Musician - April 2008
: Noah Peterson
and soprano saxophones
Music was always something my family did growing up. My Dad was a band director
in Billings, Montana which is where I'm from. Music was never pushed on us. Dad
played sax, Mom played a little sax, her grandfather played sax, I'm like a
third generation sax player but I started on trumpet because my brothers played
trumpet. I basically got into music because of the movie “The Blues Brothers”
and I guess inadvertently Curtis Salgado who inspired them. In the film I saw
John Lee Hooker play “Boom, Boom, Boom”, after that I picked up Hooker's album of the same name, plus “Moanin' the
Blues” and started my record collection. I then got into funk stuff and heard
Maceo Parker play, got into Bootsy Collins, the Horny Horns and then Michael
Brecker. So I picked up a couple of his records and now I'm a jazz fan.
After high school I attended the Armed Forces School of
Music and served in the Marine Field Band at “29 Palms” California (the largest
(15,000) Marine base). We did 400 shows a year..big band, combo, played pop
music, played tons of Sousa and lots of British and German marches. We'd have
Disney composers come in and want to run through their stuff for upcoming
movies. Got to do the Bob Hope 90th anniversary special...met some
former wife is from Portland, so that's why I moved here. In 1994 I studied at
Marylhurst College (now University) and put together a band called “Miles
Ahead.” This was my first band. I worked that band hard for eight
years. We were a five piece modern jazz group who wrote a lot of our own
material. Music is something I must do, music is something I have to do. I find the business aspect just as fascinating
if not more fascinating than the nature of jazz. I love putting gigs together,
putting tours together, I enjoy the music business. Today, it's just Noah
Peterson in duos, trios, quartet, soul-tet, quintet, etc. Last year I did 240
shows and used about 40 sub-contractors (local musicians).
When I hire, I practice reverse ageism: unless you're over
50, I probably don't want to play with you. The attitude is better, the chops
are outstanding, they've got a catalog, they're going to show up on time,
they're going to be well-dressed, they're going to know how to talk to people,
the gear's going to work, etc. I'm pretty careful about how I put my bands
together. I have some set ideas about this. I'll use the gut string guys when
an amp is not needed but when you need a big bad sound I'll go with the guy who
has a good amp. Being a producer as well, I spend a lot of time really
listening ... I know whose equipment
sounds good and where it's going to sound good in what room. I have a BA in
Music from Marylhurst University.
Disc Jockey: I'm
one of the disc jockeys at Portland's college radio station, KPSU 1450 AM. You
pretty much have to be downtown to hear it. We broadcast directly in the
evenings and weekends. We're going for the on-line audience. On my show, “NW
Jazz and More,” I only play Northwest jazz artists. I think we have high
quality artists in the Northwest, and my thing is to promote jazz in the
Northwest. Look at these current guys who are actively working and touring
right now. I'm looking to promote those who are very serious about their work.
I'm on from 10 a.m. to noon Monday at KPSU.ORG. Oregon, Washington, Idaho,
Montana, Wyoming and British Columbia are where I draw from. I've toured around
enough so I know people in the region, or the people I know, know everybody.
You can download the show, it's archived.
I love rock guitarists: John Fogerty, John Lee Hooker, George Thorogood and his
sax player Hank “Hurricane” Carter; I love Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley; I'm a
big fan of Ivan “Boogoloo Joe” Jones (guitarist), and John McLaughlin. I also
like Ravi Shankar, the vocal group Zap Mama, Bootsy Collins, and George
Experience: In some ways, yeah there's been a few highlights (like the CDs
I've done), but thinking about it, I'm not even close to the high point yet. My
“Live at Biddy McGraw's” was a Downbeat “Featured CD,” so that works. All of the
recordings I've done that I've actively marketed have received airplay from
around the country, that's pretty satisfying. A few years ago was when I was
visiting my brother in San Diego, and we turned on the radio and boom, there I
was. One of my records got a four-star rating from the National Radio
Association of Spain. One time the Canadian CBC put together a Peterson thing
and linked Oscar Peterson with Gilles Petersen and me. That's good
Dexter Gordon, “Our Man in Paris”; Hank Mobley's “Soulstation”; Bootsy Collins “Live”; Creedence Clearwater
Revival, “Keep on Chooglin'”; Devin Phillips, “Wade in the Water,” one of the
better records to come out of Portland, kudos to Darrell Grant for the
production; and Anthony Braxton's “For Alto”.
a firm believer that CDs should be complete works ... they need to have a
beginning, middle and end. They need to have a particular sound. My CDs
include: “Miles Ahead: Milepost 1” (2000); “Miles Ahead: Live at the Zebra
Cocktail Lounge” (recorded in Bozeman, MT, 2001); “Grunglefunk” (2002); “The Noah Peterson
Quartet: Live at Biddy McGraw's” (mentioned in Downbeat, 2003); “Noah Peterson: Bump” (2006); “Noah Peterson:
Duos & Trios” (2007); and “Noah Peterson: Live at Marylhurst Drive” (2007).
Gigs: April 12, 4
pm, Enumclaw Concert Series, Enumclaw, Washington; April 18, 8 pm, Jimmy Mak's,
Portland, a fundraiser for KPSU featuring four NW bands: “Cosmic Dust Fusion
Band” w/John Nastos, Chris Mosley, Charlie Doggett; guitarist Frank Tribble
will be putting a band together with Skip Elliott on bass; jazz singer Carla
Harris will be there; and the “Noah Peterson Soul-Tet” with Alan Jones, Dave
Captein, and Eli Reisman will end the night ($15 cover -- all proceeds go to
Future Plans: My
future plans are to focus on my jazz combos and my art ensemble, “The Infinitia
Art Ensemble.” I want to spend more time composing originals and pursuing
investors to make more great records.
I'd like to promote my label and current catalog and start producing
more great, original NW jazz.
Other: I'm at a
point in my career where I'm done selling beer ... I'm writing more of my own
stuff and am really enjoying the concerts.
Portland is a great town to be a musician.
-- by Rita Rega