks to a longing for his hometown of Flensburg, which was amplified during the COVID-19 lockdown. Mays’ patient “Peace Waltz,” showcasing some gorgeous arco work and highlighting the rapport between bassist and pianist, underscores the respect that Wind has for a man who’s served as matchmaker, mentor, friend, and bandmate. And the title track—an expression of love from husband to wife—takes a tender look at the neighborhood where the happy couple first shared living space.

Foregrounding himself without ever overplaying his hand(s), Wind makes his way through nine numbers that offer a 360-degree view of his remarkable skill set. The rest of this seasoned crew matches him at every stop. Robinson, whether wielding a clarinet, saxophone, or trumpet, is always in the zone; Mays puts his million-dollar touch to excellent use; and Wilson operates with characteristic taste and class. New York, New York is a hell of a town, and the Martin Wind Quartet won’t let us forget it.

Learn more about My Astorian Queen on Amazon & Apple Music!

Martin Wind: Light Blue (Laika)

Chops: Scott Robinson Is Married to His Saxophone

Bill Mays: Mays’ Days

Matt Wilson: Utility Player

Dan Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky has been involved in jazz journalism for 15 years. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, JAZZed, and All About Jazz, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on Red, Capri, HighNote/Savant, Ropeadope, and other respected imprints. A band director with 20 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.