November 16, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
A vibraphonist from down the turnpike in Baltimore; a guitarist from across the pond in Norway. Both have dedicated themselves to hard-swinging jazz of the highest order, and both journeyed to downtown Manhattan to lead bands in the next installment of The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca.
Warren Wolf is best known as a vibraphonist — notably, on his 2011 self-titled album, and as the malletman in Christian McBride's Inside Straight band. Plenty of musicians know him also as a drummer or as a pianist; he's toured and recorded in both capacities. After studying, then teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he moved back to Baltimore — the place where he met several of the musicians joining him on stage here.
Lage Lund came to New York City in 2002 — after a stint at Berklee — and he quickly found his way into the jazz scene. His chops and vision won him the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2005. He's been able to lead more bands lately; in 2010, he issued Unlikely Stories, a disc of original tunes, followed up with a live trio set this year called Small Club, Big City. He brings a band of first-call New York musicians to the date.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, The Checkout: Live series paired the bands of Lage Lund and Warren Wolf in a double bill, in performance at 92Y Tribeca. The concert was broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast at this page on NPR Music, with a live online chat. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
© 2011 WBGO
October 26, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.
What would it sound like if a jazz bassist who scores films and arranges for live hip-hop and R&B were to put together his own record? What's next for a twenty-something pianist, already one of the great composers of his generation, now that he has a completely new band and repertoire for it?
Pianist Aaron Parks — once a Blue Note recording artist, and the "A" in the collective band James Farm — has for some time been brewing up a new project. Intriguingly, Pete Rende will be playing analog synthesizers, making for a two-keyboard lineup with bass (Chris Smith) and drums (Marlon Browden). The band has a collection of original tunes, all relatively new; it's yet unrecorded, though when it comes time to document the stuff, Rende's experience as a recording engineer may come in handy.
Bassist Derrick Hodge plays mean straight-ahead jazz on the acoustic bass — notably, he and Parks served together in Terence Blanchard's quintet. But he's also a film composer like Blanchard, and the electric bassist of choice for many a hip-hop or R&B artist. (He's currently the musical director for Maxwell.) His unclassifiable debut album, Live Today, is soon to be released; it features an even wider palette of references, including gospel, singer-songwriter music and funk. The band he's assembled for this occasion can follow him to all those places.
On Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. ET, The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca paired the bands of Aaron Parks and Derrick Hodge in a double bill. The concert was broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast at this page on NPR Music, with live online chat. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
© 2011 WBGO
September 27, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.
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.
© 2011 WBGO
August 9, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.Marcus Strickland (left) and Eric Harland, during their bands' performances at 92Y Tribeca. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)
This installment of The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca features two heavy hitters. Saxophonist Marcus Strickland's upcoming double album Triumph of the Heavy, Vol. 1 & 2 is so named because it seeks the weight of substance and integrity. Drummer Eric Harland pounds the skins with heft and finesse alike; now in his mid-30s, he's already played on a lifetime's worth of records.
Perhaps you know Strickland from the bands of Roy Haynes, Dave Douglas and Jeff "Tain" Watts. Perhaps you know Harland from bands of Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, McCoy Tyner or Joshua Redman. You get the point: The biggest jazz musicians want these guys for their bands.
Strickland and Harland are beginning to emerge as bandleaders themselves. Strickland has been working with a quartet; it features the lean muscularity of his horn and is grounded by rapport with his twin brother, drummer E.J. Strickland. Harland has just released his debut CD as a leader in the U.S.: Voyager: Live By Night highlights the polychromatic firestorm of his playing as he drives a crackling young band.
The Marcus Strickland Quartet and Eric Harland's Voyager quintet performed a live radio broadcast and online video webcast on WBGO's The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca Tuesday, Aug. 9.
© 2011 WBGO
July 19, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.Ben Williams (left) and Pedro Giraudo lead their bands at 92Y Tribeca. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)
It's the bassist's role in jazz to know the time and place; to anchor a band rhythmically and guide it through a song. The young bassists Pedro Giraudo and Ben Williams are quite adept at all that, but when they lead their own bands, they have an even broader sense of time and place.
The new album from the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra, 13 or 14 pieces strong, is called Córdoba. It takes its name from Giraudo's hometown in Argentina, and borrows architecture from Argentine tango and folk rhythms in service of color-rich modern jazz ends. Ben Williams has a new record, too, his first. State of Art is a jazz record which alludes heavily to the street sounds of his native Washington, D.C., where go-go still abuts R&B, hip-hop and organic soul. And, like Giraudo, Williams' band also brings together some of New York's hottest under-40 (and often under-30) talent.
For the latest edition of The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca, WBGO and NPR Music presented the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra and Ben Williams and Sound Effect, live in concert. Look for a full audio recording soon.
© 2011 WBGO