May 20, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
I was pleasantly surprised that this interview actually happened, but I know
all to well that persistence pays off in the long run. I say this because Al
Foster is famously dodgy about giving interviews to press. Probably because
everyone in the world wants to know about Al's relationship with Miles Davis.
Sure, he played with Miles for more than a decade, and was a dear friend, even
during Davis' self-imposed exile from the music scene in the late 1970s. Get
beyond that, and you realize that Al Foster has had an extraordinary musical
life. In this interview, Foster talks about growing up in Harlem, where he met
many of the legendary jazz musicians who shaped his career. And Miles too.
But did you know that Al Foster raised four daughters as a single father? One
more reason this guy deserves a medal. At the end of it all, you start to realize
why so many people regard Al Foster as one of the great messengers of our music.
The Al Foster Quartet plays the Village Vanguard this week. You can hear them
live on WBGO, tomorrow night at 9. I'll be your host. Stay tuned.
© 2008 WBGO
May 1, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
When someone like Frank Wess comes to WBGO, you better be prepared to hear some amazing stories. Michael Bourne interviewed Frank Wess, who is currently spending his evenings playing music at the Village Vanguard. The 86-year old Wess will forever be a Basie man, and he told a great story about a Count Basie tour in Europe. When the band arrived, there were no charts for the musicians to play. This could be a bandleader's worst nightmare, taking a band overseas without music. But Basie's response? "Well, you guys never look at them anyway, and I didn't want to pay for the extra freight." Hear what else Frank Wess had to say.
© 2008 WBGO