WBGO Blog
  • Jaleel Shaw

    February 8, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

    jaleel.jpg

    This is another up-and-coming artist that I'm really excited about. Jaleel Shaw is one of the most talented and interesting young players that has come along in the latest wave of young lions. I first met Jaleel around 2002 - he was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition that year as well. I was completely blown away by this cat. This year, he is a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award, along with another great young talent, Kendrick Scott.

    Check him out

    Oh, and Happy Birthday too!

  • IAJE Day 3 - North Carolina Central University With Branford Marsalis

    January 11, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Branford Marsalis and NCCU

    Since Branford Marsalis moved to Durham, North Carolina some years ago, he has become a major proponent of the local jazz scene. He joined the North Carolina Central University Jazz Ensemble today, under the direction of Ira Wiggins (his 21st year as Director of Jazz Studies at NCCU). The young talent was already swinging pretty heavily before Branford joined them. They played Oliver Nelson's arrangement of "Down by the Riverside," from the Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery Dynamic Duo recording. Check it out below:

    NCCU - Down By The Riverside

    Branford Marsalis and NCCU 2

    When you're a North Carolina jazz unit, it makes perfect sense to play music from one of your state's native sons. Especially when you have saxophonist Branford Marsalis, an outspoken devotee of John Coltrane. Here's John Fedchock's arrangement of a Coltrane ballad, "Central Park West":

    NCCU and Branford Marsalis - Central Park West

    Branford Marsalis and NCCU 3

    The set ended with another Coltrane original, "Giant Steps." NCCU's two Artists-in-Residence, Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo, join the students on Frank Foster's arrangement.

    NCCU with Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo - Giant Steps

    - Josh Jackson

  • The smell of vinyl in the morning

    January 6, 2008

    joe-newman.jpg(Long ago mp3’s were stored on plastic, circular wafers known as LP’s…)

    I’ve told this story to Rhonda Hamilton on the air and was reminded of it today when I came across my LP copy of “Joe Newman Quintet at Count Basie’s.” This is a terrific album from the great Basie trumpet man (‘43-’47 & ‘52-‘61), recorded live (with a very "live" audience) at the Count’s joint in NYC in 1961. It has smoking performances of “Caravan” and “Midgets” and features Newman, Oliver Nelson on tenor, Ed Shaughnessy on drums, Lloyd Mayers on piano and Art Davis on bass. I bought the record at a flea market about 10 years ago in great condition for maybe $3. $3!

    Joe Newman was the first authentic jazz great I’d ever met. It was at a jam session in Newark’s Terrace Ballroom at Symphony Hall in the late 80’s. I was a kid trying to run a jam session and he was in his mid to late 60’s, I think, like royalty with all the younger players hanging around him. I don’t think he even played much, and if he did, it was very briefly. But I’ve always remembered that encounter for Newman’s easy politeness and overall grand hipness.

    I was thrilled to have a Joe Newman-led live session. I don’t think there are too many on record. Are there? When I got the record home, I immediately threw it on the turntable. As soon as the needle hits the record, the band tears into Juan Tizol’s “Caravan,” and I mean they are cooking. The trumpet, muted, high-pitched and rapid, like if it was Diz or somebody like that. The drums, ripping at a furious pace and the bass strolling like a power walker. “Wow,” I thought. “Joe Newman is on fire!” After about 2:30 of the cut, the pace was still so intense that I thought surely they couldn’t sustain it. It took me another 30 seconds before I realized that the LP was actually playing at 45 rpm. I laughed, thinking how much of a jazz neophyte I was (and really still am.) But it sounded great!

    This is what I do when I should be cleaning the house. – David Cruz