As a freelance musician while living in Copenhagen Denmark, Zurich Switzerland and extended stays in Munich Germany I performed at venues throughout Europe for over 40 years. Tivoli Gardens, in Copenhagen Denmark, The Jazz Café and Ronnie Scotts in London, the New Morning and the L‘Olympia Theater in Paris are a few that come to mind. Travel was easy and not quite the challenge it is today.
Growing up in New York I was accustom to playing at the small venues like CBGB, The Knitting Factory, The Bottom Line, The Village Gate all in Lower Manhattan where Jazz, Rock and Soul were on the menu 24-7. I was also fortunate to play at Carnegie Hall, Philharmonic Hall uptown and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Touring also took me to many music festivals around the world like Philadelphia’s Outsiders Improvised and Creative Music Festival, Cannes Music festival, South By Southwest, Austin City Limits and the International Jazz festival Saalfelden in the Alps of Austria.
I had the unique opportunity to headline and open for acts like The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Bryan Adams, Dire Straits and others. Once while on the tour bus after a gig in Edinburgh Scotland, country singer songwriter Steve Forbert said to me, “Abe, I like you, you don’t get to up for the good gigs and you don’t get to down on the shitty gigs.” For me, it was always important to be versatile at my craft, from experimental music, soul, jazz, rock ‘n roll and country.
Back in the U.S. I started working with the cabaret singer Helen Schneider turned me on to the music of Stephen Sondheim, Edith Piaf and the American Songbook. It was this music that encouraged me to put together my own trio as a leader to perform jazz standards written by American composers Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern and many others, songs that are widely known by listeners and still rank among the most recorded standards of all time. Along with the composers/musicians of the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance, one of the most significant intellectual and artistic trends of the twentieth century American history, the Harlem Renaissance impacted art, literature and music in a manner that forever altered the American cultural landscape. As the history buff I am, this music told the story of America, jazz is our classical music; It’s sound of New York, it’s me.
TV / Film
King of New York
HBO Richard Belzer
One Lone Nut