Marsha Heydt and the Project of Love
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Marsha Heydt and the Project of Love

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MARSHA HEYDT/One Night: Candy Dulfer has been our main saxy lady for quite
sometime, but Heydt gets special coming out of nowhere points for her groove
packed cover of "Mercy Mercy Mercy" which la Dulfer has yet to flash her
chops on and is a proving ground for any swinging musician. Enough of an
ace to share space with aces like Grover Washington, Randy Brecker and
others, her updates on classics and standards will have you wondering where
she's been all your life. Tasty stuff you're sure to enjoy. - midwestrecord.com


Not many female sax players in her age, and she`s good
Kjell - radioholstebro.dk


Hey look......It's not like women can't play!! Marsha Heydt can certainly play. In fact, she's a flat out reed savant. Containing a lovely tone, she introduced me to her talent with her take on the eternal classic ''Green Dolphin Street.'' I'm blown away. Heydt 'sections' her pieces allowing for nice long ample space for improvisation. Her style is what I might classify as poppy or pastel, certainly assertive & authoritative. It's a very creative experience for any listener as she develops her musical ideas
for our edification.

There's a certain yearning quality implicit in her playing that is warming to one's sensibilities. All in all, this is a virtuoso that combines all the 'right stuff' contained in jazz rhythyms, tonalities, melody. harmony........Just outright
raw & viable music She's a keeper. - ejazznews.com


When reviewing music it's always a kick to discover something new, and an album coming out soon on the Blue Toucan label delivers a breath of fresh air in the person of Marsha Heydt. A talented saxophonist who is equally at home with the flute, hers might be an unfamiliar name to jazz lovers but her debut album, One Night, serves notice that she's someone to watch.

Her musical abilities have been honed by years of study followed by a decade of performing professionally on the New York jazz scene. During that time, she's worked with a number of established groups, including those of Bob Mintzer, Grover Washington, and Randy Brecker. She also made a recent appearance on David Letterman, sitting in with Paul Schaefer's group.

Marsha uses all her instrumental skills on this album, which includes a variety of tunes and styles. It's obvious she wanted her first album to show her versatility in jazz and there's a little bit of everything here, ranging from her arrangements of some standards to a few of her own compositions. She's joined by a group of solid pros, including Todd Schwartz on trumpet and pianist Norman Pors.

Marsha must have felt strongly enough about her own songs to open the album with one, "Good Feelin'," and it definitely gets us started with exactly that — a good feeling. It's a bouncy song with a Latin beat, and her solid sax tones duel Schwartz's trumpet to great effect.

She's also given a Latin treatment to Mancini's classic "Days Of Wine And Roses," and this track gives us the opportunity to hear Marsha's outstanding flute play. Her flute carries the melody too in "On Green Dolphin Street," one of my favorite jazz standards, with Pors' talented piano play taking a share of the spotlight.

She dips her toe into the contemporary jazz pool on a couple of tracks — first with another of her compositions, "One Night," and then the more familiar "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." Both songs had a soft R&B feel, smooth as silk.

One interesting choice to include on the album was the "Spartacus Love Theme," which is a haunting and familiar melody (if you've seen the movie recently). I've never heard it arranged and played by a jazz group but I must say that I liked it. Marsha took out her flute again for this one and carries the melody well, backed up nicely by Pors on piano. Very special.

One more little surprise occurs. It takes place on "I Want You To Know," as guest vocalist Carla Cook takes a singing turn, and her voice fits in well with the mood of the album.

Overall, a very good debut for Marsha Heydt and her group, and hopefully there will be more to come from this talented lady.

