Pianist brings listeners on a ‘wild’ jazz music ride

Dave Wild performs at Cultivate 7twelve Wednesday night. MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist

By JP Graham | Reporter

Cultivate 7twelve hosted one of Waco’s most established and respected jazz musicians, pianist Dave Wild, Wednesday night for a rare solo recital full of original pieces.

Curated by guitarist Chuck Jennings, Wild played for an hour and a half and only performed two cover songs. Cultivate 7twelve left the front door open and provided seating for the audience, allowing Wild’s talent to flow onto Austin Avenue and inviting intrigued passerby to step in.

Wild has been performing for over 45 years and has lived in places such as Michigan, San Juan and Los Angeles. He is also co-author of the award-winning discography “The John Coltrane Reference.” He recorded a CD with his brother in 2003 titled “Wild Sides,” contributed to The Grove Dictionary of Jazz and has written for jazz magazines such as Down Beat, Cadence and Signal to Noise.

Wild substantially contributed to jazz music because of his deep-rooted love for it.

“When I first started listening to jazz was probably in the ’50s, which will probably tell you how old I am,” Wild said.

Wild said he was intrigued by the jazz music accompanying TV shows, citing a period in the late 1950s when a slew of detective-themed series were becoming popular. “They all had jazz connected to them,” he said “That got me into the music.”

Wild said his love for jazz withstood the test of time, especially when jazz wasn’t in demand. He said his journey to jazz music was not like that of other musicians who are part of the culture today.

“I’m old enough to where there was no jazz band program in high school in the ’60s, it was like forbidden music,” Wild said. “I’ve run into that bias occasionally – ‘You’re not playing classical music, you can’t play in this auditorium.’”

In between playing, Wild and Jennings told of their experiences playing jazz music and discussed its differences compared to other art forms. Wild said he thinks jazz is an under appreciated art form and always has been. Jennings agreed, adding that he isn’t concerned over any disconnects between younger generations and jazz music.

“There’s always a disconnect between the general population,” he said. Jennings said those who are meant to play jazz music find it one way or another; to be in jazz, one must be able to appreciate those who have come before them and their ability to create.

“To be into [jazz music], you have to be into the history of it,” he said.

Both Wild and Jennings said John Coltrane was the decisive factor in falling in love with jazz music. Jennings shared the feeling he received when he was introduced to Coltrane’s work.

“A friend of mine played me John Coltrane’s, My Favorite Things, and that was it,” Jennings said. “That’s the closest I’ve ever had to a religious experience.”

Jennings and Wild play together on a weekly basis in Waco and surrounding areas. They often perform at Sinclair Restaurant, Klassy Glass and Waco Winery Tasting Room and Rooftop Patio. Wild and Jennings will be playing 8 to 11 p.m. Valentine’s Day at the Waco Winery Tasting Room and Rooftop Patio.