February 1, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Yes, it's a commercial for beer...What else do they try to sell during football games? But check out the great set location. It's the Village Vanguard! Right after we finished our December broadcast of the Cedar Walton Trio, a crew of seventeen people, not including actors, took over the club and created this thirty second ad with John Turturro.
© 2009 WBGO
July 31, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Earlier this summer, WBGO launched NPR's first concert series of live jazz webcasts, "Live at the Village Vanguard," which offers monthly shows from the legendary New York City venue. Next weekend, August 9 and 10, WBGO and NPR Music are teaming up to live webcast main stage acts from the JVC Jazz Festival Newport. On the bill are legendary pianist Herbie Hancock; producer, performer and Jazz Festival founder George Wein; guitarist Howard Alden; along with rising jazz stars Esperanza Spalding and Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos. I'll be your host. Should be fun.
Check out one of my favorite performances captured at Newport.
© 2008 WBGO
March 17, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
As the luck of the Irish would have it, Nathaniel Adams Cole , aka Nat King Cole, was born on this date. Most people know him more as the singer of "Nature Boy" than of "Danny Boy."
I think I love Nat Cole's piano playing as much as, if not more than, I love his smoky voice. Years ago, I spent college scholarship money on the 18-CD set on Mosaic Records, The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio. 349 songs from 1942-1961. Now out of print...
I suppose that technically counted as an education expense, right?
Anyway, here's a video of Nat Cole playing "Tea for Two." Listen for the "Foggy Day" quote in his introduction, and to his "Rhapsody in Blue" reference in his solo. - Josh
© 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
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