March 12, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
I am a city dweller, plagued by the New Yorker bias. That is, I very rarely go to New Jersey for anything other than to work at WBGO. However, I am not so entrenched that I won't shake my preconceptions for the right set of circumstances. So last night, I ventured to SOPAC for a performance from the SF Jazz Collective, a pride of eight musicians of the highest caliber.
Each year, the collective features original commissions, as well as arrangements of a noted modern jazz composer. This season, the band turns their all-seeing eye on composer and saxophonist (and Newark native) Wayne Shorter.
The end of time was the beginning of the set. Saxophonist Miguel Zenon's arrangement of Shorter's "Armegeddon" set us on the trailhead.
Here's what followed:
This That and the Other - a Joe Lovano original
The Angel's Share - penned by Matt Penman, a New Zealand import
Diana - from Shorter's Native Dancer, arranged by Renee Rosnes
Go - Stefon Harris arranged this Shorter composition with some backbeat boom bap. Great way to end the first half.
The second set pushed ahead into the abstract, modern aesthetic that makes the collective such a great band to hear. Drummer Eric Harland's "The Year 2008" set the tone, a composition built around a recorded vocal chant, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Rosnes' "Aurora Borealis" followed. Trumpeter Dave Douglas contributed "Secrets of the Code," an original work that used snippets of Wayne Shorter's music as source code embedded as a thread throughout the composition. Great stuff. The newest member of the collective, trombonist Robin Eubanks, ended the evening with his arrangement of Shorter's "Black Nile."
Only two complaints. The piano monitor levels in the house made the trombone articulation inaudible. That's just the music nerd in me. The other issue is this: I could not hear all of the band's repertoire in a single night. The SF Jazz Collective had more music in the kitty, but I'll have to see them again to hear the rest. Will do.
© 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
January 8, 2008. Posted by Grey Johnson.
WBGO staff were invited to attend a game at the new Newark Arena as guests of the NJ Ironmen. Membership Manager Grey Johnson brought his ten year old daughter and avid soccer player, Georgie. This is her report.
I went to the Newark Arena last night to see a professional soccer game. Let me tell you something, it was the best night of my life! The teams were the New Jersey Ironmen against the Detroit Ignition. Unfortunately, the NJ Ironmen lost. But the competition was still great! The soccer field was huge but the teams were very good at the passing, goalkeeping and kicking, [they could kick the ball across the whole field with one kick!] I loved this building, everything is so modern! They do concerts, hockey, soccer, and more in this building. When I heard this news, I wondered how they changed the arena from a stage into a soccer field into an ice rink in only two hours! Luckily, I came across a woman who worked at the arena that could tell me the answer. She said that the soccer field was a rug that people roll up after the game is over. Under that soccer field, is a coat of ice, and under the ice is wood. If they want to make it into a stage, they melt the ice and put in a stage. Everyone was very nice to me too.
© 2008 WBGO