WBGO Blog
  • Live Blog: Motian/Frisell/Lovano at the Village Vanguard

    September 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Vanguard Motian Trio Marquee

    8:00pm
    The show starts an hour from now, and we're as ready as we can be.  The crew arrived at 6pm, and Bill Frisell was sitting onstage, practicing silently.  He seemed to like the alone time, so we didn't bother him.  Paul Motian came to the club for a minute, then darted off to dinner.  Joe Lovano was leaving the airport in Cleveland at 3:30pm.  Haven't seen him yet.  With jazz, all is in flux, always.

    8:30pm
    Due to an emergency, Joe Lovano missed opening night.  Saxophonist Bill McHenry, who plays regularly with Paul Motian, subbed for both sets last night. This is the second night of the trio's residency, but the first evening they're together.  Aftermore than two decades of playing together, these guys can just come in and play.

    9:02pm
    We're live.  The trio is playing "The Bag Man," from their ECM release, I Have The Room Above Her.  Named after the Jerome Kern song from Showboat.

    9:10pm
    This trio is comprised of musicians who are some of the foremost interpreters of Thelonious Monk's music.  This one called "Light Blue."  Motian played a week with Monk, but considers him a looming influence.

    9:23pm
    After a beautiful "Time and Time Again," the trio goes into one of their familiar songs, "Jack of Clubs."  These gentlemen are completely in the moment...

    9:33pm
    Thelonious Monk's "Ruby My Dear," minus piano.  Bill Frisell's opening is wafting around the ether.  Float like a butterfly...

    9:42pm
    I'm detecting a trend here.  This is "Let's Cool One," another Monk composition.

    9:51pm
    I really love this song.  It's called "Cambodia."  Apparently, Manfred Eicher from ECM inspired the name.  He said it sounded like Cambodia.  Maybe minus the Khmer Rouge?

    9:58pm
    Bill Frisell = sound architect.  This is amazing.

    10:05pm  After a brief snippet of "Drum Music," we end.  Regretfully.  But the band here for the next two weeks.  It's even better in person.  Ciao.
    -Josh

  • Live Blog from the Village Vanguard: Kenny Barron 4

    August 27, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Kenny Barron 4 at the Vanguard

    Listen to the show.
    View some photos from tonight.

    8:59pm
    Thanks for joining us tonight. It seems that New Yorkers consistently pack the Village Vanguard when Kenny Barron plays. Tonight is no exception to that rule. Another crowded house for our live show. Enjoy.

    The Kenny Barron 4 are:
    Kenny Barron - piano
    Kiyoshi Kitagawa - bass
    Francisco Mela - drums
    Dayna Stephens - tenor saxophone

    9:00pm
    It has come.

    9:01pm
    After a brief introduction of the band members, Kenny Barron launches into "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise."
    A standard from a standard-bearer of modern improvisation.

    9:10pm
    Nice bass solo from Kiyoshi Kitagawa. I can hear him breathing. Kiyoshi has been with Kenny Barron for ten years.

    9:15pm Um Beijo, a Barron original. On the new CD, The Traveler. Lyrics on the record, sung by Grady Tate.
    "A kiss."

    9:19pm
    Dayna Stephens is a young saxophonist with a well-tempered sound. Smoky. I like it.

    9:25pm
    "Shuffle Boil," a Thelonious Monk composition. Perhaps you know about Sphere, the band that assembled after Monk's passing to continue his music in the famous Monk quartet sound? Kenny Barron, Charlie Rouse (then Gary Bartz), Buster Williams, and Ben Riley. Great records.

    9:36pm
    Shuffle Boil is at a full boil. Dayna Stephens with a Charlie Rouse-ing solo. Forgive the bad pun...People who know me will tell you I cannot help myself...

    9:38pm
    Who needs the Democratic National Convention? Give me this.

    9:42pm
    "Blame it on My Youth"
    Kenny Barron was a great admirer of pianist Tommy Flanagan. Flanagan's photo is right next to the piano at the Village Vanguard.

    9:52pm
    Another original, "New Samba."

  • Live Blog - Village Vanguard 7.1.08

    July 1, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Uri Caine at the Village Vanguard

    Join the live chat.
    Check out some photos from today and tonight.

    9:00pm Opening with "Loose Trade." This may or may not lead into Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti." We'll see.

    9:03pm Lorraine Gordon, the Vanguard owner, just arrived. She's gracious enough to allow us to be here at the Vanguard. That, and she lets me set up shop in her office.

    9:06pm I seem to be having an issue with the Chat Room. Bear with me.

    9:11pm I saw this trio here in 2003. I was captivated by the improvisation of it all. When I looked onstage, I saw all of the high quality microphones, and realized that the show was being recorded. It's a great record.

    9:13pm That last song premiered tonight. Simply called "1." Originally it was called "Vanguard 1." Not sure if this title will stick...but that's what it is tonight.

    9:15pm "Foolish Me." Beautiful and quiet.

    9:20pm You'll find this one, "Snaggletooth," on that Live at the Village Vanguard recording from 2003

    9:25pm This is "Interloper." Uri named it tonight, while he was picking the set list. Originally, it was "Vanguard 2."

    9:31pm This is "Othello," if I remember correctly.

    9:38pm "The Axis of Evil" Suite Three songs that clearly identify Uri's political leanings.
    They are "Stuff Hapens," "What Have They Done" and "BushWhack."

    9:42pm You can also clearly detect Uri's comedic side on this music. He's a funny guy.

    9:43pm I've yet to join the chat. All apologies. I'm having a problem reaching it, but I know that Patrick Jarenwattananon at NPR is holding down the fort. For those visiting the chat, you're in safe hands. I'm afraid that Iwon't be joining tonight. Too much going on. But check out the photo. Link is above.

    9:50pm "What Have They Done" This is an abridged title. You might be able to figure out the rest. I'm not saying. For the record, is was a bit of self-censorship on Uri's part. That's why we have a disclaimer...

    9:53pm I hope you all are enjoying the show. Let us know.

    9:55pm Some flourishes a la McCoy Tyner. Uri and McCoy both from Philadelphia.

    9:57pm There are more than 25 photos from today and tonight's experience at the Village Vanguard. Check them out.

    10:00pm I hear the subway rumbling beneath Uri talking.

    10:01pm "Smelly" is another Uri original.

    10:02pm The Village Vanguard and its acoustics are really the perfect setting for a piano trio. The Vanguard website has a list of commercially available recordings from the club. You'll find quite a few great piano trio recordings. Lots, in fact.

    10:04pm And I think that the Cuban legend Bebo Valdes is releasing a duo w/ bass album in early September. I'm getting off topic, though...

    10:05pm  We've finally moved to Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti." Uri and the trio are caling options at this point.  We're past the set list that he gave me earlier.  Unchartered territory for thebroadcast, but the band knows this song well.  Also on their Vanguard recording.

    10:07pm  Gotta go for now.  Will be back.