WBGO Blog
  • 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.

     

  • Ed Thigpen at 77

    December 28, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Ed Thigpen

    Drummer Ed Thigpen has lived in Denmark since the early 70s, but we haven't forgotten him stateside. Especially given the recent death of Oscar Peterson. Thigpen recorded more than 50 records as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio, but not very many as a leader.

    In 1966, though, he made a record for Verve called OUT OF THE STORM. Not a lot of music here, and Thigpen doesn't solo much, but it's still worth checking out. At the time, Thigpen had recently left the Oscar Peterson trio. Trumpeter Clark Terry adds some mouthpiece-only solos for an nice effect. Thigpen plays tuned drums that sound like tympani at times. Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, and Ron Carter round out the date. Give it a listen.

    The last time I saw Ed Thigpen, he was teaching kids at a percussion clinic in New Orleans. As you can imagine, there were a symphony of drummers in attendance (which, in retrospect, is pretty easy for a rhythm town like NOLA). It was just around the time that he won a Humanitarian Award at the International Association for Jazz Education conference.

    That seems fitting. He's a beautiful cat, and a tremendous educator. And for the record, he's a hell of a wire brush player.

    Happy Birthday, Ed Thigpen.

    Ed Thigpen