February 17, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Listen Sunday, February 19, at 6pm and Wednesday at 6:30, for "The Collected Unconscious" -- a three-way suite composed by Russ Gershon for the Either/Orchestra, six horns and four rhythm players from Boston. The music dances between Ethiopian song styles of the mid 20th century, jazz, and Afro-Caribbean grooves provided by the E/O's Brazilian pianist, Venezuelan drummer and Dominican percussionist. Sounds crazy? Well it isn't. It's ingeniously full of melodies and changes and subtleties and hooks, as it works on your ears, heart, feet and burrows into your subconscious.
In the spring of 2011, funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign, the E/O performed in the capital, Addis Ababa, and other provincial cities, deepening its relationship with the music and musicians. Then in November, as part of a short regional tour here in the Northeast, E/O brought this alluring new music to Tishman Auditorium at the New School, and now JazzSet brings it to you in Surround Sound .
One of the best New York concerts of 2011, wrote the blog lucidculture.wordpress.com.
Here's an additional tune, not in the JazzSet show. Composer Nerses Nalbandian, the Ethiopian national maestro, was of Armenian descent. To complete the circle, Nalbandian loved Xavier Cugat and Ray Charles! Check him out.
Either/Orchestra plays "Mambo #1."
© 2012 WBGO
February 9, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Listen for the Mingus Orchestra .. Sunday, February 12, at 6pm and Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30 .. on WBGO Jazz 88.3/wbgo.org and at your convenience any time this week at wbgo.org/jazzset.
Last February at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan, blues, gospel shouts, and fight songs filled this sacred space. Wait til you hear bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz wailing on "Noddin Ya Head Blues," John Clark's French horn on "Haitian Fight Song," Frank Lacy reciting from the Book of Ecclesiastes on "Ecclusiastics," Boris Kozlov bowing his bass on "Meditations for Moses." All composed by the great Charles Mingus (1922-79).
Above, Gunther Schuller conducts the Orchestra in "Noon Night" and "Taurus in the Arena of Life," two lyric tone poems. "I fought my whole life to bring composition and improvisation together on an equal level," Schuller says in an interview in allaboutjazz.com. "That's what Third Stream [music] is about and in many cases that has happened. . . . If there ever was a Third Steam composer, his name was Charlie Mingus."
On President's Day weekend at Jazz Standard all weekend and on Sunday, up at Manhattan School of Music, you can hear more Mingus. High school students compete to play his demanding music with accuracy and passion. During this JazzSet, we'll hear more about that from co-producers Sue Mingus of Let My Children Hear Music, Inc., and Justin DiCioccio of MSM, and Jazz House Kids in Montclair, NJ -- winners last year and finalists in 2012. There's more about the fourth annual Mingus Competition here.
Let My Children Hear Music, Inc., and JazzSet thank the National Endowment for the Arts.
© 2012 WBGO
February 7, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Remember this? A classic LP, tracks often heard to this day on WBGO.
Wednesday, February 8, at 6:30 .. Steve Wilson with Strings plays the original parts from the 1950 release Bird with Strings. Altoist Steve re-imagines the music at the Kennedy Center, now on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. Here's a 30-second sample of this jazz-and-classical combination:
One highlight is "Ezz-thetic" by composer and music theorist George Russell for Ezzard Charles, the African-American boxing champion from the late 1940s into the '50s. When Charles beat Jersey Joe Walcott and then Joe Louis, he was the world heavyweight champ. Ezzard Charles was a noted bass player, as well; he jammed at Birdland back in the day. Wilson says the modern-sounding "Ezz-thetic" is "really a peek into what might have been the next musical step in Charlie Parker's development." Parker died in 1955, leaving the future an open question.
© 2012 WBGO