WBGO Blog
  • Craig Taborn Quintet: Live In Concert

    June 17, 2010. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    image
    Craig Taborn. (Image Credit: John Rogers/johnrogersnyc.com)

    Free Download: Click here to download this concert. [Windows: Right-Click and "Save Link As"; Mac: Control-Click And "Save Link As"]

    Fearless keyboardist Craig Taborn, prolific on acoustic piano as well as electric pianos and synthesizers, has a gift: making experimental improvisation immediately enjoyable. For this, he has long backed many of the most forward-thinking improvisers on the planet, including James Carter, Tim Berne, Chris Potter and Dave Douglas.

    He's so in-demand that he rarely gets the chance to perform as a leader of his own bands, despite a series of critically acclaimed recordings under his own name. Thursday presented a chance for him to demonstrate to a U.S. audience his compositional vision. As part of the CareFusion Jazz Festival New York, he presented four new, yet untitled works with a new quintet at the Jazz Gallery, the intimate Manhattan venue where he had often appeared -- but never under his own name.

    WBGO and NPR Music hosted a live webcast of the Craig Taborn quintet online on this page. A downloadable recording is available above.

    Read more

  • 'Treme,' Ep. 9: One Moment, Please

    June 14, 2010. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    image
    Professor Creighton Bernette (John Goodman), "enjoying" a moment with his class. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    Davis: "There are so many beautiful moments here."
    Janette: "They're just moments. They're not a life."

    Within the song-and-dance pageantry, there's an extended discussion about the nature of art going on in Treme. In one corner, there's the default belief that art is a leisure activity which stands in the way of life: where making music, or preparing haute cuisine, or writing novels is seen as an unsustainable, even irresponsible way to go about paying your bills and feeding your kids. In the other, there's the New Orleans sentiment that art happens every day, all the time; that art is life.

    It's one of the show's central conflicts: musicians and other cultural artists are constantly hustling to justify their collective existence. But in episode nine, it's especially strong: Antoine and Creighton both have children to raise; Albert has to keep a day job to support his hobby; Janette has too many expenses to pay; Davis has a very evident blindness to the consequences of his hedonism; Annie and Sonny have a fractious relationship apart from performing. The arrival of Janette's parents, the payment negotiation scene with Jon Cleary, the manual labor of Albert's young charge, and the hard-working Texas carpenter only sets this into further relief. And by the end, the struggle to create art seems to have pushed at least one character to a breaking point.

    Josh Jackson returns here to write about all this, and the music to boot. Our Treme archives are here; HBO's full playlist is here.

    Read more

  • 'Treme,' Ep. 8: Home For Mardi Gras

    June 7, 2010. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    image
    Members of the Creole Osceola Mardi Gras Indians. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    Episode 8 of Treme takes place on Fat Tuesday and the two days preceding it. Enough said.

    To talk about the soundtrack and anything else, New Orleans native Josh Jackson of WBGO joins me again via e-mail. HBO's full playlist is here.

    Read more