March 4, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Yesterday, we had Grand Pianoramax in our studio. Grand Pianoramax is the meta name for Leo Tardin, a Swiss-born pianist who won the Montreux International Piano Competition in 1999. Leo has discovered an intriguing combination of jazz, breakbeat, and poetry. Grand Pianoramax just finished a tour with the original JB horn, Maceo Parker,who also has a cool new record.
Here's some video of the WBGO session. It's called "Showdown," from the new CD, The Biggest Piano in Town.
This is actually the first take. The second take is the real keeper. You'll be able to hear that when we post the audio of the full session. All three tunes. In the meantime, enjoy this:
© 2008 WBGO
February 11, 2008. Posted by Stevan Smith.
What's going on all!
Welcome to my blog series "DIGGIN' THE CLASSICS"! When new releases in the music world get slow, we all tend to dig into our collections for some vintage pleasure. Join me for my weekly (or whenever I feel like it) quest for soundtrack satisfaction. This is a blog for music lovers! "Walk With Me".
This edition celebrates: A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory (1991)
Tracklisting (Contains Explicit Lyrics):
- Buggin' Out
- Rap Promoter
- Verses From the Abstract
- Show Business
- Vibes and Stuff
- The Infamous Date Rape
- Check the Rhime
- Everything is Fair
- Jazz (We've Got)
This is one of my all-time favorite hip-hop albums. Arguably the best album by Tribe, this project contained a very "jazzy sound" (East Coast hip-hop was James Brown sample crazy before this). This was a very different vibe from the G-Funk gangsta music made popular by Death Row Records at the time.
While I was going through the credits, I noticed that Ron Carter played the bass on track #5 "Verses from the Abstract". Being that I said this is one of my favorite hip hop albums of all time (and I know every lyric), I never noticed that Q-Tip shouts out Ron Carter at the end of the song...."Thanks a lot Ron Carter; on the bass is my man Ron Carter on the bass..". Hey, what can I say...I was caught up in the music.
As far as "jazz rap" goes, The Low End Theory was the bench mark. Though the album contained mostly samples of jazz music, it was the presentation of the package. From the "abstract/poetic" lyrics of Q-Tip, to the more direct delivery of Phife (in his prime I'd might add), this album is as smooth as butter. At the time of it's release, The Low End Theory was named a "5 mic" classic by The Source Magazine.
This release was also responsible for shining a light on the "not yet solo" talents of Busta Rhymes. The song goes down in history as one of hip hop's best "posse cuts."
This album is made classic by it's pure production excellence and it's varied subject matter.
Exhibit A, B, C,.....and so on:
ranked #154 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time
ranked #32 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s"
One of the Top 100 Best Rap Albums of All Time (The Source)
One of the 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century (Vibe magazine)
Here's the video for "We've Got the Jazz":
A classic example of how Jazz & Hip-Hop can co-exist.
© 2008 WBGO
February 4, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
On the eve of Super Tuesday, y'all...
The views expressed in this post, whether directly or indirectly perceived, represent no one in particular.
No matter what candidate you believe in, make it count tomorrow.
It's democracy. You can vote. Yes you can.
© 2008 WBGO
January 28, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Pianist Ryan Cohan brought his quartet into our studio, just before they hit the road. The band is part of The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad, the US Department of State-sponsored tour of young jazz and urban music ensembles. Starting January 30th, The Ryan Cohan Quartet is spending a week in each of the following places - Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Jordan.
We recorded two songs with the quartet. Then we finished the session with solo piano. Check it out below:
© 2008 WBGO