September 28, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Not long ago, it seemed to me that Toots Thielemans might have made his last trip to the United States. In March, 2011, we recorded him for JazzSet at the Kennedy Center.
After that, he was scheduled for the Blue Note, but due to fatigue, canceled some of those shows.
Then a year later (May, 2012) for his 90th birthday, he made an multi-city tour of his home country, Belgium. I was lucky to visit Dinant and Brussels for the national celebration of Toots. In the bookstore at the museum of musical instruments, I saw this stack of commemorative books.
I came home and wrote about The Harmonica-Playing Baron of Belgium and the Toots90 concert in Brussels for NPR's A Blog Supreme:
". . . four of Toots' first five tunes were recorded by Miles Davis in a short span: 'On Green Dolphin Street' (1958), 'All Blues' (early 1959), 'I Loves You, Porgy' and 'Summertime' (both 1958, for Porgy and Bess). 'Days of Wine and Roses' was the other number. . . . [T]hough he's streamlined his playing, 30 years later he still sounds tuneful, optimistic, willing to soar.
"When [pianist Kenny]Werner and [guitarist Oscar] Castro-Neves came to the stage — excitement! embraces! — they brought shades of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Hollywood as they played 'How High the Moon' (a samba, thanks to Castro-Neves), 'All the Way' (Werner on synthesizer, interpolating 'My Way'), and the theme to Midnight Cowboy, an eight-note melody that circles and haunts. Indeed, Thielemans played it on the soundtrack [to the movie]."
That was the Brussels concert. Tonight and tomorrow in New York, the Brazilians Eliane Elias and Dori Caymmi will be onstage, along with Herbie Hancock, Kenny Werner, Oscar Castro-Neves, and the center of attention, the heart of the matter -- the wonderfully resilient, determined, most musical nonagenarian, Toots Thielemans.
© 2012 WBGO
September 27, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.
Jazz88, NPR, and Jazz From the Archives commemorate a master of 88 keys: Bud Powell. Independent Bud Powell biographer Peter Pullman wrote a remarkable book about this king of bebop. Pullman not only shared his five essential Powell recordings with NPR, but he recently sat down with the brilliant Dan Morgenstern for an interview on Jazz From the Archives. Listen to the riveting one-hour special here.
Coming Up: Jazz From the Archives Part II with Dan Morgenstern and Peter Pullman.
© 2012 WBGO
September 7, 2012. Posted by Brandy Wood.
Newark-based photojournalist and filmmaker Akintola Hanif was at WBGO last night to host and discuss his photography exhibition, BT: The Last Days, which documents the drama of Newark's Baxter Terrace housing project throughout the year before it's demolition began. In 2009, the City of Newark began tearing down the development as part of a larger campaign to build better housing. Shot over a period of twelve months, BT: The Last Days is an objective look at the beauty, despair & diversity that existed within one of Newark's most notorious housing projects. There was also a screening of his short film, Blue & Grey, at the reception on September 6, 2012.
© 2012 WBGO