WBGO Blog
  • Marcus Strickland Quartet + Eric Harland's Voyager: Live From 92Y Tribeca

    August 9, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    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.

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  • Ben Williams + Pedro Giraudo: Live From 92Y Tribeca

    July 19, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    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.

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  • Dan Tepfer And Friends: Live At 92Y Tribeca

    June 22, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    Dan Tepfer. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    The jazz pianist Dan Tepfer isn't yet 30, but he's quickly built a reputation for quality — versatility, too. Two years ago, he put out an album of improvised duets with iconic saxophonist Lee Konitz, who's about 55 years his elder. Last year, Tepfer issued Five Pedals Deep, an elegant and modern trio album. (It's his third trio record, actually.) Soon, he'll also release his readings of and improvisations on J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, originally written for solo harpsichord.

    In the debut of The Checkout: Live at 92Y Tribeca concert series, Tepfer showed off these three sides of his musical personality. He played selections from his Goldberg Variations solo. He also called upon his friend and peer, tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger, for a series of duos largely of the compositions of Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz. (Konitz was originally scheduled to perform as the guest of honor, but had to bow out for health reasons.) And he played a sparkling set with his trio, with Joe Martin on bass and Ted Poor on drums.

    In association with Josh Jackson of WBGO's The Checkout, who curates and produces this series, NPR Music featured a live HD video webcast of this concert on Wednesday, June 22.

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