March 1, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Today is the birthday of drummer Barrett Deems, called "The World's Fastest Drummer" by his contemporaries Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. I can't say that I would call Barrett Deems a jazz giant, but I always found him entertaining. Have you ever seen High Society with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong? If you answered yes, then you've seen Barrett Deems. He played drums for Louis Armstrong's All-Stars during the 1950s, and his hyperkinetic drumming was an excellent foil to the super-cool swing of Pops.
Here's "The World's Fastest Drummer" playing the drums, the stage, and a chair.
© 2008 WBGO
February 27, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
It's the birthday of saxophonist Dexter Gordon, who holds a special place in the hearts of many people at WBGO. Perhaps no one here knew him better than our station mother, Dorthaan Kirk. Here's a story she just told me:
I met Dexter when I was touring Europe with Rahsaan Roland Kirk's band. Rahsaan loved Dexter, so I knew the name and the music before I ever met him. Anyway, we had some time off, so we went to Copenhagen. We saw an early concert at Tivoli Gardens with the Basie Band, then we joined some of Basie's guys and headed for the Club Montmartre. Copenhagen was Dexter's home, and he played that club all the time.
I remember so much about that evening. Dexter was wearing a blue jean suit. It was definitely the 70s! At the end of the night, it's 3 or 4am, and all of the musicians are at the bar. I'm keeping to myself, mostly, while all the guys are carrying on. Long, tall, and handsome as can be, Dexter walks out of the kitchen, comes right up to me, and says, "Who are you?" I was practically speechless, which you know never happens...
From that night on, Dexter always called me "Miss Rahsaan." I sure do miss him.
Here's Dexter playing Sonny Stitt's "Loose Walk" in Amsterdam, with a Swiss trio - George Gruntz piano, Guy Pederson bass and drummer Daniel Humair:
© 2008 WBGO
January 29, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
If you missed it, you can listen to some selections from the live concert here:
© 2008 WBGO
January 18, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
"It's what it is in that moment." That's singer Dianne Reeves' definition of jazz.
Dianne Reeves is on her way home to Colorado today. She has just finished the final touches of her new recording, When You Know.
It comes out April 15th - so pick up a copy when you drop off your taxes.
Dianne has won multiple Grammys - for her live recording, In the Moment. For her tribute to Newark's own Sarah Vaughan, The Calling (Dianne's favorite). For her soundtrack to the film Goodnight and Good Luck. And when it comes to matters of love, there are few singers in jazz with the emotional depth of Dianne Reeves. So it is not surprising that the new record is a cycle of love songs. When You Know ends with the title track, a song about Dianne's spiritual connection. It also includes jazz versions of The Temptations' "Just My Imagination" and Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You," innocent love songs that Dianne remembers as a child.
Can't wait until the record comes out? You're in luck. Dianne and her band (pianist Geoff Keezer, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Reginald Veal, and drummer Greg Hutchinson) will debut the music live in concert - when else? - Valentine's Night at The Apollo.
- Josh Jackson
© 2008 WBGO
January 10, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Face it. You gotta be bold when you're a piano player, your last name is Goldberg, and you're playing in Toronto. More specifically, if you're Aaron Goldberg, and you're playing across the street from the CBC's Glenn Gould Studio, named after Toronto's famous son who OWNS Bach's Goldberg Variations. But I'm getting off topic.
The Aaron Goldberg Trio, with bassist Rueben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, played some bold music. After opening with "Taurus" from the Sunnyside trio release, Worlds, Aaron called the quarterback option - his composition, "The Sound of Snow." It's from, of all things, the CD that accompanies the Baby Loves Jazz board book series. Specifically, from Mingus Mouse Christmas Time.
Eric Harland left his house at 6am. His flight from New York to Toronto was cancelled. Then he went to Newark. Then his flight was delayed. And delayed. So, He didn't get to Toronto until 6:30pm. The hit was 7pm at the Bassett Theater. Glad he made it thru customs!
Check out Eric's mini-clinic on "Shed," a song dedicated to Joshua "Shedroff" Redman.
And the last one was a burner.
More on the way. - Josh
© 2008 WBGO