Hal Miller – veteran drummer, jazz historian, producer of the “Jazz Icons” DVD series, longtime pal of Carlos Santana and one of the nicest guys in Nippertown – certainly knows musical talent when he sees it.
So when Hal says that Gina Schwarz is the real deal, well, who are we to doubt him?
“A few years ago while on tour with Santana, drummer Dennis Chambers and I popped into a small jazz club across the street from our hotel in Vienna,” Hal recalls. “We were astounded to discover a pretty good jazz quartet with an outstanding bassist named Gina Schwarz. We called back to the hotel and pretty soon just about the entire Santana Band was in the club checking out the band-or more specifically, bassist Gina Schwarz. Before the night had ended most of us had sat in with the band.
“I’ve followed Gina’s career since that time and established a nice friendship. Each year we go back to Vienna, Dennis and I make a point to find out where Gina is playing. She’s coming to the U.S. for a few weeks in May in part to negotiate a recording/management contract. She pretty much insisted that we play again notwithstanding my legitimate protests that she’s now out of my league as a jazz player. Anyway, I’ll be dusting off my jazz chops and making a rare Albany jazz appearance at Justin’s (justinsonlark.com) at 9 pm Thursday, May 14 in a trio with Gina and pianist Sumi Tonooka (who’s been piling up the credits as a member of bassist Rufus Reid’s trio).”