Carmel Magazine

Summer 2017

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Page 166 of 219

C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 7 165 Forman is also a dedicated educator. As if that weren't enough, he has recorded 17 albums as a leader, plus several with Cow Bop, the Western Swing band, a collaboration with his wife Pammy, aka "Pinto Pammy." Add to that a grueling travel schedule and you get a guy who's not around the house that much. He and Pammy make their home in the Carmel Valley property they purchased in 2001. "I lived in LA for years," For- man says. "Now I moved back here and I commute to LA. I love being here when I'm here." Forman was born in Mas- sachusetts, then lived in Dallas until moving with his mother to San Francisco at 13. He took clas- sical piano lessons, and got his first guitar as a pre-teen. As with many of his generation, his early influences were Bob Dylan and the Beatles. But then he met a kid who introduced him to the jazz of Charlie Parker. "That had a profound effect on me. It was like: 'Click!' I had to be a part of it," he recalls. "You can draw a straight line from that moment to this one." In 1971, there was a "pretty decent" jazz scene in San Francisco and Forman jumped in with both feet. "I would play any gig, anywhere, any time," he recalls. He had found his calling. "It's not just the music," he says. "It's the people I get to be next to. Unique, inventive, eccentric, eclectic…bril- liant nuts. And that manifests itself in their approach to music. The personalities of those who played the music sealed the deal." And the scene he came up in was one of tough love to a young musician. "When I star ted out, individuality wasn't just encouraged—it was demanded," Forman recalls. "If you tried to sound like someone else you were chastised. It was a beautiful learning experience." Forman has quite possibly invented a new form of entertainment with his one- man show "The Red Guitar." He wrote the libretto, loosely based on "The Red Violin" and "The Red Shoes," as a way to share what it's like to be a jazz musician. "I tr y to impar t an enter taining, hear tfelt idea of what it's like to be one of us," he says. It's just Forman onstage, armed only with his guitar and his sometimes profound, sometimes hilarious observations. He counts Mark Twain and Will Rogers as literary influences, "mostly He's a busy, in-demand guy who has recorded and/or performed with some of the greats, including Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson and Ray Brown. Cow Bop is Forman's foray into western swing music. "That genre has never been accepted as part of the traditional jazz world—except among musicians," he says. The band includes his wife Pammy on vocals. Photo: Kelli Uldall

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