- blogcritics.org


On her debut release, Marsha Heydt displays a wide range of talent, adept on the woodwinds, as well as displaying a knack for creative songwriting. Her tone on alto has a Benny Carter warmth to it, and is suited well to mainstreams songs like “Well, You Needn’t” and “Mercy Mercy Mercy.” Her flute work on the lovely “Green Dolphin Street” is assured and relaxed. Her own songs, like the opening “Good Feelin’” and the title piece, have an infectious groove to them that sit well for soloists like guitar player Sheryl Bailey”. The more adventurous “Afrikaan’ has a buoyant feel to it that keeps you on your toes. A good opening act for a talented new artist.


- jazzweekly.com


There are several words to describe the debut recording by Marsha Heydt. Words like, flawless, effortless, polished and intoxicating. Thirteen selections on the album and not a bad one among the bunch, with styles ranging from Brazilian to 70's funk to straight ahead jazz and then back to the blues. Ms Heydt gives us some fine remakes of classic numbers such as "Georgia On My Mind" and "The Days of Wine and Roses" mixed in with several original compositions such as "Good Feelin", "One Night" and "I Want to Know You".

Given her upbringing in rural Pennsylvania Dutch Country, not exactly a hot bed of jazz to say the least, the lady quickly found her place in life by starting piano lessons when she was only five years old. Music was in the genes, her mother a gifted pianist in her own right, and played in the local church. After seeing Phil Woods play in nearby Reading Pennsylvania Heydt knew she had not only found her passion she had found the instrument by which to transmit that passion, the saxophone. She did not however limit herself to just that one instrument she has studied guitar as well as flute and clarinet as well as voice. This huge range of talent is clearly evident on the album One Night.

Each number stands well on its own but when taken as a whole the album is a tapestry of styles and emotions that deliver on the promise few can deliver, an album of comtemporary classics that never loose sight of where they came from.

There is one track whose title can make you wonder what was she thinking when she chose it . "The Love Theme from Spartacus". Images of Kirk Douglas spring to mind and the idea of a love theme can be a little hard to grasp. Well fear not, it is gorgeous number done with a touch of Brazil thrown in for good measure, it will quickly become a favorite.

On "Well U Needn't", Heydt and Todd Schwartz play Monk's number with real respect for the artist and the legacy. The standout number on the entire recording has to be the soulful recording of "Georgia On My Mind". Played with restrained emotion that builds slowly as the number progresses, it is a hit all over again. Ray Charles could not have done better on his best day. One Night by Marsha Heydt on Blue Toucan records, a stand out debut by an artist whose timehas come and we are the better for it.
- jazzreview.com


A variety of styles of music makes the CD definitely worth listening to. This is very true with Marsha Heydt’s CD entitled One Night. The CD starts out with Heydt’s own composition Good Feeling. Which shows her groove of a Latin beat. Dueling on both flute and sax, Marsha demonstrates excellent tones on the song Green Dolphin St.The song One Night, track 4 is my favorite tune. It does have that Grover Washington sound that she describes in her linear notes. Very 70’s.Her solos on this are melodic yet tasteful. Nice groove on Joe Zawinul’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. The drummer and bass player play very together without having a lot of added features.
I enjoyed very much the pick of different meters and the types of music, going from Latin, to traditional, to a nice funky blues feel. She has a wonderful rich soulful tone. Her band and she seem to compliment each other very well. She is in a league of her own. Heydt’s bio was quite impressive. Playing with artists such as Randy Brecker and even in a guest appearance with Paul Schaefer's band on the David Letterman show.

This whole CD is very laid back. This is a perfect CD for Sunday, by the pool or even listening in your favorite easy chair. You could say its smooth jazz at its finest. Again you will be delighted with the selection her music. It is mixed very well, with a slow tune then a fast then another slow. Her ballads have wonderful soothing strings. Heydt plays deep from her heart. She even plays a great rendition of Georgia on my Mind. The instrumental original tune that is called I Want to Know. Has again great melody, good passing chords with great solos. I give this 3 out of 5 on my Jazz-o-meter. - jazzreview.com


Allegro
Volume CXI No. 1
January, 2011

Heaven on Earth
Marsha Heydt's New York

by Todd Bryant Weeks



Marsha Heydt, a member of Local 802 since 2004, grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Allentown, in rural Pennsylvania.

