July 6, 2011. Posted by Brandy Wood.
Last month, The Checkout: Live at 92Y Tribeca made its debut. The first performance in this new series featured Dan Tepfer and Noah Preminger. You can hear excerpts from that performance during The Checkout on July 19, 6:30pm on WBGO Jazz88.3FM and online at wbgo.org.The next installment takes place Tuesday, July 19 at 8pm with Ben Williams Sound Effect and Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra
“By definition the bass player is a pivotal figure in jazz, a steward of tonality as well as tempo. Determining a good one can require close listening: that quality reveals itself in the cohesion of the band as well as in the handling of line and phrase. All of this was accounted for in Mr. Williams’s set, which also involved a pair of harmonically sound original compositions and a balance of tradition and novelty.” -Nate Chinen, New York Times
Washington, DC-born, New York-based bassist Ben Williams’ is celebrating the release of his debut album State of Art out on Concord Jazz. The album is a result of Williams’ first prize in the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Competition for double-bass. Recently, Williams has been touring with vibraphonist Stefon Harris & Blackout, a R&B and hip-hop-tinged group, which calls on Williams’ unique connection with go-go, from his native Washington, DC to inform its sound and pianist Jacky Terrasson’s Trio. State of Art marks Williams’ first album as a leader and features tenor/soprano saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Matthew Stevens, keyboardist Gerald Clayton, drummer Jamire Williams (who also appeared with the bassist on Terrasson’s Push) and percussionist Etienne Charles, joined on three tracks by alto/soprano saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.
“An opulent listening experience of modern, orchestral jazz, brimming with passionate improvisations, deliberate contrapuntal melodies and plush harmonies.” — John Murph, DownBeat Magazine
Since his arrival in New York in 1996, Pedro Giraudo has performed and recorded in a wide variety of musical projects and prominent ensembles, ranging from tango to jazz, in addition to his own Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra. He has collaborated with 9-time Grammy® award winner Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy® award winner Pablo Ziegler, Latin American icon Ruben Blades, as well as with Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Regina Carter, among many others and has performed in venues such as The Blue Note (Japan & USA), Birdland (Austria & USA), Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Iridium, Jazz Standard, Jazz Gallery, Blue Note, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall (NYC). His latest CD, his fifth, is titled Córdoba — the name of his home city and province in Argentina— released in June 2011 on the ZOHO Music label.
Tune in, log on , or stop by to listen.
© 2011 WBGO
July 24, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Today is the 87th birthday of a jazz legend - Dr. Billy Taylor. Last night, on the eve of this very special day, Dr. T was one of several featured pianists at the 92nd Street Y in the Jazz in July series. He likes the name of that series because he came up with it himself when he helped to found a summer program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Just this month, Taylor quietly stepped down from his Jazz in July, and U Mass expressed gratitude for many summers on its website. Click to read the story.
Also this summer, Taylor is involved in a development right here in our town. Now we have a Brick City branch of Jazzmobile, the teaching organization he helped found in Harlem. Newark Jazzmobile is named for the late bassist Earl May, who first proposed it but did not live to see it happen. Click here for the Jazzmobile schedule. Houston Person plays tonight at Mildred Helms Park in the South Ward! Click and hear Billy Taylor play "A Night in Tunisia" on WBGO's (then) new Steinway, live on the air in the 1980s. Another Great Live Moment from WBGO.
© 2008 WBGO
July 1, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
I typically steer clear of superlatives when I write about musicians. My opinion is no less valid than any listener's opinion. That's one reason why I would never consider myself a critic. Just an advocate, really. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you that Roy Haynes is the greatest living jazz drummer. There. I said it. And I'm not just basing this on his accumulated career - you know, the 50+ years of playing with every major innovator since the late 1940s. Truth be told, Roy Haynes is eternally youthful, and he's still a badass. In July 1987, when Roy was a cool 62 years old (retirement age for the lucky few), he brought his quartet to Riverside Park in New York. WBGO recorded it for posterity, including this lovely jam on "All Blues." Donald Harrison is the saxophonist, Dave Kikoski played piano, Ed Howard is the bassist.
And the leader...Roy...(tap tap tap)...Haynes...
Click here to listen.
© 2008 WBGO
June 30, 2008. Posted by Michael Bourne.
Day Three Saturday June 28th
Rainy but not raining, what Michele says folks in the Northwest call "spitting." Were it not wet I might've enjoyed the first group to be judged, a generic quartet fronted by saxist Jerrold Dubyk. All of these groups are good enough to be up for the prize, but only a few have that unique "thing" (tunes, grooves, presence, a character or sound) that elevates them into a winner. Dubyk's group was more or less the same as about half the groups in the competition -- except for the electric bass player's solo, which was only notes up and down the scale. "I don't want to be prejudicial," I said to some of the other judges, "but that was the worst bass solo I've ever heard." And they expressed consensus.
Group #5 is a contender: WAZA, a trio with electric keys, electric bass, and an electrifying drummer. They played solid and quite compositional grooves, especially from the drummer. They were fun to listen to, as if listening to really hip toys. After a thunderstorm of funk from the bassist, Nancy, one of the judges, said "Now that was a bass solo!"
Hank Jones was joined for duets by Brad Mehldau, and the interplay was wonderful. Hank played melodies or only changes elegantly while Brad danced around and through -- danced like Barishnykov.
"Night in Tunisia" they played at first fragmented, but then Dizzy's tune blossomed. Hank's solo of "The Very Thought of You" was so deeply beautiful that Brad mostly listened, enraptured. Hank was again whimsically witty about which song they'd play next, or which piano they'd play. "Just One of Those Things" was a joyful finale, and I could hear the lyric: "it was great fun!"
© 2008 WBGO
June 30, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
In 1998, Branford Marsalis was the host of JazzSet. He was also the leader of an amazing jazz quartet. In August of that year, they played a concert at Washington Square Park in New York. WBGO was there to capture the performance.
I remember seeing this band at the Chicago Jazz Festival, just a few weeks after this recording. Branford, along with bassist Eric Revis, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, and the late pianist Kenny Kirkland had the unique ability to pin you to your seat for more than an hour. The music was relentless, whether it was some burnout tune or a ballad. Kenny Kirkland's "Mr. J.C." is a great example of the former. Enjoy the blistering solos from Kenny and Branford. Click here to listen.
© 2008 WBGO