WBGO Blog
  • Philip Dizack: What You Learn When You're Older

    October 16, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    Philip Dizack at WBGO, with saxophonist Jake Saslow in the background. (Image Credit: Josh Jackson/WBGO)

    A lot can happen in six years. For Milwaukee-bred trumpeter Philip Dizack, it marked the passage of an era worth documenting in his own artistic chronology.

    "End of an Era represents a moment when what you had is gone," he says about his new album during this session from WBGO's The Checkout. "For me, it's specific things like family relationships that ended. Both of my grandparents passed away. All those things were very personal, but I saw that everyone goes through something. And it's all the same."

    Deep listening brought Dizack to jazz. His father designs home audio environments for audiophile clientele. "When I was younger, my dad would always have people over at our house," Dizack says. "He'd always have new sets of speakers, he'd always be listening to different kinds of music. So I went to bed hearing music playing in my dad's living room."

    Those recordings included some monumental creative output from Miles Davis and Oscar Peterson, as well as new music by trumpeters who had arrived: Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton. "Those were the people I learned from before I even knew I wanted to be a musician," Dizack confirms.

    Dizack brought a quintet to WBGO to play music from End of an Era.

    "I feel like when you're young, and people who are older than you tell you, 'Well, you'll learn when you're older,' this is what you learn," Dizack says. "You learn by going through these experiences and really having to sort through the difficulties of learning and growing as a person."

    Personnel: Philip Dizack, trumpet; Jake Saslow, tenor saxophone; Eden Ladin, piano; Linda Oh, bass; Justin Brown, drums. Recorded Sept. 7, 2012, at WBGO in Newark, N.J.

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  • 'Treme,' Ep. 25: Sugar Boy's Salute

    October 15, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    Big Chief Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters, center) has his Mardi Gras Indian practice interrupted by a visit from members of the Creole Wild West tribe. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    If you're one of the few viewers still confused about what Treme is saying about art, do note this episode's "play-within-a-play" staging of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The existentialist play revolves around two characters, Vladimir (nicknamed Didi) and Estragon (called Gogo), who wait interminably for a mysterious "Godot" by a desolate country road. It's clearly meant to parallel New Orleans residents' wait for essential social services, complete with the barren backdrop of the city post-Katrina. And it's only the latest example of how artists are faster to respond to tragedy than a corrupt bureaucracy could ever be.

    True to Treme form, a company actually staged the play in flood-damaged parts of New Orleans in 2007. Wendell Pierce, who plays Antoine Batiste on Treme, played Vladimir; he was quoted in the New Orleans Times-Picayune as saying: "But I'm trying to find hope, the way Gogo and Didi do in the play. They say they'll go, but they stay. I find that hope where [producer] Paul [Chan] has found it, in the courageous people of New Orleans."

    Speaking of art, WBGO's Josh Jackson and I wrote about this episode's musical performances.

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  • 'Treme,' Ep. 24: Like Donkeys To Water

    October 9, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    The actor Michiel Huisman has actually moved to New Orleans from Amsterdam, much like his character Sonny. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    We've reached episode three of Treme's third season and things are starting to get interesting. Through the Everett, Lt. Colson, Toni Bernette and Nelson storylines, we begin to see how deep police and government corruption runs in New Orleans. Davis is funding his next scheme; Janette is funding her next restaurant; Annie is funding her next musical adventure. The possible endgame for Chief Lambreaux (and by extension, his son) draws near. And a lot of dudes get laid.

    The soundtrack to this week features a number of old-school Louisiana legends. Filling in the gaps, as always, is Josh Jackson of WBGO. Here's our email conversation.

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