WBGO Blog
  • Elio Villafranca on "Cinque Suite": Listen Now

    February 19, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pianist Elio Villafranca talks with Michael  Bourne about "Cinqué - Suite of the Caribbean," a new work he premieres at Jazz At Lincoln Center Feb. 20 and 21. The suite explores the legacy of rhythms from the Congo in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Enjoy!

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  • Bourne's Mohonk 2015: Winds Of Brubeck

    February 12, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    This is the third of several highlights from this year's Jazz On The Mountain festival.

    Bassist Martin Wind is one of my most regular regulars at JOTM.

    Last year, he played one of the most beautiful concerts ever at Mohonk - a tribute to Bill Evans Turn Out The Stars, which I previewed for WBGO's RADAR when it came out as an album (with an Italian orchestra) last year.

    Photo by Merwin Grossman
    Photo by Merwin Grossman

    For this year, we talked about him playing what he calls "Bass Talk" -  solos, duets, and other groups playing music composed by the great bass players. As he worked on this music, a band evolved with Dave Stryker, Scott Robinson, and drummer Dennis Mackrel.

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    They started with a Sam Jones tune, ended with a Paul Chambers tune, and a beautiful highlight was "What's New?" by bassist Bob Haggart.

    Bassist Chris Brubeck was also slated to perform at Mohonk this year, but could not play. He'd fainted and fallen in the spa. He's okay, but spent the night at the Vassar hospital for tests.

    "Chris Brubeck & Friends" was how the group was advertised, and the "Friends" played on, with Martin Wind filling in on bass.

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    I'd heard the Brubeck Brothers play a great concert in Montreal with Chuck Lamb playing piano. He lives in Denver but was able to come, and he was, as I wanted, spectacular.

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    They played Dave Brubeck classics (for me the tune that turned me on to jazz, "Strange Meadowlark") and originals of Chuck's and guitarist Mike DeMicco's, especially a highlighting song Chuck composed for his lady that danced from his fingers. Scott Robinson joined in on tenor sax for "In Your Own Sweet Way" and on bass sax for "Take Five."

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  • Bourne's Mohonk 2015: Guy & Dave Play The Blues

    February 10, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    This is the second of several highlights from this year's Jazz On The Mountain festival.

    One of my Mohonk regulars a decade ago, guitarist Dave Stryker, came back and opened this year’s JOTM on Friday evening.

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    Dave brought his Eight-Track group -  that's Jared Gold on organ and McClenty Hunter on drums. They were joined by the seriously funky Steve Nelson on vibraharp.

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    They played pop songs of the 70s,  - Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman/Superfly," Glenn Campbell's "Wichita Lineman," "Aquarius" from the musical Hair, and more from their great album, which we previewed on WBGO's RADAR last year.

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    Photo by Cynthia Davis & Byron Smith

    Stryker's next album is a tribute to saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, one of the stars he first played with when he came to New York, and at Mohonk he played one of Mr T's hits, "Salt Song."

    Stryker also worked early on with Jack McDuff, and for Brother Jack he played some climactic blues.

    Photo by Cynthia Davis & Byron Smith
    Photo by Cynthia Davis & Byron Smith

    When singer Guy Davis came to WBGO for an interview on the Blues Hour, I asked him if he'd ever do a show for kids. He said yes - I said Mohonk - and Guy's show for kids and former kids on Saturday morning was sensational.

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    Guy told a story about a fellow escaping a chain gang, running from the hounds, crossing a river, and jumping on a train, all with his voice and harmonica.

    He conducted the kids of all ages in a singalong about "The Chocolate Man."

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    He played a 100-year-old banjo. He was great fun, and he'll be back to Mohonk.

    Coming up next - more Mohonk-y fun with Martin Wind, Scott Robinson and more!