WBGO Blog
  • JazzSet for the Studs Terkel Centenary

    May 4, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    terkelNPRLouis Terkel was born in New York on May 16, 1912, but it's in Chicago that he made his career as a radio host and author. His first book, way back in 1956, was  Giants of Jazz. In the 1970s he had a great success with Working, Hard Times and The Good War.

    Now composer Joshua Moshier  celebrates Terkel with new music that takes the title of Studs's memoir, Touch and Go, as  a musical motif, a jumping off point for a successful suite. The Moshier Lebrun Collective performs, and the composer tells us more of the story on JazzSet.

    Listen Sunday, May 6, at 6pm .. Wednesday, May 9, at 6:30pm .. and don' t forget to pledge! Thank you.

    StudsForBlogTouch and Go: The Studs Terkel Project has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

  • This Week in JazzSet History: Corea, Moran and Michael Brecker

    May 1, 2012. Posted by Alex Ariff.

    Alexander Ariff is a Master's Degree student in Jazz History & Research at Rutgers University . In celebration of 20 years, he digs up and shares special gems from the JazzSet archive.

    This week in JazzSet history, we'll hear clips form two of my favorite pianists and the late-great saxophonist Michael Brecker (1949-2007).

    First, we'll hear from Chick Corea. In 1995, The Jazz Series at Spoleto in Charleston, SC, welcomed Tommy Flanagan,  Karrin Allyson, Pharaoh Sanders, and the ever-astounding Chick Corea. JazzSet broadcast an exclusive Corea solo piano set from the 1995 Spoleto Festival.

    1995 Spoleto Fesival Program (cover)

    Corea took the stage on May 28, 1995, at 10pm, beginning his set with excerpts from his "Children's Songs" then shifting gears into a medley of Thelonious Monk originals. Corea cites Monk, along with Bud Powell, as one of his major influences. His medley shuffled in and out of stride and jagged jolts using a template of tunes including "Monk's Mood," "Pannonica," and "Trinkle Tinkle." Gary Erwin reported in Spoleto Today that “before a huge audience...Corea proved again how supremely technical and soulful he is, even in the naked glare of the solo concert.” Here is an excerpt of "Pannonica."

    Special thanks to producer, Shari Hutchinson and engineers Paul Jacoby and Jeanne Braun for this preserving this piece of spontaneous gold. The intimidatingly diverse Spoleto Festival USA kicks off May 25, 2012.

    Now we'll check out another modern piano master, Jason Moran, and his band The Bandwagon. I thought it appropriate to share a performance he gave at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club on October 15, 2003, given that last year, he was named Artistic Adviser of Jazz for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts . To read more on his induction, here is a report that JazzSet's Becca Pulliam posted this past December. Jason Moran, like Chick, performed a seamless medley of tunes during his set. It began with a tune called "Kinda Dunkish," then phased into an aggressive approach on Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy." The song-stream concluded with Moran's own take on the standard, "Body and Soul." I love his new harmonization of the tune. It takes a minimal approach, giving it a soulful gospel feel for the 21st century. The Bandwagon is Moran, piano; Tarus Mateen, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums.

    Jason Moran ©www.johnabbottphoto.com
    Jason Moran ©www.johnabbottphoto.com

    We'll close out this week's archival dig with the Michael Brecker Quartet from a hit at the Iridium in New York on November 21, 1996. This clip captures the blistering intensity  and precision Brecker brought to the saxophone. We hear a vamp to end of the "Slings and Arrows," and Brecker takes off! The quartet is Brecker, tenor; Joey Calderazzo, piano; James Genus, bass; and his Tain-ness, Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums

  • This Week in JazzSet History: Bill Frisell and Ella + Stevie Spread Sunshine

    April 25, 2012. Posted by Alex Ariff.

    Alexander Ariff is a Master's Degree student in Jazz History & Research at Rutgers University . In celebration of 20 years, he digs up and shares special gems from the JazzSet archive.

    There is something definitively “American” about the two clips this week. JazzSet offers not only music that swings, but jazz's many overlapping elements (world, Latin, funk, soul, etc.) Today is Ella Fitzgerald's birthday so I thought I'd share a special clip featuring two icons, Ella and Stevie Wonder, in one seriously soulful duet. These two icons presented careers to the world of music that certainly bent, if not broke, genre boundaries.

    First, let’s have a dose of one of my favorite guitarists/composers, Bill Frisell.  A personal favorite of mine was his recent release with strings entitled Sign of Life and later this year (August), he’ll be interpreting the music of John Lennon with longtime collaborator and violinist Jenny Scheinman (who just released her own project, Mischief and Mayhem). Also, we'd like to extend a special congratulations to Bill Frisell for being selected as a 2012  Doris Duke Charitable Foundation recipient. In this clip, he is performing near the bluffs above the Iowa River in downtown Iowa City for the 2000 Iowa City Jazz Festival. JazzSet is proud to be a part of this great treasure of the Midwestern jazz scene.  Each year, the festival falls on Fourth of July weekend. Becca Pulliam remembers smelling a storm rolling in during Frisell's set as audience members occupied the street and nearby fire escapes. It must have been a magical Independence Day from the heartland. Frisell was joined by Greg Leisz, slide guitar; David Piltch, bass; Kelly Wolleson, drums. Here is a the full live audio performance of “Egg Radio,” first released in 1998 on Frisell's album Gone, Just Like a Train.

    Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder, 1977, (c) Michael P. Smith Photography

    The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicks off this weekend! This clip is in honor of one of the most authentic festivals and jazz vocalists) in the world. The 1977 festival was a particularly special year. New Orleans native and legendary brass band leader Ernest “Doc” Paulin performed, and a certain 94-year-old pianist called Eubie Blake gave one of his final performances aboard the SS President river boat. But one dream collaboration continues to warm the hearts of many (including JazzSet producer Becca Pulliam): Ella Fitzgerald invited Stevie Wonder on stage during her set to sing Stevie's "You Are The Sunshine of My Life." NPR's Jazz Alive! recorded this performance. It was unheard for decades until JazzSet aired it. And this performance was later released on We Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song. Listen closely to how the two masters trade back and forth and you can distinctively hear Ella's influence on Stevie.