Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Five Questions with Max Wellman

Max Wellman is getting ready for his Home For The Holidays show on December 21st, which will be his 4th annual holiday concert featuring some our region’s top jazz performers.  The night will feature a return of Chris Ford to the stage along with Tina Hasse Findlay.  During a week of preparation and rehearsals, Max took some time to provide us with more insight into the event.

1) How will this year’s Home For The Holidays compare to your previous seasons?

max-wellmanFor one, this year’s show is a one-night-only event. Instead of spreading out different performers over several nights & mixing up the set, we’re blowing the top off of the concert in one evening. We’ve added several new songs to the show to spruce it up a bit, & I’m also looking forward to performing at Wooly’s, as it offers that perfect combination of intimacy & professional staging. 

2) You’ve performed big, one-night only shows before.  Describe the emotion and adrenaline leading up to it.

The adrenaline is there with any performance that I do, but these shows are always a bit more emotional for me. One of the reasons I’ve done ‘Home for the Holidays’ on a multiple-show basis in the past is that I don’t like to see it go by so fast! It takes a lot of time & effort to put this show together & it’s harder to bask in the final product if you do it in one night only. On the other hand, it offers a chance to just put it all out there on one night & go for the big splash, which is fun. 

3) Your 6 piece jazz band will be directed by Dave Rezek, a well known jazz musician who has re-established himself in Des Moines. What has it been like working with him?

My collaboration w/ Dave Rezek is one of my favorite things about my work & career to this point. I was very lucky to work with him when I first started & I’m honored every time he agrees to partner with me for another show. It is a special thing to see him stretch out a bit & arrange songs for this extremely talented band… I’m just happy to sing with all of them. 

4) Saturday’s concert will also be the release of  “You Must Believe In Spring“.  What should your listeners be ready for on this new album?

This album definitely offers a completely different sound from past projects. It blends my background of classical music & the world of jazz & standards. It sounds a little pretentious, but I promise you it’s just beautiful music spun in a different way. If you like the American Songbook or if you like classical chamber music, you’re going to love this album. It’s a wonderful recording to sit down & truly listen to. 

5) Any last minute advice for people coming out for the show?

If you’re on the fence about going, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot. This is a chance to hear some of the most talented jazz musicians (people like Mr. Rezek, Robert Espe, Steve Charlson, & many others) in the state sit back & do their thing in a pretty accessible format. It’s a great way to truly support a local, independent production where musicians in your own community are getting paid to do what they love & share it with the community at large. 

Tickets starting at $22 for General Admission are still available at