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
January 2, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.
2007 is ending, and though this year was pretty dry in my humble opinion, it was a GREAT year for music. Here are my favorite albums of 2007. I hope you'll check some of them out. And maybe some of these are your favorites, too!
Terence Blanchard - A Tale of God's Will: A Requiem for Katrina (Blue Note)
Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature (Peacefrog)
Radiohead - In Rainbows (Radiohead)
Robert Glasper - In My Element (Blue Note)
Kendrick Scott Oracle - The Source (World Culture Music)
Charles Mingus Sextet w/ Eric Dolphy - Cornell 1964 (Blue Note)
Common - Finding Forever (Geffen)
Mike Moreno - Between the Lines (World Culture Music)
Many of the people on my list are fantastic, young jazz musicians who are blazing the trails of this music. I can't wait to see what's in store for 2008 from some of my favorite artists!
© 2008 WBGO
December 31, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
There's some serious talent on the stage tonight.
Trio da Paz are Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka da Fonseca on percussion. They are some of the best Brazilian jazz musicians on the scene. When you want samba, bossa nova, and other native Brazilian styles fused with jazz improvisation, these are your go-to guys. Singers Pamela Driggs and Maucha Adnet will each join the trio for a song before midnight.
Kenny Barron is a certifiable jazz master, for sure (it's time for the NEA to recognize this). He's played with Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Hall, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz and a slew of other great musicians. His work in Gillespie's 1960s Quintet with James Moody is outstanding. The final records with Getz are worth having, especially People Time, the sax and piano duets. The duet recording with bassist Charlie Haden, Night and the City, is a not-so-distant classic. Kenny Barron was also a part of Sphere, the Thelonious Monk tribute group that became its own thing.
Did I mention that he taught music at Rutgers University in Newark for 27 years? I'll leave the rest out for you to discover. There's plenty more.
Kenny Barron and his wife used to go to the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday mornings. At noon, they'd visit a nearby café for Brazilian food and a great trio. Kenny was digging Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka da Fonseca on drums. aka Trio da Paz. In 2002, these four recorded a CD together. It's called Canta Brasil.
Kenny Barron and Trio da Paz have a lot of chemistry. Stay tuned.
© 2007 WBGO