Friday, May 11, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts invites you to our final concert of this year’s Black Box Jazz Series. This performance features the music of composer and guitarist Joe Mailhot, with Scott Reed on tenor saxophone, bassist Erich Hahn, Dylan Johnson on drums, and keyboardist Craig Hoyer.
Mailhot draws from styles ranging among modern jazz, funk, soul, free and psychedelic. His original compositions are inspired by jazz masters like John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Albert Ayler and The Art Ensemble of Chicago as well as by modern European composers like Pendercki, Crumb, and Stravinsky. Come and travel to musical soundscapes bombastic, tender, wild, beautiful, brilliant and dark. It’s not about the music but where the music takes you.
Born in Olympia, WA, Mailhot began his musical life as a violinist under the tutelage of Ian Edlund establishing a firm foundation of musicianship at North Thurston High School. As a teen he began to play guitar composing and playing with friends from school. Searching for a more expressive palette of musical colors he studied jazz guitar with Tim Eicholt. In 1982 he moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University and began to play in the Jazz Studies program under the direction of Syd Potter. Here he was able to form and lead small Jazz Combos every quarter. Professor Potter encouraged creative thinking in his classes and among the requirements for the student Jazz Combos was to perform original compositions. This inspired Mailhot to begin composing music for his Jazz Combo, The Mailhotia Unit, which inevitably led to studying composition with Dr, Edwin LaBounty for four years, which gave him the opportunity to write for a variety of instrumental groupings brass, woodwinds, and strings as well as percussion, harp, and vocalists. While at WWU Mailhot took guitar lessons from Milo Petersen.
After graduating from WWU, Mailhot moved back to Olympia to teach mathematics at St. Martin’s University. He taught composition classes and led jazz ensembles there in addition to his duties as a mathematics professor. While participating in the jam sessions that were held at the old Rainbow Restaurant he met saxophonist Steve Munger and drummer Donnelle Baldwin. With Baldwin he formed his first Olympia group: The Mailhotia Unit, which performed Mailhot’s original compositions at various Olympia jazz spots like the Rainbow Restaurant and Barb’s Soul Food. The Mailhotia Unit included longtime Olympia musicians such as Lee Mohler, Terri Preston, Ann Lindquist and Martin Johnson.
In 1994 Mailhot formed a new group, Acid Rainbow, with fellow SMU mathematician Lee Mohler on trumpet and Scott Reed on clarinet and tenor. At the same time he formed a trio with Nancy Curtis on flute and violinist Charles Attwood to perform his music for a smaller ensemble. Acid Rainbow grew to a quintet and eventually included Donnelle Baldwin on drums, trumpeter Drew Gibbs and Nancy Curtis on flute and alto, and later still Dan Blunk on tenor. Other bands that Mailhot was a member of at this time were The Makedonians, Love Bug and Hot Set Swing and he led a Parade Unit for the Procession of the Species. His compositions were performed by The Olympia Flute Choir and the Olympia Chamber Orchestra. In 2000, Mailhot formed The Carlysle Group, which included vocalist Holly Graham, spoken word artist Charles Adler, Barry Caldwell on Flugelhorn, flautist Kimberly Madson and Brad Gibson on drums. The Carlysle Group, played Mailhot’s compositions and arrangements and featured an anti-war message. Mailhot felt that Olympia’s marketplace of ideas needed a rhythmic boost and this was his contribution.
During his time in Olympia, Mailhot has played in groups led by several of Olympia’s best musicians including stints with Steve Munger, Johnny Lewis, Dan Blunk, Andy Ohmdahl, and Bert Wilson. He is currently writing for and performing with The Joe Mailhot Jazz Unit. Playing along with Mailhot is Ariel Calabria on tenor saxophone, Craig Hoyer on keyboards, bassist Erich Hahn, and Dylan Johnson on drums, The JMJU draws from styles ranging among modern jazz, funk, soul, free and psychedelic. Joe Mailhot’s original compositions are inspired by jazz masters like John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Albert Ayler and The Art Ensemble of Chicago as well as by modern European composers like Krzystzof Pendercki, George Crumb, and Igor Stravinsky. His work travels to musical soundscapes bombastic, tender, wild, beautiful, brilliant and dark. It’s not about the music but where the music takes you.
Join Joe Mailhot, Scott Reed, Erich Hahn, Dylan Johnson, and Craig Hoyer at the Washington Center’s black box Friday, May 11 for this season’s final Black Box Jazz concert. The music starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets are available online at washingtoncenter.org or through the box office at 360-753-8586.