WBGO Blog
  • One love!

    February 6, 2008

    Robert Nesta Marley was born on this day (Feb 6) in 1945 in Jamaica, W.I. His friends called him Bob. He died in 1981. Simple math will tell you that he barely got a chance to live. But the music he crammed into his 36 years will outlive all of us.

    If all you know about Bob Marley is "I shot the Sheriff," I urge you to dig deeper. The man was one of the most eloquent and sensitive songwriters ever. Whether he was singing about the oppression of hate or the deliverance of love, his lyrics were simply - true. Marley is Dylan is Lennon and McCartney is Jagger and Richards and then some. But, as hip as those cats were, they still couldn't break it down like Bob.

    "I-and-I no come to fight flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness in high and low places; so while they fight you down, stand firm and give Jah thanks and praises! I-and-I don't expect to be justified by the laws of men. Oh, You may find me guilty but truth, truth will prove my innocence. When the rain falls, it don't fall on one man's house. Just remember that!"

    You don't have to be a Rasta to dig that! Happy Birthday, Bob. This world misses you, bro. - David Cruz

  • Djangology

    January 23, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Django Reinhardt, everyone's favorite gypsy jazz guitarist, would have celebrated a birthday today. Check him out in this French/Italian film, La Route du bonheur (or Saluti baci e), a year before he died.

     

    Or, if you prefer the cartoon Django from The Triplets of Belleville...

     

    The Frenchmen all prefer what they call "le jazz hot." Formidable!
    -Josh Jackson

  • JJ Johnson

    January 22, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    We celebrate the late trombonist, J. J. Johnson. He would have been 84 today.
    Jazz people around the world are unanimous in their praise of the brass player and composer. Play on...

     

    - Josh Jackson

  • Sam Woodyard - Stompin' the Yard

    January 7, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    It's the birthday today of Sam Woodyard, one of the great drummers from Duke Ellington's Orchestra.

    Check out a killer solo from Sam Woodyard with Ellington, 1961.

     

    January seems to be a good month for drummers to join the world. This month alone, you'll find the birthdates of Kenny Clarke and Max Roach on the 9th and 10th (that's the bulk of bebop drums in two days). Then there's Grady Tate (1/14), Gene Krupa (1/15), and both Jeff "Tain" Watts and Jimmy Cobb on January 20th. - Josh

  • J-Lo is 55!

    December 29, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Joe Lovano, that is.

    It's Lovano's 55th birthday today, and he's celebrating it with a three-day run with his quintet at the Palazzo del Popolo in Orvieto, Italy. What a way to end a monumental year. Wish I could be there, since Italy's Umbria region is one of my favorite places to be, but I'll be spending my New Year's Eve at Jazz Standard, with Trio da Paz, Kenny Barron, and a great New York crew for NPR's Toast of the Nation (hope you'll be listening!).

    Incidentally, Toast of the Nation is where Lovano's 2007 began, as a member of the McCoy Tyner Quartet (bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts make four) at Yoshi's. You can hear the fruits of that week at Yoshi's on record.

    It's been such a banner year for Joe. Check out the video below. And when you see him again, raise a glass of my favorite Umbrian wine, Paolo Bea's Sagrantino de Montefalco, in honor of him.

    Happy birthday, Joe Lovano. You're a class act.