Jazz musician George Walker Petit has played with plenty of prominent musicians all over the world, but it was the Vermont music scene that recently called him back.
A producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Petit moved back to Stowe earlier this summer after nearly two decades running a recording studio in New York City.
Petit produced albums for other musicians as well as his own, including the latest, Emergence. He has engineered over 100 albums for the Who's Who in the jazz world, as well as worked with pop and blues artists. In 2010, he recorded the album Campo Belo by Anthony Wilson, guitarist for Diana Krall, and it garnered him a Grammy Award nod as the album's engineer.
Petit joined VPR to talk about his tenure playing with several Burlington-based bands in the early 1990s and says he is looking forward to finding and nurturing that communal spirit he says is missing from other bigger cities.
"It was great then. It's great now," Petit says of the Burlington-area music scene. He adds that musical landscape hasn't changed since the 1990s in that it is full of emerging and established artists of all genres.
"There were a lot of great bands around then like The Cuts or the N-Zones or Anne's Band, which I started at Metronome for Anne Rothwell for her club. ... Burlington is a good crucible for music. There is a really, really high quality of musicianship and personality in music up here," says Petit. "It was part of the reason I wanted to come back [to Vermont], to get out of the competition of a major urban setting, get back into playing with friends and in to a situation where people are actually listening to what you're playing and they enjoy it."
Of his decision to come back to Vermont to work, live and play, Petit says, "One of the things I missed most, besides fresh air, mountains and pace of life, was the sense of community that you have in this setting which is far more than you do in any urban setting. I wanted to be back in this vibe and play music with friends again."
Petit will still engineer and produce music from a new studio in Stowe. He is beginning a long-term residency at The Gryphon on Main Street in Burlington with his trio each Tuesday night at 8 p.m., beginning September 20.