• Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, Tootie Heath: Live At The Village Vanguard

    August 22, 2012. Posted by WBGO.

    L-R: Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, Albert "Tootie" Heath. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    Drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, 77, has certainly played thousands of gigs like this one, where he's hired to bring his casual brilliance to the extended songbook of jazz standards. After all, he played on John Coltrane's first album as a leader, and with every other name in hard bop from the late 1950s onward. In contrast, pianist Ethan Iverson's schedule currently revolves around touring with The Bad Plus, a band whose repertoire almost entirely omits common-practice jazz. But away from the main unit, Iverson makes it a point to play the classics with his musical elders. Bassist Ben Street always provides an able pivot: He has already been asked to play in five other sets for the Live at the Village Vanguard series (including a date with Iverson in the Billy Hart Quartet).

    The promise of a week at New York's Village Vanguard with Iverson and Street lured Heath from his southern California base. One recording of this unit, Live at Smalls, was made in late 2009; here comes another. In a spacious, wry set of standards and blues heads, the trio of Ethan Iverson, Ben Street and Tootie Heath played this set for WBGO and NPR Music's live broadcast.


    • Ethan Iverson, piano
    • Ben Street, bass
    • Tootie Heath, drums

    Set List

    • "South Hampton" (Iverson)
    • "Nice Work If You Can Get It" (Gershwin)
    • "Insensatez" (Jobim)
    • "Shiny Stockings" (Foster)
    • "The Charleston" (Johnson)
    • "Memories Of You" (Blake)
    • "No Moe" (Rollins)
    • "Fire Waltz" (Waldron)
    • "Along Came Betty" (Golson)
    • "It Should've Happened A Long Time Ago" (Motian)
    • "Now's The Time" (Parker)


    Guest Host: Matt Wilson; Supervising Producer: Simon Rentner; Audio Engineer: David Tallacksen; Production Assistant: Michael Downes. Recorded Aug. 22, 2012 at The Village Vanguard in New York, N.Y.

    Read more
  • Heavy Rotation: Chano Dominguez, 'Freddie Freeloader'

    July 5, 2012. Posted by Gary Walker.

    Chano Dominguez. (Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist)

    With Supreme blogger Patrick Jarenwattananon on vacation, we asked jazz music directors from around public radio to highlight songs that have been in heavy rotation at their stations. Today's pick comes from Gary Walker, music director at WBGO in Newark, N.J.

    Read more

  • A Cirque Du Soleil For The Senses: Five Jazz Groups From Montreal

    June 28, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus' latest album, L'âge du cuivre, was just nominated for a Juno Award. (Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist)

    C'est la saison de jazz à Montreal! Starting Thursday night and running through next weekend, Francophone Canada's cultural metropolis hosts its grand prix: the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The self-proclaimed "largest jazz festival in the world" casts a musical spell over the city, across 10 outdoor stages, 15 concert halls and clubs galore with more than 1,000 shows.

    Much of the festival's magic comes from its two million attendees. High society in bow ties and evening gowns peacefully intermingles with young fans in high-top sneakers. Toddlers and old folks dance together in the streets. Brass bands battle across intersections. Jugglers, puppeteers, clowns — street performers of all stripes — compete for your attention. Mix in Montreal's wondrous culinary pleasures, and it's Cirque du Soleil for your senses.

    As for the on-stage talent, it comes from everywhere, but many featured performers have a well-known Canadian connection. The singer-songwriter Rufus Wainright will give a free homecoming concert for an anticipated record-setting crowd. Many of the city's local jazz artists are propped up, too. Here are five to catch.

    Read more