April 9, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
It's Randy Weston's 84th birthday, and the celebration is at the Jazz Standard. Last night, I enjoyed the first set. For the opening minutes (at least five minutes), Weston's hands didn't venture above the middle of the keyboard. That powerful low piano goes straight to your center. The vibration is strong enough to make you a resonator! As Randy Weston says, "In the African tradition, we are all musicians. Your heart is your drum and your voice is your sound."
As the set unfolded from the processional "Blues to Africa" through "Saucer Eyes," "African Sunrise" for Dizzy Gillespie and Machito, "Hi Fly" and "Berkshire Blues," I felt as if I'd died and gone to heaven (or Sunside, a Paris club which for some reason came to mind). Love yourself. Go see Randy Weston.
Here's a clip of "African Sunrise" from the same quintet, as heard on JazzSet in 2004.
© 2010 WBGO
February 17, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
DETROIT – Bassist Christian McBride and his quintet, narrators representing four icons of the Civil Rights Movement, J.D. Steele and the Second Ebenezer Majestic Voices, the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra, and more than 2,000 people gathered in one mega-sanctuary Sunday night for The Movement Revisited, McBride's jazz opus, presented for free by the Detroit International Jazz Festival for Black History Month.
The first reading was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s opening address "On the Importance of Jazz." for the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival with the theme that “This is triumphant music." Anthony L. Brock Jr., a student at the Detroit School of the Arts, delivered it -- short and meaningful. (Link to text below)
Following the “Freedom / Struggle” overture, poet Sonia Sanchez spoke words of Rosa Parks, whose refusal in the mid 1950s to move back in a city bus launched the 381-day boycott in Montgomery, AL. Parks later lived in Detroit. Willis Patterson, Emeritus Professor of Voice from the University of Michigan, spoke Malcolm X's words; Malcolm Little grew up in Lansing, became known as Detroit Red. Dion Graham from The Wire spoke Muhammad Ali's words; Ali now lives near here. Bishop Edgar L. Vann II of Second Ebenezer re-created the "I Have A Dream" speech. King delivered the first known version at Cobo Hall on June 23, 1963. According to the Civil Rights Timeline in the printed program, 125,000 people marched on Woodward Avenue that day. The organizer was Rev. C. L. Franklin, Aretha's father.
© 2010 WBGO
February 15, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
The low ceilings of several New York basements have put a lid on Mingus's music for a long time now. But this past Saturday night it was quite the opposite as the 11-piece Mingus Orchestra played music that stretched over a big footprint and soared into the domed cathedral of St. Bart's Church. As the concert progressed, it sounded better and better.
© 2010 WBGO
January 7, 2010. Posted by Brandy Wood.
WBGO Jazz 88.3FM will broadcast the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony & Concert taking place on Tuesday, January 12 at 7:30PM in the Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center at Broadway at 60th Street. The performance will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in a program dedicated to the 2010 honorees’ works.
Joining the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be many of the honorees themselves including Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill Holman (as guest conductor), Annie Ross, and Cedar Walton. Also featured will be 2010 Jazz Master Kenny Barron on solo piano and 2010 Jazz Master Yusef Lateef with percussionist Adam Pudolph. George Avakian will receive the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.
Twenty-six fellow NEA Jazz Masters will be in the audience, including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ornette Coleman, Paquito d’Rivera, Ramsey Lewis, and Dr. Billy Taylor. The broadcast will be co-hosted by WBGO’s Gary Walker and Sirius/XM’s Mark Ruffin, and carried on both WBGO and Sirius/XM’s Real Jazz channel.
© 2010 WBGO
December 6, 2009. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
NJPAC outdid itself, presenting the Branford Marsalis Quartet and Maria Schneider Orchestra on Saturday night. Branford is the classicist and Maria the colorist, and the third star is the concert hall, Prudential Hall. Read more
© 2009 WBGO