WBGO Blog
  • On the Scene - Trio 3 and Geri Allen at Jazz Standard

    March 10, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Trio 3 and Geri Allen

    Despite the name, Trio 3 - saxophonist/flutist Oliver Lake, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Andrew Cyrille - are anything but redundant. All are stalwarts of improvised music, each a master on their respective instrument. They just finished a run at Jazz Standard with special guest, pianist Geri Allen.
    Saturday night, the quartet opened their second set with Oliver Lake's original, "Valley Sketches." Lake commanded the full range of his alto saxophone - from growling exhortations to charismatic high register shouts. Other highlights included Allen's "Thank You, Ma'am," and Reggie Workman's "November 1."

    As much I as concentrate on the music, I am equally fascinated with the audience that attends music shows. While there were definitely some fans of the cerebral architecture onstage, this music was an initiation ritual for others. After all, Saturday night is a date night. I watched a youngish couple before the set, eating and drinking, smiling and enjoying each other's company. The blissful oblivion ended minutes after the music began. The further the music went, the farther the couple's intimacy seemed to migrate.

    Don't get me wrong. I never blame the musicians. They do what they do. Trio 3 and Geri Allen may not be music to snuggle to, but it definitely feeds the brain. Music for a date night? Not really, unless your companion is an adventurous listener. Finding that special someone is never easy, but always worth the search. Same with the music.
    -Josh

  • Herbie Wins Highest Grammy Honor

    February 11, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

     herbie-grammy.jpg

    Like many of you, I was home last night watching the Grammys.  I started not to watch it, because often times it's long, tedious, and not very interesting.  At least for someone like me who doesn't listen to a whole lot of mainstream music.  But it was a Sunday night, and I was routing for a few albums, and so I thought...why not?  I ordered up my dinner and plopped in front of the screen.

    As I was watching the red carpet special, the E! host caught up with Herbie Hancock.  Herbie mentioned to the host that it had been 43 years since a Jazz album won the overall Best Album category.  Well, the Grammys have only been around for 50!  That really blew my mind.  I then began to really think about that and frankly, it truly bothered me.  I knew that the lack of well-rounded programming on the Grammys was always frustrating to me and many others, but Herbie's comment really put it into perspective for me.  I mean, think about it...I don't think I've ever just seen a quartet or a quintet just burn out on a Grammy stage.  Jazz is always packaged in some cheesy, or watered-down package on mainstream award shows.  Bad enough that the Jazz categories don't get televised!  Then when they DO show jazz-type performances, they are so "Vaudevilled" out, that it's no wonder that the masses (especially a lot of young folks) don't become necessarily interested in Jazz...the representations are all wrong!

    OK, now that I'm done venting, let's talk about some of the highlights for me, and the things I'm very proud of about this year's Grammys.

    HERBIE HANCOCK WON THE GRAMMY FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
    YES!!!! And well deserved.  It was not "stolen" as I've read a couple places in the press this morning.  I thought it was so commendable on the behalf of the academy to recognize Herbie in this way.  I think the young artists - Winehouse, Kanye and the like, needed that.  The music industry at large needed that.  They needed to see where so much of their inspiration comes from.  And that at 67, Herbie is still a giant among giants.  You don't have to check out Maiden Voyage or Empyrean Isles to know just how bad this cat is (though I strongly suggest everyone does).  He is always one to be contended with because he remains ahead of his time.  And River: The Joni Letters, is just a beautiful album.

    Another special highlight for me was Terence Blanchard getting the Grammy for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album for his
    A Tale of God's Will: A Requiem for Katrina.  This album is truly special, and I'm so glad it was acknowledged in this way.  I was also happy for the late Michael Brecker to be honored.

    I hope that Herbie's high-profile victory will open up the discussion about the importance of Jazz, and spark the programming folks at the Grammy's to consider including more Jazz performances, and exposing the thriving genre to a lot of folks that need to be hipped...and would greatly enjoy appreciate the music.

    Congratulations to everyone!

    Here's a list of all the winners

  • 2nd Annual Brooklyn Jazz Underground Festival

    January 16, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Brooklyn Jazz Underground

    You'll find a lot of good new music Thursday through Saturday nights at Smalls. All of it from Brooklyn residents. The Brooklyn Jazz Underground celebrates their 2nd Annual Festival with a bunch of shows at the affordable (!) jazz hang in the West Village.
    Here's the schedule:

    Thursday, January 17
    8:00 PM: ANNE METTE IVERSEN QUARTET
    Anne Mette Iversen (bass), John Ellis (saxophones), Danny Grissett (piano), Otis Brown III (drums)

    10:00 PM: ALAN FERBER NONET
    Alan Ferber (trombone), Scott Wendholt (trumpet), Will Vinson (alto sax), Chris Cheek (tenor sax)
    Douglas Yates (bass clarinet), Nate Radley (guitar), Bryn Roberts (piano), Matt Clohesy (bass), Mark Ferber (drums)

    12:00 AM: EMER/LACKNER/BERNARD BAND with Mark Ferber
    Benny Lackner (piano), Will Bernard (guitar), Andrew Emer (bass), Mark Ferber (drums)

    Friday, January 18
    8:00 PM: DAN PRATT ORGAN QUARTET
    Dan Pratt (tenor sax), Alan Ferber (trombone), Jared Gold (bass), Mark Ferber (drums)

    10:00 PM: JEROME SABBAGH QUARTET
    Jerome Sabbagh (tenor sax), Ben Monder (guitar), Joe Martin (bass), Ted Poor (drums)

    12:00 AM: SUNNY JAIN COLLECTIVE
    Sunny Jain (drums), Steve Welsh (tenor sax), Marc Cary (piano), Gary Wang (bass)

    Saturday, January 19
    8:00 PM: ALEXIS CUADRADO PUZZLES QUARTET
    Alexis Cuadrado (bass), Loren Stillman (alto sax), Brad Shepik (guitar), Mark Ferber (drums)

    10:00 PM: TED POOR & BAD TOUCH
    Ted Poor (drums), Loren Stillman (alto sax), Nate Radley (guitar), Gary Versace (piano/organ)

    12:00 AM: TANYA KALMANOVITCH'S GIRLFIGHT
    Tanya Kalmanovitch (viola/violin), Jacob Wick (trumpet), Aryeh Kobrinsky (bass),
    Jonathan Goldberger (guitar), Fred Kennedy (drums)

    - Josh Jackson