As a youngster, Heydt studied piano, sax, flute, clarient, voice and guitar. Each year she was selected to participate in district and countywide festivals and played with local rock bands in high school. When she saw Phil Woods perform in nearby Reading, Penn., she knew that saxophone was what she would pursue in life.

Her music spans the gamut of Latin, funk, jazz, and rock. She has performed with Grover Washington, Bill Watrous, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, John Stubblefield and with Paul Shaffer in a guest appearance on the David Lettermans show.

In and around New York City, Marsha plays with her own ensemble, performing in both private and public venues. She also performs each month for recovering patients at NYU Hospital’s Rusk Institute.

Marsha works as a teaching artist for the Midori & Friends Foundation, where teachers won a Local 802 contract in 2002. (Marsha was on one of the negotiating committees.)

Her latest CD is "One Night" (2007), a mix of originals and standards. She has a busy performance schedule; her next date is at the Garage on Jan. 8 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For more background and more performance schedules, see www.MarshaHeydt.net.

Jazz rep Todd Bryant Weeks caught up with Marsha recently and was all ears.

Todd Bryant Weeks: I want to start with the story that you told me about your unscheduled appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" because it’s intriguing, and it’s also kind of silly.

Marsha Heydt: I was working at Sam Ash Music on West 48th, in the brass and woodwind store. And at that time I had been working there for about three years. And one afternoon these TV cameras appeared out in front. We didn’t know exactly what they were doing, but they were walking around, asking people "Could you say hello to David?" And everyone was kind of freaked out. So I asked "David who?" And they held up this black box and said, "David Letterman." And so I said, "Hello, David." I had a sopranino sax in my hand, and I tried to explain that it was the smallest instrument in the saxophone family. And the voice asked me if I played the saxophone, and I said I did. And the box proceeded to ask me if I would like to come on Late Night and play, and I said, "Sure." I’d played in a lot of different settings; I figured I could handle it. Funny thing is, that turned out to be my first union gig.

TBW: As an improvising musician, do you think it’s been more difficult for you as a woman than if you were a guy?

Heydt: I have always had to be very up on my game. Sexism is not as bad now as when I started, but it exists. Overall, I’ve worked with some really great people and I’ve learned a lot about my craft from both men and women.

TBW: How long have you been a bandleader?

Heydt: For ten years. I’m very serious about what I’m doing with my own music. And my own sound. Nowadays I’m calling the group Marsha Heydt and the Project of Love. Because we collaborate, and everyone contributes.

TBW: I want to know about the name "Project of Love."

Heydt: Well, first of all, my last name is "Heydt" [pronounced "hate"]. And being a teaching artist in New York City, I have to go under "Miss Marsha," instead of "Miss Heydt." Because children tend to pick up on that word.

TBW: Hate is a big word for kids.

Heydt: So that’s why it’s Marsha Heydt and the Project of Love.

TBW: Tell me about your music background.

Heydt: When I was ten years old, I wanted to play flute or clarinet, but my mother wanted me to play the saxophone. She wanted me to play the "Yakety Sax."

TBW: A la King Curtis?

Heydt: Well, yes. But it was inspired by the British comedian, Benny Hill. His show had a "Yakety Sax" theme to it. I still don’t play that tune. I remember my sister having friends over, and I’d be in my room practicing, and they would whisper, "What is she doing in there?" And my sister would say, "I don’t know. She sounds like a dying cow." ‘Cause I grew up in the country, see?

TBW: You actually know what a dying cow sounds like. You came to New York to be a musician?

Heydt: Yes, I went to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in performing jazz saxophone. I moved out to California, but I didn’t really feel like that’s where I wanted to plant myself. And I got in touch with an old college roommate, and I bought a one way ticket, and moved into her apartment up in the Bronx.

