WBGO Blog
  • Topsy Turvey: Bebop Redux a la Matt Wilson via Lost Jazz Shrines

    June 1, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Last Friday night, I attended and loved this concert at the Borough of Manhattan Community College! The music had roots, it left them behind, it was a generous night.

    Musical Director Matt Wilson calls the music "pre-bop," small group material from the 1940s by Neal Hefti, John Lewis, John Kirby, Tiny Grimes, Tiny Kahn, NEW arrangements for the occasion by Oded Lev-Ari. Matt assembled an improbable and wonderful band, below. Each player projected, each piece was a gem. Coming out of intermission, Matt gave us a "collision of songs," "a mashup," from an affecting trio arrangement of his "No Outerwear" (a/k/a "Out of Nowhere" and maybe "OON" is written on "Honeysuckle Rose?" .. help me here) to surprise walk on's by the rest of the group, vocalizing; things progressed unpredictably from there. If only I'd taken some legible notes. The smaller theater at BMCC worked beautifully for this; I saw Vijay's hands at work better than ever I've seen them before. Photos of 52nd Street a/k/a Swing Street were the backdrop.

    Lost Jazz Shrines is Willard Jenkins' continuing series, and this Spring is the first time Willard has brought in a Musical Director. On Friday, June 3, see conguero Candido -- born in Havana, came to NY in 1946 -- with Matt's quintet Arts & Crafts. I wish we were recording these great nights for JazzSet!

    L to R: Vijay Iyer, Curtis Fowlkes, Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap, Tia Fuller, Jeff Lederer, drummer Matt Wilson at the BMCC Tribeca PAC .. photo by Nathan Turner for the Litchfield Jazz Festival
    L to R: Vijay Iyer, Curtis Fowlkes, Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap, Tia Fuller, Jeff Lederer, drummer Matt Wilson at the BMCC Tribeca PAC .. photo by Nathan Turner for the Litchfield Jazz Festival

    Luckily I was sitting near a good photographer! BTW, Matt Wilson is also the Artist-in-Residence at this summer’s Litchfield Jazz Festival in Kent, CT.

  • A Tribute to Abbey Lincoln at the Kennedy Center

    May 23, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    UPDATE: Read the review from The Washington Post here. Critic Mike Joyce tells you about THE BAND! And there's a good photo. BP

    On Friday night at the Mary Lou Williams Festival in Washington, DC, four daughters of Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010) opened her songbook together, for the first time.

    Bridgewater, Carrington, Wilson, Reeves backstage after the show .. photo by BP

    This was a dynamic concert, and generous too. More than five hundred people in the Terrace Theater concentrated on the artists onstage concentrating on words and music that came from Abbey Lincoln's own concentration. We felt the loss of her, and newly appreciated the gift she left us.

    Read more

  • Joshua Redman at the Portland Jazz Festival

    February 28, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    Add new comment | Filed under: concerts
    Photo by Daniel Shen
    Photo by Daniel Shen

    This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

    On Sunday afternoon, Joshua Redman led one of the Portland Jazz Festival's final engagements alongside a phenomenal rhythm section that featured Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Penman on bass and Eric Harland on drums. Their set was everything that jazz audiences have come to expect from Redman's music these days: a virtuosic, energetic and beautiful tour de force that showcased the immense talent of all four musicians.

    Although all four musicians have collaborated extensively in different configurations, Redman told the audience that this was one of their first actual gigs together. They played at least one composition by each of the musicians -- although this was certainly Redman's gig, he took pains to share the spotlight with each of his bandmates. Read more