January 13, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.
2010 was a good year for Jason Moran. He celebrated ten years of music-making with his trio, The Bandwagon, alongside Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits. Their latest release for Blue Note, Ten, received rave reviews and found a place on nearly every jazz critic's "Best of 2010" list. To top it off, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Moran a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, which comes with a cool $500,000 in award money.
Moran is off to an ambitious start in 2011 as well. This weekend, he has organized a pair of concerts at 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson Street, Manhattan) to feature his fellow Houstonians who are tearing up New York's jazz scene today.
Tomorrow (Friday), the event features songwriters Bryan Michael Cox, Leron Thomas, Alan Hampton and Josh Mease, backed by Moran and other members of the Houston cadre such as Kendrick Scott, Robert Glasper and Eric Harland. The concert begins at 9:00 p.m.
Saturday's concert features jazz more prominently, including sets by Billy Harper with Michael Carvin, Jason Moran & Marcos Varela, Kendrick Scott's Oracle with Mike Moreno, Jamire Williams & Erimaj, Robert Glasper & Jason Moran with guests, and an interview with Dr. Bob Morgan, the band director at Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts who has mentored most of these musicians. The concert begins at 9:00 p.m.
If you check it out, stop by and say hello to WBGO's Josh Jackson, who will be recording the concert and will feature highlights on his weekly show, The Checkout, sometime next month.
© 2011 WBGO
October 6, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
I'm just back from the Mary Lou Williams Centennial Celebration in Madison, WI (where I lived from 1969-82). Mary Lou was briefly an Artist-in-Residence at UW Madison in 1976. Meeting/interviewing her then and immersing myself in her residency put me on my track. Thirty-some years later, it was my honor to participate in this celebration. Madison, by the way, remains one of the all-time hospitable cities - centered on an isthmus between two beautiful lakes - and the home of a dedicated jazz community.
From Fri through Sun, Howard Landsman and his committee hosted events around town, featuring the UW Hiphop Ensemble, The Music of Mary Lou Wms from 1929-78 presented by her mgr and the Director of the MLW Foundation - Fr Peter O'Brien, and a symposium with Profs Sherrie Tucker, Guy Ramsey, Ted Buehrer and Farrah Griffin. Both MLW biographers - Linda Dahl and Dr. Tammy Kernodle - were in town. On Saturday night at the Capitol Theater, the MLW Collective featuring Madison Poet Laureate Fabu, the magnificent Geri Allen on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, Kassa Overall (the nephew of the current WI Gov and his wife!) on drums, and guest vocalist Carmen Lundy. Everyone was great and all hail Geri. In the first half they presented MLW's Zodiac Suite from the 1940s, but what I loved most was "Peter's Blues" in the second half, animated by Geri's elbows.
On Sunday morning 8am at Mt Zion Baptist Church, the awesome Leotha Stanley (a committee member) conducted Mary Lou's Mass - a Catholic mass in a Baptist church. After briefly noting that slight mismatch, Stanley launched the choir into an excellent performance, not one bit less stunning than the celebratory May 2010 pfmnces at St. Francis Xavier in Greenwich Village and The Kennedy Center. WOW. Carmen Lundy's singing of the Lazarus story makes time stop for me. Professor George Shirley from the U of MI was the baritone soloist. Sitting in the balcony of this med sized, straightforward sanctuary and facing the choir and a single, modern stained glass window behind it, I had a slightly elevated perspective and felt the joy rising.
Prof Jimmy Cheatham of the UW Experimental Black Music Ensemble (1972-77) brought MLW to campus in '76. He has passed away, but his wife Jeannie Cheatham came from San Diego to enjoy and be honored by the City of Madison. On Sat night, some of the musicians (older now, like me) gathered to jam in Jimmy and Jeannie's honor. (That link leads you to the Jimmy & Jeannie Cheatham Collection, now online from the Marr Sound Archive at Univ of Missouri in Kansas City.) It was small with a lot of love. You could not ask for more.
© 2010 WBGO
August 10, 2010. Posted by Andrew Meyer.
Do you remember the Playbill, the Cadillac Club? How about the Key Club or Sparky J’s? Do you know someone, a friend, a parent, a grandparent who used to hang out in Newark’s jazz scene back during the heyday?
WBGO News is looking for first-hand stories of Newark’s rich jazz history to capture as part of a new aural history project. We’re looking for remembrances from those times. What did the places look like, smell like, feel like, etc. Why were they so much fun during that time? What made the jazz clubs the place to be. What did they like about them. What performers did they see there? What songs got people moving? Did they perhaps meet their future spouse at a club?
We’re looking to interview people who have stories to tell about this aspect of Newark’s rich cultural heritage. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can get in touch with news director Doug Doyle at 973-624-8880, ext. 264.
© 2010 WBGO