• 'Treme' Ep. 23: Long Black Lines

    October 2, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    DJ Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn) interviews John Boutte about an unreleased recording of his. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    For all the plot development in the series' infancy, last Sunday's episode of Treme was unusually saturated in live performances. The second half of the episode, especially, seemed like one concert after another. Here with me to recap the musical goings-on is WBGO's Josh Jackson.

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  • Five Essential Bud Powell Recordings

    September 27, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano. (Image Credit: Metronome/Getty Images)

    Ever wish you could travel back in time to New York's 52nd Street — circa 1950, during the heyday of bebop — and whisper into Charlie Parker, or Dizzy Gillespie, or Thelonious Monk's ear, and ask them: Who was their favorite pianist to listen to? They would all give the same answer: Bud Powell.

    The story of Powell's extraordinary genius is often fantastically rendered in jazz lore. His life was chaotic and improbable, but more often misunderstood. Most often, his music was mesmerizing. In the new book Wail: The Life of Bud Powell, biographer Peter Pullman breaks down the myths and mysteries, revealing the complicated, sometimes tragic social circumstances that conspired to vanquish Powell's art. But the book also emphasizes the brilliance of a desperately uncompromising artist.

    Pullman recently stopped by WBGO to celebrate what would have been Powell's 88th birthday, joining historian Dan Morgenstern to share notable recordings and excerpts from his book. Here's a list of Pullman's five essential Bud Powell recordings.

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  • 'Treme,' Ep. 22: 'Dem Songs Is Gonna Stand, Son'

    September 25, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce) plays in a tribute to tuba player Kerwin James. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    If you've been watching the HBO series Treme with us, welcome back.

    If you're new here, welcome in the first place. WBGO's Josh Jackson, a New Orleans native, and I have been watching the music-saturated program set in post-Katrina New Orleans for two years now. After every episode, we try to establish some context for the many musical references and live performances the show features.

    As the show enters its third season, two years after Hurricane Katrina, the story remains much the same: Cultural survival is at stake. Here's the email dialogue Josh and I had.

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