April 9, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
The Village Vanguard is is one of my favorite places in New York. With that simple statement, it gives me great pleasure to introduce WBGO's newest adventure. We're starting a monthly concert series from the legendary jazz club. Our eventual plan is to air the shows live on WBGO, and stream them simultaneously on NPR's Music site. Last night, we took the first of many baby steps.
Guitarist Adam Rogers made his debut as a leader at the Vanguard, and we recorded our initial show for this series. An evening of "firsts," so to speak.
Here's the basic information:
Adam Rogers, guitar
Mark Turner, tenor
Edward Simon, piano
Scott Colley, bass
Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums
Long Ago and Far Away
We also recorded the second set. Someday you'll get to hear that, too! Stay tuned to the blog for more information about WBGO's new series, Live at the Village Vanguard.
© 2008 WBGO
February 20, 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: Yusef Lateef- The Gentle Giant (1972)
1. Nubian Lady
2. Lowland Lullabye
3. Hey Jude
4. Jungle Plum
5. The Poor Fishermen
6. African Song
7. Queen of the Night
8. Below Yellow Bell
Now I will admit, I am really picky when it comes to instrumental recordings. There has to be something powerful about a rhythm that speaks without words. Yusef Lateef is most definitely gifted in this area. Lateef defines his brand of music as "-insert here-", but don't call it jazz. "The Gentle Giant" is evidence of his unique talents. With Lateef playing various instruments (flute, tenor, and oboe) and a 9-minute cover of "Hey Jude" (?), there is enough variety on this album to prevent it from boring the "A.D.D." listener. One stand out track is, "Nubian Lady". The title say's it all. With it's melodic rhythms and ultra cool vibes, songs like these leave no room for words. That would just mess things up.
"I'm smiling, but don't call it jazz fool!"
Another track that stands out is "Queen of the Night" (must be something about the ladies). A funky track that has a bass line tailor made for hip-hop. It is this variety that makes this album one of his most interesting works. This Lp speaks to generations, and most likely opened the door for world music. Some refer to this album as being erratic compared to his prior works. I feel this is just a classic display of any artists' journey to evolve. This album is a honest contribution to the foundation of jaz......I mean "-insert here-". It dares to be different. ...And it is the "different" that makes it an instant classic.
"What do you mean by different?"
© 2008 WBGO
January 12, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
If you've ever listened to Live at the Sands, you've heard Quincy Jones' work with Frank Sinatra. Quincy was, in fact, the arranger for a number of Sinatra recordings. At the NEA Jazz Master Awards Concert, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra had the pleasure of playing some those charts. Kurt Elling had the unenviable position of Chairman of the Board.
Check out what they did together:
Kurt is such a great cat. I watched him backstage, pacing back and forth before the set. Hope he's relaxing now.
- Josh Jackson
© 2008 WBGO
January 2, 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: Donald Byrd- Places and Spaces (1975)
- Change (Make you wanna Hustle)
- Wind Parade
- (Fallin' Like) Dominoes
- Places and Spaces
- You and the Music
- Night Whistler
- Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)
I have only one word to describe this album: SEXY
This is smooth jazz, funky jazz, "clean ya house jazz". I play this when my mood says,"A grown man just got home from work today....and he needs sometime to reflect".
Here's my favorite track off of the album....Wind Parade:
Recorded in the summer of 1975, Places & Spaces continued the influences of Byrd's prior release Street Lady. Exhibiting elements of Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Earth Wind & Fire...let's just say this wouldn't be the darling of a jazz purist. Groovin' guitars, mellow bass, and tantalizing horns makes for a perfect blend of jazz/soul/funk/disco harmony.
Hooking up with the Mizell Brothers, as he did with his last 2 albums, Byrd continued his exploration into jazz-funk. The album was also a hot bed for samples. From acid jazz to hip hop, Places and Spaces also birthed many classics in other genres. For example, Black Moon's "Buck Em Down" Remix. A classic hip hop record of the early 90's that samples Byrd's "Wind Parade."
A part of the Blue Note Records Rare Groove series, Donald Byrd's Places and Spaces demands rotation in your mp3 player. A true classic of the past, present and future.
© 2008 WBGO