I had a fascinating conversation with Harold Mabern last weekend in conjunction with the pianist's appearance at the Jazz Standard in mid-January as part of the George Coleman quartet. He's been a regular in Coleman's band for more than 30 years - and they went to high school together in Memphis. Mabern's comments will be a feature profile in HotHouse magazine's January issue. I will post a link when the article is available online.
Suffice it to say, Mabern had much to say - too much, in fact, for the space allotted. One interesting gem: his 9-year-old granddaughter, Maya, who lives in California but will be in metropolitan New York for the holidays, has been a voracious student of the piano since about 3. I wonder where she gets that from? If she has a question about something piano-related, she call's now and then, and Harold will put his own phone on speakerphone, and walk her through the challenge. And something I find most unusual for any 9-year-old today. Mabern said his granddaughter is into stride and boogie-woogie.
Mabern, 73, also seems to be a fixture in former student Eric Alexander's regular band... and is prominent in Eric's new CD, Revival of the Fittest, on High Note. The CD has been in heavy rotation on my player over the past four days. It too goes full circle, with the opening track being George Coleman's tune Revival."
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