Santa Fe native JQ Whitcomb returns to NM with the band What the What

Santa Fe native JQ Whitcomb will perform at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe on Sunday, December 26. (Courtesy of Eduardo Patino NYC)

Editor’s Note: Venue Plus continues “In Case You Didn’t Know,” a weekly feature with fun information about New Mexicans and their plans.

Life is pretty crazy for JQ Whitcomb.

The Santa Fe native spends most of his time in New York City. But during the holiday season, he returns to New Mexico to do a few shows.

Its next performance will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 26 at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.

The trumpeter will perform with his group What the What, which also consists of Jon Gagan and Robby Rothschild. The event is called “Space to Dig”.

What the What is a jazz trio made up of Robby Rothschild, JQ Whitcomb and Jon Gagan.

“We’ve been together for a while,” Whitcomb says. “It’s a group of funk, world music, jazz. He mixes all these styles and we play a lot of original compositions by the band members. It’s trumpet, bass and percussion.

Whitcomb is happy to be back in New Mexico to perform.

“It’s so good to be able to play again,” he said. “In New York, things are much more open and there have been more opportunities. I am sad to see El Mesón closed for good. It was the main jazz venue in Santa Fe where musicians performed regularly. It’s quite a blow to the jazz scene here.

Whitcomb has been in New Mexico for almost a month and put on a show in Albuquerque in early December.

“I organized the CCA show specifically as a way to get What the What to perform,” he says. “It’s such a fun project to be involved. When we get together, it’s like magic. The three of us are constantly working on our own music. When we go on stage together, we let her go up.

What the What released an album in 2015 and Whitcomb is hoping the trio reunite to record another album.

“It’s been far too long,” he says. “We all worked on the music. “

As Whitcomb prepares for the next album with What the What, here are a few things you didn’t know about him:

  1. “I lived in China working as a jazz musician for 8 years.”
  2. “I am fluent in Mandarin. “
  3. “I’m working on (learning to speak) Portuguese and modern Greek now. “
  4. “I love to play board games with my family while on vacation.”
  5. “I spent the first part of the pandemic obsessing over identifying tree species from reading ‘The Overstory’.”

What what
With JQ Whitcomb, Jon Gagan, Robby Rothschild
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, December 26
OR: Tank Garage Contemporary Art Center / Muñoz Waxman Gallery, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe
HOW MANY: $ 20 at ccasantafe.org. Proof of vaccination or recent negative test result required in accordance with ACC policies.


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