December 4, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
It's official - the nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards have been announced. Proof that jazz musicians are versatile? Charlie Haden gets nominated for Best Country Instrumental! Strangest sight? How about drummer Jack DeJohnette in the New Age category!
Nominations are the exclusive domain of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences members, but that doesn't prohibit you from speaking (or writing) your mind. So have your say. Who should have been nominated but wasn't? Who would you pick to win? Be sure to include category and name of artist. Click "Read more" to see the list. Then make your comments.
© 2008 WBGO
March 6, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Dr. Billy Taylor, at 86, is still a great broadcaster. The good doctor has been spreading the jazz message on multiple broadcast platforms for more than half a century. In the 1950s, he was one of the first jazz musicians to have a daily radio program. He also hosted a weekly television show, The Subject is Jazz. He was the jazz correspondent on CBS Sunday Morning. He hosted two NPR programs, Jazz Alive and Jazz at the Kennedy Center. He founded Jazzmobile. And he's had a web presence for the last seven years. Dr. Billy Taylor's website now includes many classic videos culled from an extraordinary life in jazz. Here's one of the many gems you'll discover - a performance with Billy Taylor, Duke Ellington and Willie "The Lion" Smith:
While you're here, dig this interview with Dr. Taylor and WBGO's Gary Walker.
© 2008 WBGO
January 11, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Courtney Pine, the British jazz musicians turned Jazz Crusader for BBC2, presented an evening of British Jazz at IAJE. I missed the first set from Empirical, winner of the 2007 EBU European Jazz Competition. I got there for the band's final notes.
Pine quickly introduced Martin Taylor, who jumped onstage a little early. Since the stagecrew wasn't ready for the band, he entertained the audience with a solo version of "I'm Old Fashioned." Here it is:
I supposed you're predestined to play guitar when your named Martin Taylor, since that's the name of two highly regarded luthiers. Taylor made his first appearance in Toronto 25 years ago. This performance was his return engagement. It's been a while. Here's a cut from the full band:
I was totally blown away by the next act. Kids from Scotland who play like they've been playing together for years. Check this out, and tell me if you think they sound like novices...
The last act, I suppose, represented "the future." Trombonist Dennis Rollins has been raking in the awards in Britain. The music was certainly fun and dance-ready. Occasional references to "Summertime" and "Work Song" notwithstanding, I would call this a tightly arranged ensemble that combines a panoply of styles, including drum-n-bass, jazz, funk, and garage. Hear what I mean:
So there you have it. I guess you can't call this show The British Invasion, since we're technically in Canada, where Queen Elizabeth is the head of state. - Josh
© 2008 WBGO