July 21, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Pianist JoAnne Brackeen is having a birthday, and every Monday this month, she's celebrating at Jazz Standard in New York. She's calling tonight's show "The Big Three" -- music from Art Blakey, Stan Getz and Joe Henderson, all of whom hired her.
JazzSet is recording! We hope to present the show in Fall 08.
On Great Live Moments, Brackeen plays "Manha de Carnaval." We don't know where this took place - a club named Harvie's, but we don't know where that was or is. I'll bet Jae Sinnett, the drummer, would know if he's reading along!
© 2008 WBGO
July 18, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
"The Hammer" comes from 1988, the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, live on "New Year's Eve Coast to Coast." That night on WBGO and NPR, Carmen McRae sang with the Mel Lewis Orchestra at the Vista Hotel (destroyed 9/11/01) with intermission music by the late Patti Bown, and Moore by Four opened for Harry Connick Jr. at the Dakota in St. Paul, MN. Andy was on a double bill with Queen Ida's band from Louisiana. Pans & zydeco!
Andy Narell always wants to tell you the history of his instrument, the steelpan. In the late 1930s, Trinidadian drummers of African descent began to fabricate tuneful instruments from the heads of 55-gallon oil barrels. In 1946, Elliott "Ellie" Manette (or Mannette) made a concave drumhead, the first steelpan. Andy Narell told WBGO's JazzSet that in 1947, Manette made history hammering the Brahms Lullaby on it, on Port au Spain radio. Pans on radio!
For a short Andy Narell solo on a pan made by Ellie Manette, as played live on WBGO in 1980, click here.
In 2000, when Manette received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies, he said that no one person invented the pan. It took a group and was an evolutionary process. Today, Manette continues to improve his pan making and, as Artist-in-Residence at West Virginia University, coordinates Pan Studies. Has anyone reading along ever seen him play?
Narell - born in New York City in 1954 - became passionate about steelpan music as a young man. The day he came to WBGO for an on-air interview with host Al Pryor, he was promoting his first LP, Hidden Treasure (now on CD). As mentioned, Andy brought a pan made by Manette and played a solo. In the free-flowing interview, Andy talked about working in a summer camp in redwood forest in California, teaching kids to play the pans. Hear a clip here.
Especially when it' s hot, the hammering of even one note on a steelpan opens your heart and lets the colors in. Pans are the sound of sunshine!
© 2008 WBGO
July 17, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.
By the 1980's, jazz drummer Philly Joe Jones had formed Dameronia, a group dedicated to playing the music of the great pianist, composer and arranger Tadd Dameron. Dameron was a major influence of the drumming giant early in his career. Dameronia was well-received and produced a few LP's with this musical concept. Listen to the "Tadd's Delight" from 1983 featuring Charles Davis on saxophones, Walter Davis, Jr. on piano and Larry Ridley on bass. It is imaginable that Jones had a dual love playing this tune. In addition to honoring Dameron, Miles Davis, who was another major influence (and colleague), made the tune famous in the 1950s. We originally recorded this special date live in 1983 from the Jazz Forum in New York City. This recording is particularly a highlight, as it was not long after, that jazz would lose this innovative drummer to a fatal heart attack.
Jones, who would have turned 85 this month, remains one of the quintessential drummers of this genre.
© 2008 WBGO