Max Weinberg blew into E’ville on this night to play guru to the UE Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Timothy Zipher. The 17 piece group is the current pride of the UE music department and was definitely up to the task when the performance commenced.
This was another fine event sponsored the Patricia H. Snyder (PHS) Concert Series. The late Ms. Snyder and her family are long time contributors to the University of Evansville and community arts and music. On this evening, the support was well received and much appreciated by the near capacity crowd at the Victory Theater. Because of the aforementioned generous support, this event was free and open to the public.
Max Weinberg’s pedigree is well known to most in attendance. Max Weinberg has combined a love for music into a career that has now spanned five decades. From a young aspiring drummer watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan to snagging the choice position as Springsteen’s E Street stickman, Max still has the awe and gratitude today that he surely had when Bruce gave him the nod back in 1974. Add to that his 17 year stint as the musical director on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and you have a career that is the envy of most in the business.
From kicking off the set with “Rat Race” to ending the concert with a rousing version of the Louis Prima classic, “Sing, Sing, Sing,” Weinberg gave a clinic to the musicians and audience alike. It was a fine performance. If there was such a thing, the only disappointing factor was that the first chair horn players never really cut loose with their parts. I don’t know if that was nerves or direction, but I would have like to see a bit more improvisation. I dare say it might hoe given Max a bit more room to breakout. If you ever get to see him with the Max Weinberg Big Band, you’ll know what I mean.
After the show, Weinberg gave a 25 minute talk about what music has meant to him and his family. Max’s son, Jay, has drummed with Springsteen and spent 2010 on tour with Mad Ball. He is currently the drummer with the punk rock group, Against Me! After the talk, Weinberg then took questions from the audience. He was very gracious and it was treat to hear someone with so much history and ability be that open and honest about himself and his career. Then, he was ushered to the lobby of the theater where the first 250 patrons, with a photo, got an autograph opportunity.
Thanks to the University of Evansville and the PHS Concert Series for a great evening. Also a big thanks to Paul Mattingly and WUEV 91.5 FM for a great interview with Max as the lead up to the event. This crustacean hopes that many more events like this one hits his rock!