WBGO Blog
  • Monk's Dream: Fifty Years Fresh on JazzSet

    March 30, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    12 03 29 JazzSet-Benny Green by Mark Schramm-CROPbyMATTHEWJazzSet's Mark Schramm got the story: Not long after Thelonious Monk was on the cover of TIME magazine in 1964, a saxophonist and sculptor named Bert Green played “Monk’s Dream" for his son Benny in the garage of their family home in Berkeley, CA. It was the first music Benny ever heard, his primary influence.

    Now Benny -- Oscar Peterson's choice for the Glenn Gould  Protege Prize in 1994 -- is coming back to his source.

    Peter Washington is on bass, Kenny Washington on drums, with special guest baritone sax man Gary Smulyan. Maybe you're wondering if the bari can thrive outside a big band. Well, tune right in because Smulyan's stamina and musicality make for serious fun, right in line with the one-of-a-kind, quirky, syncopated, logical, every-note-counts tunes by Thelonious, and the spot-on delivery from Benny, Peter and Kenny.

    Sunday, April 1, at 6pm and Wednesday, April 4, at 6:30 .. or any time this week online at wbgo.org/jazzset.

  • Renee Rosnes Quartet on JazzSet

    March 23, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Steve Nelson's mallets, Renee Rosnes at the piano .. Photo by John Rogers for NPR
    Steve Nelson's mallets, Renee Rosnes at the piano .. Unseen are Peter Washington, bass, and Lewis Nash, drums .. Photo by John Rogers

    RED is the color of the Village Vanguard from the awning and the door to the velvet drapes. ". . . [T]he red curtains and red carpet, there's a warmth," says pianist Renee Rosnes. And she opens her set with "Rouge" by John Lewis.

    Vibraphonist Steve Nelson can throw the blues into anything, says Renee, from "Rouge" to Milton Nascimento's "Travessia;" Walt Weiskopf's "Intuition;" "Up With the Lark" by Jerome Kern, played for Bill Evans who was at home at the Vanguard; and Renee's own "Manhattan Rain."

    She reminisces about working here with two great bandleaders. Saxophonist Joe Henderson used to say "Heaven is on the bandstand," and one night during a set, vibraphonist Hutcherson felt the ghost of Dexter Gordon so strongly, he had to sit down on the red leather side bench.

    Listen for the set on Sunday, March 25, at 6pm and Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 .. or at your convenience at wbgo.org/jazzset.

    Rhonda Hamilton is our guest host.

  • Triveni from the Newport Jazz Festival on JazzSet

    March 13, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    We open with Anat Cohen's Anzic Orchestra, Avishai Cohen in the trumpet section, at the Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Then Avishai's three-man group steps up at the 2011  Newport Jazz Festival and -- even though it's more spare -- the music just keeps coming. Avishai meets the challenge of a trumpet trio with no piano, guitar or vibes to fill the space. Besides his own Ornette-y pieces, they play Don Cherry's "Art Deco" and "Portrait" by Charles Mingus.

    Listen Wednesday, March 14, at 6:30pm .. or online at your convenience, here.

    Erik Jacobs for NPR Music
    Triveni is Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Drew Gress on bass, Eric Harland on the drums.

    Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs for NPR.

    Later in the hour, Anat joins Triveni as a special guest.

    Anat and Avishai Cohen, Drew Gress .. 2011 Newport Jazz Festival (c) Ayano Hisa