Infinite Distances: A Memorial Concert for Peter Haidu

Event Off Sale: Tickets off sale. Please call 212-581-3080 for reservations.

Infinite Distances: A Memorial Concert for Peter Haidu

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm


Off Sale

There is a $10.00 food or drink minimum per person. Dinner is served between 5pm-1am.

Noah Haidu
Noah Haidu
Infinite Distances: A Memorial Concert for Peter Haidu

Noah Haidu- Piano

Jon Irabagon- Saxophones

Yasushi Nakamura- Acoustic Bass

John Davis Drums

This concert is dedicated to Peter Haidu, my father, who passed away on
February 7, 2017 just a few days before my latest CD, Infinite Distances
was about to be released. After cancelling my CD release events, I decided
to remake my Birdland CD release concert a tribute to my dad who introduced
me to jazz.

Jazz was something that my father, Peter Haidu, first shared with me. Over
the course of my life, he played me the music of Thelonious Monk, Ornette
Coleman, Ben Webster, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and so many others.
From a young age until just last year, we attended concerts together in
different cities by Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, B.B. King, Houston Person,
Horace Tapscott and so many more. As my own performing career developed, he
traveled across states, countries and continents to hear me. In this and in
so many ways he had a huge impact on my life.

My father and his mother Henia moved to New York City after a difficult
escape from Nazi-occupied France. My grandfather fought and died in World
War II as a prisoner of war after having joined the French Foreign Legion.
These events shaped my father’s professional and political life. As an
adult he became immersed in the civil rights movement and joined the
student occupation of Columbia University’s campus in 1968. Later as a
professor of medieval French literature he wrote and lectured frequently on
fascism, Jewish identity, oppression, and revolution, often through the
lens of the current political landscape. He was extremely upset about the
current administration.

Though my parents had split up when I was very young, when I was 15, I
lived with my father in Los Angeles for a year during a time when he was a
professor at UCLA. My interest in the guitar had taken hold and my dad was
very supportive but he sensed that piano was more important to me. We
tried out some teachers and though it was quite far from our home, my dad
found a community music school where I was able to study with New Orleans
saxophonist Harold Battiste (cousin of clarinetist Alvin Batiste) who had
moved to Los Angeles to write for film and TV (and was musical director for
Sonny & Cher). We traveled twice a week to lessons and classes with Mr.
Battiste, who pushed me towards jazz piano, inviting me to jam sessions
(though I wasn’t ready to hang at the time) and introducing me to the likes
of Eric Reed, Billy Childs, Nedra Wheeler and Wynton Marsalis.

At the time I was obsessed with blues guitar players. I remember one night
in L.A. when my dad took me to hear a concert featuring Buddy Guy and
Albert Collins. Hearing them live made a huge impression: the music was so
raw and powerful. I was young and it was late on a school night and there
was reefer everywhere but my dad and I were focused on the music which was
like nothing I’d ever heard before. I'll never forget the efforts he made
to expose me to the music I loved.

Another important concert I remember attending with him from my time in
L.A. was hearing Gene Harris and Ray Brown and Jeff Hamilton playing trio.
This band was one of the hardest swinging groups in the world, they also
connected my love of blues to my growing interest in jazz piano. After we
returned home late in the evening, I sat down at the piano and started
playing, inspired by what I’d heard that night. We lived in an apartment,
where there were neighbors on all sides and it didn’t take long before one
of them started yelling some choice words about my performance at the late
hour. I remember watching the anger bubbling over in my dad who walked
over to the window and yelled “***K **U!!!!!” at the top of his lungs, then
ordered me to get back to the piano and start playing again. By then I was
feeling less inspired so I declined at which point my dad opened every
window in the apartment and began blasting the most far-out, avant-garde
record in his collection, unrecognizable to me and our neighbors as music,
as loud as the stereo could go. It was awful but even as I was hiding out
in my room waiting for it to end, I knew my dad was standing up for me and
for the music, letting the neighbors know not to even think about
complaining about my piano, which they never did again.

As my interest turned more specifically to jazz piano, I heard more of that
around the house from my father’s record collection. One recording he kept
playing for me was Keith Jarrett’s The Koln Concert. It didn’t make an
impression on me right away, at the time I told my dad it just sounded like
new age piano. But eight years ago, after living in Paris for a time, my
dad moved to Brooklyn and we again began to attend concerts together
again. He took me to hear a Keith Jarrett solo concert at Carnegie Hall
and we were spellbound. After that I started buying tickets for us to hear
Keith whenever he was in the area. I was also glad that my dad was nearby
after many years of us living far apart. He got to be nearby when my
daughter Tessa was born seven years ago and he took great pleasure in
watching her grow up.

Last December he called me to tell me he had tickets for us to hear Keith
in February at Carnegie Hall and told me he didn’t know if he’d be around
for the concert. His health was quickly deteriorating. He sadly passed away
one week before the show. I’ll never forget those concerts with my dad. He
was my entryway into this music. I believe his mother had a long-term
boyfriend who first played jazz records for him when he was a teenager. It
wasn’t just jazz. He would also play me lots of classical music over the
years: most mornings started with Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier; and he took
me to any rock concerts I wanted to hear; he also played me world music,
percussion music, computer-generated music, much more then I could possible
name or recall.

My dad taught me a great deal by example: he gave himself to his work every
day of his life, teaching and writing with great intensity until this past
December when he took ill. But everything about him was intense: his
relationships, his emotions, his politics, his intellect and his love for
music and art.

Last September I dedicated my third CD to my father. I suspected that it
would be the last of my recordings that he would get to hear. I called it
Infinite Distances. This was based on a quotation by German writer Rainer
Maria Rilke that Branford Marsalis had once recounted to me by phone when I
was interviewing him for my Masters thesis. “Once the realization is
accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances
continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in
loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see
the other whole against the sky.” This title and the idea behind the quote
applies to a lot of relationships in our lives. I wasn’t necessarily
thinking about my dad when I named the album, but it does have a certain
fitting quality. I like the idea that even though we lived far apart for
long stretches during my life and even though we were much closer over the
past eight years, I always felt incredibly close to him – in large part
through our bond in music.

I never imagined I would lose my dad the very week my CD was to be
released. As much as I knew that he had wanted me to go on and play I
couldn’t perform during the days after he died. My Birdland concert will
now be on April 16. I can’t think of a more fitting way to remember him
than by playing my music in such a storied club as Birdland, which has been
filled with the history of this music. Each and every concert I played he
looked forward to with great relish.

Please join me on April 16 at Birdland for Infinite Distances: A Memorial
Concert for Peter Haidu.