TBW: And when was that?

Heydt: That was in 1992. I started calling up all the music stores on 48th Street and asking, "Are you hiring, do you need help?" And I called up Sam Ash and somebody said "Yeah, we’re hiring."

TBW: How long did you work there?

Heydt: I worked there for seven years. At the same time I got introduced to the Merengue circuit. I was playing tenor.

TBW: You were playing in restaurants and clubs?

Heydt: They were clubs. And I was usually not understanding anything that was going on, because I didn’t speak the language. The only thing I had to know, really, was when to go up and play. And when to stop. I communicated mostly in sign language. Later I got my master’s at the Aaron Copeland Music School. I studied arranging with Roland Hanna.


TBW: Tell me about your work with Midori & Friends.

Heydt: I’ve worked there for seven years. I was on the negotiating committee.

TBW: You’ve always struck me as someone who is fairly outspoken when it came to getting your rights.

Heydt: Well, quite simply, you have to fight for what you want. As an artist and as a musician, I‘ve found that people will just try and walk all over you; expect you to work practically for free. There is no other industry where somebody comes in and says, "Thanks for your time. Here, you want a cookie? Here you go, see you later."

TBW: Most people in the jazz field are not unionized. Why is union membership important to you?

Heydt: Well, some of the guys in my band are non-union. And I’ve told them what it is I’m getting from membership. Besides helping with the job security and benefits, there’s just the camaraderie there. You can always find someone if you’re seeking some type of information. Plus this is a national thing; there are locals in every state. There are some other educational companies that I work for where I have discussed the issue of going union, and I find that musicians are very scared.

TBW: They don’t want to lose the gig.

Heydt: But going to staff meetings and hearing some of their issues, I want to say "If we were union, we wouldn’t be having these issues."

TBW: What about the music? You’re a very lyrical player.

Heydt: I grew up in the 1970’s, so I was listening to Grover Washington. And at that time I was studying with John Blake; he’s a jazz violinist from Philadelphia. Of course, I still listen to Miles, and Charlie Parker and David Sanborn.

TBW: So are you recording another CD?

Heydt: Getting ready. My goal for 2010 was to write 20 originals. I wrote ten.

TBW: Do you write on the piano or the saxophone?

Heydt: Both. The song "One Night," it’s silly to say, but it came to me "one night." I live over in Long Island City, where I can see the Manhattan skyline. I have this Indian flute, and I just go up on the roof and start playing. I’ll be up there, feeling the energy of the city, especially at night; the lights, the Empire State Building, the Queensborough Bridge. The number 7 train going by. It’s heaven.

TBW: You strike me as somebody who has always been able to put your best foot forward and start again if things don’t go your way.

Heydt: If I’m teaching or playing, to me the most important thing is if I can touch one person. That means a whole lot.

TBW: Have you ever had a teaching situation that was really difficult?

Heydt: Working with Midori & Friends, the foundation will sometimes get contracts that are in difficult areas. I taught in a school over in Weeksville, in Brooklyn, which is a very interesting place.

TBW: One of the oldest African American communities on the East Coast, I believe.

Heydt: Underground Railroad stop. Hillary Clinton visited there a couple years ago. That was really something. But a lot of people who live there are Section 8, and the schools are not good. I was teaching 6- and 7-year old children, and they were coming from crack addicted parents. For them, music was one of the only ways they could express themselves. And feel an emotion of love. Instead of just rage and frustration.

TBW: Was that early in your tenure with Midori?

Heydt: It was my first assignment. I was at that school for five years.

TBW: Before I forget, tell me how that Letterman gig went down? Did you end up playing on the show?

Heydt: I did. Once I agreed to go on the show, the camera crew said "OK, you have to come up here right now." So, I grabbed my saxophone and my bag. The next thing I knew, I was running through the streets with this woman who had a stopwatch in her hand. We made it to the Ed Sullivan Theater. So, as I’m panting, trying to get my breath, suddenly she says, "OK, go!" And then a door opened up, and I was running right into the house, which was filled with a live audience.

