A Houston House of Jazz

By Carl Glatzel, Editor

An unassuming mid-century bungalow in southwest Houston holds a jazz horde to be reckoned with. Local musician, photographer and jazz aficionado, Lindy Pollard, has turned his small but tasteful home into a living jazz museum. Some 5,000 titles grace his walls in custom-built shelving installed by the owner and his brother. Upon entering this treasure trove a visitor is oftentimes overwhelmed at the sheer volume. His collection spans decades as well as formats. Pollard will occasionally spin an LP but the bulk of his collection is of the compact disc variety. As neat and precise as the surroundings with its modern appointments, each album is arranged alphabetically by artist and is easily accessible. Pollard is quite literally ensconced in jazz whenever he sits to listen to one of his recordings or play with his cats. Seven-foot tall, vintage Klipsch speakers anchor his living room and offer a surround sound experience to be coveted by any audiophile. It’s safe to say this Houston native will never run out of things to listen to. His musical tastes run the gamut, from Brazilian jazz to vintage ECM releases to hard bop staples. Row upon row of out-of-print and rare releases sit waiting for an eager listener to happen by. Just standing amidst the volumes makes a jazzophile feel anxious.

Upon entering this treasure trove a visitor is oftentimes overwhelmed at the sheer volume.

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Pollard’s dining room, one of many rooms surrounded by his massive collection.

Having grown up in the 50s Pollard has held such virtuosos as Paul Desmond and Sonny Stitt in high regard. As we talked about the artists that fill his walls, he fondly remembers attending a Paul Desmond concert as a young sax student back in 1963. He recalls racing a classmate backstage to grab one of Desmond’s used reeds — one man’s treasure. His enthusiasm for jazz hasn’t wained one bit over the years. Having so many titles at his disposal helps to maintain a learning environment. “There’s always something new on a recording you haven’t heard before,” Pollard points out.

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Agharta, 1975. Miles Davis is a staple in Pollard’s collection.

Aside from being a long-standing Bayou City multi-reedist Pollard is also an accomplished jazz photographer and graphic artist. Boasting several hundred originals, he has attended countless venues showcasing some of the most notable icons in the history of the genre. Many images catch artists in candid and even reflective poses. Artists such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Duke Ellington are only some of the mainstays you’ll see in his portfolio. His love for the artform is apparent in his attention to detail — each shot a special moment in jazz history. His photos have been exhibited at local galleries over the years to much acclaim. As of recent, Pollard has taken up nature photography as well. With trips to state parks, and even to his own backyard, he has begun to fill new photo albums with his boyish love of nature.

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Despite being ensconced by CDs, Pollard still likes to spin vinyl.

Having visited this personal jazz vault several times over the years I never tire at slowly perusing the titles, wishing today’s circumstances would still allow me to do the same at local retail outlets—those were the days.

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Jazz Remembered

By Carl Glatzel, Editor

Back in 2000 I was given the opportunity to head up art direction for Deer Mountain Records, a Houston-based startup jazz label. Houston’s own Paul English was artistic director and principal performer and I was freelancing full time, trying to find as many jazz-related design gigs as possible. These were great days, when live jazz performances were still a cause for celebration at the historic Warwick Hotel in Houston’s Museum District — a sophisticated venue for equally-sophisticated music. Jazz aficionados and novices alike would gather and hang on every note of Paul’s masterful improvisations and Brennan Nase’s intimate double bass solos.

Most projects kept me in Houston, chasing down Paul and his collective group of artists with my friend and photographer, Ignacio Gonzalez, at different local venues.

After sitting down with Paul and his business partners I knew what was expected of me and soon my days (and nights) would be consumed with branding Deer Mountain Records. Most projects kept me in Houston, chasing down Paul and his collective group of artists with my friend and photographer, Ignacio Gonzalez, at different local venues. Other projects would take me on the road. One such project took me down the Texas Gulf Coast to direct a photo shoot at the Corpus Christi Jazz Festival, where chance would have me meet two saxophone greats.

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Dennis Dotson and Dave Liebman reviewing charts.

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Paul was booked to play at the festival with his group, but he also planned on cutting some live material with Dave Liebman and Ed Calle at a hole-in-the-wall studio nearby. Liebman and Calle were performing at the festival with their own traveling bands. My wife and I were tasked with offering a ride to Ed Calle to and from the festival, giving us a chance to talk about music and life on the road with a giant on the international jazz scene. Once at the studio I finally met Dave Liebman, a true living legend and a gentleman. Being a longtime fan and having listened to Liebman grace Miles Davis’ electric recordings, among others, I felt as if I already knew him. Being in that studio was a rare chance to witness what it takes to cut a world-class jazz performance — a chance to see virtuosos with amazing chops warm up, get loose and get to know each other musically. Incredible blowing like I’ve never witnessed before — Liebman, Calle and Houston’s Dennis Dotson on trumpet. Dennis, who held his own magnificently, stole the show with jaw-dropping solos. Bright, brassy and note-perfect passages immediately eliciting comparisons to Hubbard’s finer moments by everybody in the engineering booth. And as we worked around performers and studio equipment to achieve each perfectly-framed shot, Ignacio and I couldn’t help but smile with the knowledge of how special this all was.

Being in that studio was a rare chance to witness what it takes to cut a world-class jazz performance — a chance to see virtuosos with amazing chops warm up, get loose and get to know each other musically.

The night was capped off with a brisk walk down the street and a late dinner at a local dive, offering up even more conversation, laughter and camaraderie. And photos throughout all of this, capturing and preserving great memories for one art director’s all-too-quick brush with greatness.


All photography by Ignacio Gonzalez.


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