WBGO Blog
  • Sat nite @ NJPAC - Branford & Maria

    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

  • Streisand Returns to the Village Vanguard

    September 26, 2009. Posted by Amy Niles.

    Are you going?

    48 years ago, she was the opening act for Miles Davis ( well, according to her website, she WANTED to open for Miles but she didn't get the gig).

    Lorraine Gordon, the owner of the Vanguard-  has a deep philosophical connection to Streisand-they both share the same attitude about the causes they believe in and will stop at nothing for what they believe. Two dynamic women who have passions that transcend this business of music.

    So, I approach Streisand's return to her acoustic, un- overproduced roots with optimism. Maybe she picked the Vanguard because she is finally ready to allow us to hear her instrument again. You can't hide anything at the Vanguard-  Lorraine won't let you.

    She has a new album. Diana Krall is on piano. She makes the connection singing Bernstein's "Some Other Time", a song recorded to perfection by Tony Bennett and the Vanguard's house pianist of that other time, Bill Evans.  I reserve judgment until I hear it.

    I am not going to her concert. I didn't even try to enter the lottery to get one of only 80 tickets. I will watch the video along with the gizillions of others next week, after she has had her chance to make sure that it is up to her standards.

    Gee, when  we make our monthly broadcast from the Vanguard, you get to hear and watch the artist live. Warts and all. That's jazz.

  • Rhonda's Detroit Journal - Sunday 9.6.09

    September 6, 2009. Posted by Rhonda Hamilton.

    We’ve had another beautiful day at the Detroit Jazz Festival. I caught an early afternoon set by the Julliard Jazz Quartet. Even before I reached the stage, I was impressed by what I heard. I thought, “That pianist is very strong.” It turned out to be Donald Vega, a gifted player and composer from Nicaragua. The band began the set with two of his compositions, the energetic “Wake Up” followed by the lilting “Butterfly Waltz”. Then they segued into Monk’s “I Mean You.” Jeremy Biner’s tenor saxophone had shades of Joe Henderson and George Coleman. Bassist Yasushi Nakamura was solid as was drummer, Brian Carter

    Hear for yourself on Monday’s Detroit Jazz Festival Special at 2pm on 88.3FM and online at wbgo.org


    Alfredo Rodriguez

    My next stop was the Mack Avenue Pyramid Stage where pianist Alfredo Rodriguez was giving a solo recital. There was a buzz about Alfredo at the festival, so I was anxious to hear him perform. Playing with the fire and passion of his Cuban homeland, Rodriguez elicited whoops and hollers from his new found fans. Just as handily, he laid a hush over the crowd with an introspective rendition of “Body and Soul.” Rodriguez has been championed by producer Quincy Jones so you can expect to hear a lot more from him in the near future.   Alfredo Rodriguez is also featured on our Labor Day Special.

    One of the memories of the 2009 Detroit International Jazz Festival that I will cherish forever is Gerald Wilson leading his orchestra in the premiere of his suite “Detroit.” The festival commissioned this work to commemorate its 30th anniversary. Gerald Wilson grew up in Detroit and attended Cass Tech High School. He said, “They taught me all I know. I wouldn’t be here today without them.” The suite includes a movement for his alma mater along with tributes to the Detroit River, Belle Isle and Gretchen Valade who is the major benefactor of the festival and the owner of Wilson’s label Mack Avenue Records.

    Wilson clearly has great affection for Detroit. As the orchestra played the soaring melody of the suite’s main theme, he recited these words:

    Detroit

    It’s beautiful… Detroit

    It’s magnificent…Detroit

    Love is here

    Freedom is here

    In this great city of Detroit