WBGO Blog
  • FIJM: Long Live the Queen

    July 4, 2008. Posted by Thurston Briscoe.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM, Notes

    Aretha at FIJM

    My birthday gifts started last night when I went to a concert by Aretha Franklin here at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Backed by a big band, four singers, and two tambourine players (that's right), the Queen of Soul opened dramatically with a salute to Sly Stone. First it was the classic "I Want to Take you Higher" then "Dance to the Music". We were all on our feet.

    Next came a string of Aretha hits: "Natural Woman," "Think," "Chain of Fools." She introduced her son Teddy, featured on guitar at the beginning of "Chain of Fools." She finished the first half of her show with "Ain't No Way" and the soul and feminist anthem, "Respect".

    The second half of the show opened with Montreal Jazz Festival co-founder Andre Menard, who presented Aretha with the festival's prestigious Ella Fitzgerald Award, "in recognition of the range, versatility, originality of improvisation and quality of repertoire of an internationally recognized jazz singer."

    Aretha accepted the award with a version of an Ella favorite, "Somewhere Beyond the Sea".

    When she sat at the piano, Aretha moved the Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to the church with a spirited call and response that moved us into another of her hits, "Spirit in the Dark".

    Aretha talked to the audience during her show and said she hoped she had given us everything we wanted to hear. Then she treated us to a new gospel tinged ballad. I was not able to hear the name of the song, but the way she "SANG" made me think it might be her next hit. As the applause died down, someone in the crowd shouted "Long Live the Queen!" Aretha returned the gesture with her finale ... "Believe (in yourself)" ... from the musical "The Wiz".
    -Thurston Briscoe

  • FIJM Interview: McCoy Tyner

    July 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    McCoy Tyner and Michael Bourne

    Any time McCoy Tyner drops by is a good time. He visited Afternoon Jazz today, as we broadcast live from the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

    Listen to McCoy Tyner with Michael Bourne.

  • FIJM Interview: Christian Scott

    July 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    McCoy Tyner and Christian Scott

    This photo was taken by Rob Hayes from the Berklee College of Music. It's from today's rehearsal of the McCoy Tyner Big Band (aka Berklee College Jazz Orchestra) with guest soloist Christian Scott. Scott is performing with Tyner tonight, and with his own band tomorrow evening at the Salle de Gesu. It's been ten years since Michael Bourne saw a 14 year old Christian Scott performing with his uncle Donald Harrison at the New Showcase Lounge in New Orleans. What a difference a decade makes.

    Listen to the interview with Christian Scott.

  • FIJM: An interview with Oliver Jones

    July 3, 2008. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM

     Oliver Jones

    It's probably safe to say Oliver Jones looked forward to the retired life - after years of touring, playing and teaching, anyone would be. So he did. But the pianist couldn't get away, and here he is, back playing better than ever... and with stories of playing with Oscar Peterson and all the great Canadian jazz artists. Michael Bourne spoke with him yesterday. Listen to the interview.

  • Bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons

    July 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons

    Notice anything unusual about this bass?

    Take another look at the fretboard. You'll see five strings on the Jean Auray bass, a French-made instrument. But that's not the only difference. This bass is played by Renaud Garcia-Fons, who plays the instrument and makes it sound like a cello, a drum, a Brazilian berimbau, even a flamenco guitar. His pizzicato, or plucking style, sounds most like flamenco. Renaud uses the tips of his fingers, rather than the sides (like most jazz players). He has a flawless bowing technique, no doubt developed under the tutelage of the master of the contrebasse, Francois Rabbath. Garcia-Fons can execute a sequence on the double bass that would send most musicians back to the woodshed. He looks like he's doing these pyrotechnics with little effort.

    But enough about technique. What makes Renaud Garcia-Fons so interesting is that he plays some amazing music. In Montreal, he performed with a trio (guitar, percussion) at the Salle de Gesu.

    Click here to listen to Renaud Garcia-Fons at the Montreal Jazz Festival 2008.
    -Josh