WBGO Blog
  • Back to Back Brad Mehldau in Montreal

    June 29, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM, Jazz Alive

    Four hours of Brad Mehldau here on June 28, 2008, were magnificent! first with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, the other at two pianos with Hank Jones. A great trio stretch was "Samba e Amor" by Chico Buarque with a beautiful left hand piano solo, an untitled new piece, "We See" by Monk, and "Baby Plays Around" by Elvis Costello, an anthem of regret. All music, almost no talk, applause between pieces seemed never to end. There were two encores. That concert began at 6 and went past 8. Ninety minutes later, Brad came back with Hank Jones.

    The pianists were born about fifty years apart. As a high school student, Brad had seen Hank at Bradley's club in New York, and been inspired. Tonight, they played together for the first time. After three pieces they switched pianos (Their benches went with them, in a clever piece of stagecraft). Even on the other's piano, they sounded like themselves -- Hank a little warmer, Brad a little brighter -- on "Anthropology," "There Is No Greater Love," "Lullaby of Birdland" and "The Very Thought of You."

    I love Hank's underpinnings, like his two-handed paddle, and his concentration. By the way, he's turning 90 later this summer. Brad drums on notes, fast and precise. His hands mirror one another, effortlessly. Though he can throw an elbow (Jones is back straight, arms at sides), they were both as economical as dancers, and partnering each other tonight. I hope this concert was recorded.

    Click here for Monk's "Work" performed by the Brad Mehldau Trio.

    The Montreal audience and the staging are essentials in this package. Don't have a photo yet, working on a little audio sample, and in the meantime, here's something from the farmers' market that Amy & I went to yesterday. Think of New York's new venue, Le Poisson Rouge.
    Le Poisson Rouge

    Becca

  • João Gilberto at Carnegie Hall

    June 28, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    220px-joao_gilberto.jpg

    Last Sunday, a "legend's legend," as described in the JVC Jazz Festival - New York program guide, performed at Carnegie Hall. João Gilberto, who turned 77 a few weeks ago, made his only US appearance this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bossa nova. Remarkably, the concert transpired with no snags or disturbances (Joao is also a legend for both his on and off-stage behavior). The music was, as expected, transcendent. He subtlety plucked the guitar in his signature fashion while whispering timeless samba melodies (see full set list below). I'm not even sure that he looked at the audience once, which unusually added to the concert's intimacy. Every seat in the hall was filled, yet it seemed like you were alone with João every moment.

    If you missed the broadcast of "50 Years of the Beat: A Celebration of Bossa Nova," click here:

    Click here for "50 Years of the Beat" web page.

    Hour One

    Hour Two

    Click here for WBGO's NPR feature on bossa nova's top tunes.

    Click here to learn more about João Gilberto's original bossa nova recordings.

    The Carnegie Hall Set list (songs Joao played, but not in order)

    1. Bahia com H - Denis Brian
    2. Coisa mais Linda
    3. Corcovado
    4. Estate
    5. To fazendo um ano meio
    6. Chega de Saudades
    7. Desafinado
    8. Brigas nunca meis
    9. Clima Quente
    10. Morena Boca de Ouro
    11. De Conversa Em Conversa
    12. O Pato
    13. Dora Lice
    14. Nota So
    15. Wave
    16. Samba do Aviao
    17. Ligia
    18. Voce ja foi a Bahia
    19. Rosa Morena
    20. Caminhos Cruzadas
    21. Aos tes da Cruz

  • Montreal - Here I Come!

    June 26, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.

    I write this sitting in the press room of the Festival International de JAZZ de Montreal, looking out at a sea of banners announcing JAZZ JAZZ JAZZ and more wonderful JAZZ. Facing me is the image of a special man we lost last year, Oscar Peterson, displayed proudly on the building that houses two of the main stages of this great festival. Tonight, I will walk past Oscar to hear Dee Dee Bridgewater and then two of the greatest living pianists of our day- Hank Jones and Oliver Jones, performing together, with Oscar Peterson looking over all of us.

    Oscar Peterson

    Its too early- even for this festival- for the music to start from all of the outdoor stages surrounding the Place des Arts, but the soundchecks go on, the crews deliver cases of instruments and cables and speakers, and the excitement builds. The WBGO team will be blogging from "The Montreal Jazz Festival" in the coming days, sharing some of the highlights not only of the festival, but the wonderful city that welcomes us all every year to share in this extraordinary event.

    If you are here, let us know. Share your thoughts and experiences. Where are you eating? What are you seeing? Who have you discovered? With so many events going on, we can't possibly bring all of them to those of your reading this. But you can share your experiences. I promise to put up some photos as I go.

    I can't sit still anymore- I've got a whole city to explore... First stop: got to buy my tee shirt!
    -Amy