• Dee Dee Bridgewater and Cecil Taylor have something in common

    March 29, 2009. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    © Stephanie Berger 2009
    © Stephanie Berger 2009

    They've played New York within ten days of one another. First at Zankel at Carnegie, Dee Dee was part of the Jessye Norman Honor Festival. Pianist Edsel Gomez brought a new percussion section, so music from DD's Red Earth album shifted from a Malian jam to a Latin feast and it worked. She loves rhythm! She and Edsel have written a new song about people on the street who need help, how it feels to be asked. The song was so simple, and the sense of it keeps coming back as the scenario plays out, over and over.

    Cecil Taylor is turning 80. The second half of his solo birthday concert at Merkin Hall last night was the piano half (the first half was a reading). He originates his music, in clusters and waves, playing mirror images, tumbling on the keys, what a sound he can make. Toward the end, for a moment, I felt the hall fill with conversation and laughter. And yet the audience wasn't making a sound, it was all his piano, it was quite a moment!

  • Derek Trucks Performance and Interview

    March 24, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive


    Click below to listen to interview and performance.

    For straight and narrow jazz enthusiasts, the work of Derek Trucks may come as a surprise. Forget the fact that he’s been on the road since his early teens with such visible artists like Eric Clapton or The Allman Brothers (he was a child prodigy, after all). Trucks, who, for many years, humbly lived in the shadow of his uncle, drummer Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers, never bothered to put himself first with such auspicious company always around. As he matured, this approach shifted drastically over the years, which was most recently magnified during his interview yesterday with WBGO’s Michael Bourne. Trucks clearly paved a way for himself, proving to any suspecting jazz fans -- myself included -- that he's a serious artist. Even though his music may not fit with WBGO’s format -- except with the Blues Hour – the intregity of his sound, rooted in the great Afro - American songwriting tradition, digs deep. This, combined with his overall openness and impressive music IQ -- reflected in the candid conversation -- elevates his status well above his jam-band and roots-rock category. Musically, his version of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s anthem Volunteered Slavery turned my head. The down-to-earth interview with Michael Bourne made me a believer. - Simon Rentner

  • Festival info on wbgo.org

    March 19, 2009. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Every year on wbgo.org, JazzSet updates the festival calendar. Take a look, what are we missing?

    Here's the link again: http://www.wbgo.org/events/festivals/