WBGO Blog
  • Tillery + Erik Friedlander's Bonebridge: Live At 92Y Tribeca

    September 27, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Erik Friedlander (left) and Tillery. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    What happens when an improvising cellist decides to pursue the sounds of the American South? Or when three of the most original singers today decide to perform as a trio?

    Bonebridge is the new quartet of cellist Erik Friedlander, who has explored jazz with his New York-based trio for years. Inspired by the blues and Southern rock of his teenage years, his 2011 release Bonebridge added guitarist Doug Wamble — here, playing the resonant slide guitar — for proper down-home flavor.

    Tillery is the pairing of vocalists Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens. All are acclaimed as jazz singers; they've all also written original material with open lines to singer-songwriter folk or modern R&B. The three friends bring their tunes, select covers and guitars to the stage in this collective ensemble.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET, The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca paired Erik Friedlander's Bonebridge and the trio Tillery in a double bill. The concert was broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast at this page on NPR Music. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.

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  • Monterey Jazz 2011: Scott Colley Trio

    September 21, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Chris Potter (right) performs with the Scott Colley Trio at the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: John Whiting for NPR)

    For the penultimate tune in his Monterey Jazz Festival set, bassist Scott Colley called a haunting ballad called "The Peacocks." It gave drummer Antonio Sanchez and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter a chance to inhabit a tune, to dig deeply into a melody and extract its rich marrow. It also afforded Colley a moment to plug the composer — the late, great pianist Jimmy Rowles, who he gigged with as a teenager growing up in Los Angeles. Skip ahead a few decades: Colley, now based in New York, has toured extensively with legends (Carmen McRae, Jim Hall, Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, etc.) and, increasingly, is bringing his own bands on the road.

    Finally, that break in the action allowed him to praise Monterey. Colley had been coming north from L.A. to these same county fairgrounds since he was 12, he told the audience, and clearly relished the opportunity to perform his own music there. Speaking of which, the trio then slammed into a heavy, rock-ish beat on "Take It And Like It," leaving scorched earth and marveled expressions in its wake.

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  • Monterey Jazz 2011: Juan-Carlos Formell And Johnny's Dream Club

    September 21, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Juan-Carlos Formell and Johnny's Dream Club at the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: Cole Thompson/Monterey Jazz Festival)

    There was a lot going on in "Ciudad," the first song of Johnny's Dream Club's Monterey Jazz Festival set: a hint of early New Orleans jazz, tactful modern improvisation, poetic Cuban folk song. It all fit into what was essentially a two-chord song. And over and over, there was the haunting lyric, "Ciudad que se rompe / Cuando acaba la noche": "City that comes apart when the night ends."

    That couplet serves as a microcosm of the band led by Cuban singer-songwriter Juan-Carlos Formell. Based in the U.S. for nearly two decades, he still hardly speaks any English, but his imagination is vivid. He conjured up Johnny's Dream Club as a venue — perhaps a romantic, divey haunt — in a long-lost New Orleans. He picked some of New York's top Latin jazz musicians to fulfill his vision. And he sat at the center, singing and strumming. By the time his second song finished, a dozen-or-so dancing couples had congregated in the back of the Night Club stage, swaying in his dream world.

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