June 4, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
A couple years ago, I had heard that bassist Butch Warren reappeared onstage in DC.
I remember thinking to myself, "Where the hell has he been?"
The answer was that he had been to hell and back.
Chances are you have a record with Butch Warren. The bassist was a prolific session man for Blue Note Records in the early 1960s. That groove on "Watermelon Man," from Herbie Hancock's debut? Yeah, that's Butch. Dexter Gordon, Sonny Clark, Grant Green? Yeah, that's Butch.
Warren was quite the anchor for those studio dates, yet he lived a life largely unmoored. He spent years on and off the streets. That kind of living has clearly taken its toll, but Warren still plays, scuffling for work and staying on his feet. I generally have mixed feelings when nationally televised networks show people the world of jazz. More often than not, it's an all too familiar tale of drug abuse, homelessness, institutionalization that catches the whim of an editor.
Believe it or not, there are a few happy endings in jazz.
Here's to Butch Warren finding his.
© 2008 WBGO
June 4, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
When you get to your folding chair at the Jazz Gallery on Hudson St.,
there's a personal cardboard fan on your seat, and you think what a nice
souvenir. But by the end of the Roy Hargrove Big Band set, you are using
that fan! You ARE a fan! With 18 guys and a woman -- hallelujah Tanya
Darby on trumpet -- crammed into one end of the oblong loft, and the
audience filling the rest, from the back wall to sax players' feet, you
FEEL this band and it feels GOOD! I love that there's only one mic, for
Roy to speak and, briefly, sing. I love that he has about a square yard
in which to conduct, then turn 180 and play. I love it all. He's
expanding his small group music, and his writing is fresh and old school
at the same time, all accents and syncopation, and the band is playing
almost flawlessly. Gerald Clayton's on piano! The set's not too long.
The Roy Hargrove Big Band plays the Jazz Gallery once more this summer
on June 10. Then after that, your next opp to see them is June 15 at the
Hollywood Bowl, so opt for the great vibes at the Gallery where the
band, the sound and the audience are one and the same. And thanks to Zan
Stewart for his motivating review in the Star Ledger.
© 2008 WBGO
June 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
The National Endowment for the Arts today announced the recipients of the 2009 NEA Jazz Masters Award-the nation's highest honor in this distinctly American music. The six recipients will each receive a $25,000 grant award, and will be publicly honored in an awards ceremony and concert on Friday, October 17, 2008.
The six 2009 NEA Jazz Masters are:
George Benson (vocalist/guitar)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
Lee Konitz (saxophone)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica and guitar)
Snooky Young (trumpet)
Rudy Van Gelder (rec. engineer)
© 2008 WBGO