March 23, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Ornette Coleman at his midtown loft and studio, the latter of which he affectionately calls "The Doghouse." When I left, I had an earworm moment. I could not shake "Midnight Sunrise" from my head. On that recording, from Dancing in Your Head, Ornette plays his saxophone with the Master Musicians of Joujouka during a religious ceremony of Sufi trance music.
That's a pretty good indication of how my time with him sounded - sometimes mystic, sometimes swirling with idea and sound, always emphasizing humanity, freedom, and eternity. See, Ornette Coleman is not without his own musical language and his own sound grammar. The best way to understand what Ornette Coleman is saying is to listen to what he has to say. Because at 78, he still has a lot on his mind.
Jazz legend Ornette Coleman is the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He will be performing at Town Hall this Friday, March 28th.
© 2008 WBGO
March 21, 2008. Posted by .
On the latest edition of our new podcast "We Insist!: Jazz Speaks Out," the subject is pianist, composer, humanitarian and Brooklynite Randy Weston and his groundbreaking recording Uhuru Afrika. Host Angelika Beener talks with Weston about his music and his love of Africa. They also talk about the first meeting between Weston and Melba Liston, the great trombonist and arranger who became a a 40+ year collaborator.
Randy says Melba was the key component to the success of many of his greatest recordings, including, most dramatically, "Uhuru Afrika." You can hear more about Ms. Liston, Babatunde Olatunji, Langston Hughes, Geoffrey Holder and others in this interesting program which you can listen to on-Demand. Hear a humble genius talk about his great friend and musical partner.
Randy Weston on Africa and Jazz
You can also listen to other conversations with Terence Blanchard, who talks about Miles Davis' "A Tribute to Jack Johnson" and Dr. Robin D.G. Kelly, who talks about jazz and the Civil Rights Movement.
Terence Blanchard on Miles and Jack Johnson
Dr. Robin Kelley on Jazz and Civil Rights
© 2008 WBGO
March 17, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
As the luck of the Irish would have it, Nathaniel Adams Cole , aka Nat King Cole, was born on this date. Most people know him more as the singer of "Nature Boy" than of "Danny Boy."
I think I love Nat Cole's piano playing as much as, if not more than, I love his smoky voice. Years ago, I spent college scholarship money on the 18-CD set on Mosaic Records, The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio. 349 songs from 1942-1961. Now out of print...
I suppose that technically counted as an education expense, right?
Anyway, here's a video of Nat Cole playing "Tea for Two." Listen for the "Foggy Day" quote in his introduction, and to his "Rhapsody in Blue" reference in his solo. - Josh
© 2008 WBGO