TBW: Right off the street.

Heydt: National television.

TBW: Had you any idea this would happen?

Heydt: Nope. They had me go right up on stage and Paul Shaffer greeted me and the band said hello.

TBW: What happened next?

Heydt: Paul asked me what would I like to play. And I said "Let’s play the blues." He said ‘Which blues?" And I said, "Let’s do ‘Straight No Chaser.’" So, after they did the Top Ten, I soloed on that tune. Throughout the show, David had me doing patter with Paul and the band, they had me playing on the commercial breaks. Then David interviewed me, asking me where I was from and all that.

TBW: So the show was on the air that night. Were you able to watch it?

Heydt: I watched it with my girlfriends and we were like, "Oh, my God." Because when something happens to you so spontaneously – I mean, yikes. And when the broadcast was over, the phone started ringing. My girlfriends called – my dentist called – I even got international long-distance calls from strangers. My mother had already called everybody under the sun, you see.

TBW: I saw it on YouTube and you seemed very calm under fire, a lot of poise.

Heydt: Well, you know, whatever it takes to make the gig.
- Allegro


Discography

CD released Oct. 2007
"One Night" Blue Toucan Records, Sony Red Distribution
All songs are on Pandoras Box, Rhapsody Music and YouTube.
A radio promotion campaign has been done throughout the US and Canada.

Photos

Bio

Marsha grew up in farm country on the outskirts of Allentown, PA in rural Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Her family came to the Philadelphia area in the mid 1700’s. From uncles who were soldiers battling slavery in the Civil War’s Bucktail Regiment to gypsy fortunetellers and artists living off the land that they farmed, Marsha’s lineage is far-reaching and rich.

The youngest of three children, Marsha began playing piano when she was five. Her mother, a gifted musician, was the local church pianist. In third grade, when given the opportunity to choose an instrument to study at school, her parents insisted on one instrument, the saxophone. Her mother had always loved the instrument and her parents felt that it would afford her the opportunity to play all the time with others.

But Marsha didn’t limit her studies to sax. She studied flute and clarinet, adding voice and guitar, while continuing her study of piano. Each year she was selected to participate in district and countywide festivals and played with local rock bands in high school. When she saw Phil Woods perform in nearby Reading, PA, Marsha knew then that saxophone was what she would pursue in life.

She continued lessons, studying classical saxophone with David Bilger and classical piano with his wife, Doreen Bilger. Awarded several prestigious scholarships, Marsha began her undergraduate work at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and was awarded a Bachelor of Music in 1991.

Marsha moved out to L.A. and began playing with contemporary jazz and rock musicians for the next year. By the following year, she felt beckoned by the east coast and bought a one-way ticket to New York City. She has been in New York since 1992 and may never give up her Manhattan views.

Marsha Heydt is an accomplished woodwind player whose stylistic expertise spans the gamut of Latin, Funk, Jazz and Rock. In addition to her Bachelor of Music from the University of the Arts, she holds a Masters in Music Education from the Aaron Copland School of Music.

She has studied privately with Ron Kerber, John Blake, Larry McKenna, Jim Pugh, John Stubblefield and Sir Roland Hanna. In June 2002, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Professional development Fund awarded her a grant to study with the renowned Jimmie Amadie. She is mentored on sax and flute by Eric Person and teaches at various prestigious private schools and music conservatories in New York City.

Marsha has shared the stage with Grover Washington, Bill Watrous, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, John Stubblefield, George Gee and his “Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra” and with Paul Schaefer in a guest appearance on The David Letterman Show.

In and around New York City, Marsha plays with her own ensemble, performing in both private and public venues. She performs each month for recovering patients at NYU Hospital’s Rusk Institute.

Marsha is both thrilled and grateful to share her debut CD, One Night on Blue Toucan Records.