April 3, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Saxophonist and flutist Clifford Everett "Bud" Shank died at his home in Tuscon, Arizona yesterday. The cause was pulmonary failure. As a young upstart in the late 1940s, Shank gained prominence as a reed player in both the Charlie Barnet and Stan Kenton big bands. He was most closely associated with the West Coast jazz scene in its heyday, notably as a member of Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, where he further developed a cool but evocative alto swing that was his calling card. Shank also recorded in small chamber jazz ensembles, and is credited as a co-leader on Brazilliance, some of the first sessions of jazz and bossa nova in the United States, long before the cross-cultural pollination became a national phenomenon.
Shank was also a tremendous flutist, though he swore off the instrument later in his career. Many of his best reed dates were recorded for World Pacific records in the 50s and 60s. He also cast himself as a solid studio musician in Los Angeles, where he joined other jazz players looking for steady work [you can hear his flute solo on "California Dreamin'" from the Mamas and the Papas]. Shank eventually teamed up with his studio mates - bassist Ray Brown, drummer Jeff Hamilton, and his longtime associate from the Kenton band, guitarist Laurindo Almeida - and formed the popular LA Four band. In more than six decades of performance, Bud Shank contributed a wide angle shot of improvised music. He will be missed.
Feel free to share some of your favorite Bud Shank recordings in the comments section. I love his teamwork with fellow Kenton bandmate Laurindo Almeida on Brazilliance, Shank's work with trumpeter Shorty Rogers, as well as the Improvisations record with sitar master, Ravi Shankar. And that's just scratching the surface of a very long career.
© 2009 WBGO
November 3, 2008. Posted by Vincent Bochis.
Last month, Salsa Meets Jazz returned to Greenwich Village. The show was held at Le Poisson Rouge, located at the site of the old Village Gate, at Bleecker and Thompson, where Salsa Meets Jazz originated in the 1980's.Bobby Sanabria's nineteen piece juggernaut roared through two sets. The first set included new power arrangements of Latin jazz classics "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo." Selections from the band's latest album Big Band Urban Folktales included trombonist Chris Washburne's composition "Pink," which Sanabria described as a song that captures the sights in the city every summer. Trumpet great John Faddis' muscular virtuosity in "Tin Tin Deo" set the bar for the ozone-piercing trumpet work of the four regular section members. The defining rhythms of legendary guest artist, conguero Candido Camero, demonstrated that he continues, at the age of 87, to be a grand master who delights in connecting with the audience. Original Village Gate impresario Art D'Lugoff, who serves as a consultant to Salsa Meets Jazz and other productions, was on hand. WBGO's Awilda Rivera was the host for the evening.
On December 1, Salsa Meets Jazz returns to Le Poisson Rouge. Latin Jazz icon Larry Harlow and his orchestra will be joined by guest artist, the renowned baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber.
© 2008 WBGO
July 25, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
WBGO bids farewell to Johnny Griffin, a master jazz musician. Many jazz people referred to Griffin as "The Little Giant," no doubt because of his dimunitive stature (he was a shade below 5 and a half feet tall). The consensus, however, was that Griffin's true stature loomed large in the music. Johnny Griffin could easily fall under the category of "hard bop saxophonist," but to do so would be an injustice. When you listen to the raw muscular sound of early Johnny Griffin records, you can hear a combination of saxophone legend Coleman Hawkins, the rough-and-tumble rhythm and blues of Griffin's Chicago hometown, and some definitive gospel wails. It was a big, combustible sound. One that will be missed.
If you're looking for good music from Griffin, you have plenty of options.
Some suggestions after the jump.
© 2008 WBGO
July 13, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.
Excuse me, but I am about to step up on my soapbox.
I was at a dinner party the other night, and I said that I don't really get out much, My days are long between WBGO and my kids. But then someone at the table mentioned a performer who I had just seen, and then another one and yet another one. . . OK, maybe I get out more than I realized. How lucky am I to live in NY. I just pulled out a list of the events that our marketing crew will be attending this summer- I started to hyperventilate looking over the schedule. Add that to all of the ones that we had to pass on because we simply didn't have enough staff, it is mindboggling. So many great artists- and so much of it is FREE. Simone and Regina Carter FREE thanks to Lincoln Center Out of Doors, James Moody, Cyrus Chestnut, TS Monk FREE at Lincoln Park, Felix Hernandez and Rhythm Revue FREE in Prospect Park as part of a partnership with the Park, Heart of Brooklyn and us here at WBGO on September 27th. The list goes on. Do I take it for granted?
Sound of me climbing onto my soapbox- I write this from a weekend away in another time zone where people whiz by in cars and I seem to go to the movies everytime I visit because that is what art is. That's not a dig to my movie loving/making friends, its just a statement about the lack of choices available here. We metro area NY/NJers sometimes forget just how arts rich are lives are. Even though I work in the arts, I forget too.This is my thank you to all of us who make it our business to insure that the arts are supported. The corporations who despite stock prices tumbling still find room in the budget to underwrite a concert that they know will introduce kids to great music. And that's where WBGO fits into the picture- we make as much of this accessible to those outside of the area with the live broadcasts and interviews that we do, and the blogging too.
So one big group hug- to all who produce, present, and support this great art of live performance- and for those of you who can attend, keep doing your part and support these events.And for those of you in Japan, and California, and Montreal and Korea and London and Texas who read this blog and listen to WBGO- keep your radio on and keep supporting the arts.
Thanks for listening.
© 2008 WBGO
July 11, 2008. Posted by .
Sadly, I will not be attending next week's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. But I did get to experience the DHL All-Star FanFest the day before it opened, and it was sweet. I mean let' be serious - with exhibits including Hall of Fame artifacts, batting cages (some being virtual), and the world's largest baseball, what more could a baseball fan ask for? How about being an arm's length away from the World Series Trophy?
Yes, and to be honest, it's a lot smaller than what George Costanza dragged in the parking lot. If you are a baseball fan, visit the Jacob Javits Center before Tuesday. You can thank me afterward.
© 2008 WBGO