March 7, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Trumpeter Takuya Kuroda plays selections from his new Blue Note CD "Rising Son" live at WBGO with Corey King on trombone, Takeshi Ohbayashi on keyboards, Rashaan Carter on bass and Adam Jackson, drums. Enjoy!
© 2014 WBGO
February 25, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Drummer Mark Guiliana talks with WBGO's Josh Jackson about Mehliana, his electronic duo project with Brad Mehldau on keyboards, and their new album Taming the Dragon, released by Nonesuch Records Feb. 25, 2014. Enjoy!
© 2014 WBGO
February 3, 2014. Posted by Chris Dennison.
Argentine composer Guillermo Klein’s stateside visits have been rare treats since 2000, when he left New York for his homeland and beyond. Klein is back – enjoy this video of Klein's performance, from our live audio and video broadcast of the event on January 29.
Klein peformed music he wrote to perform for this homecoming with members of his signature large ensemble, Los Guachos, which includes fellow Berklee alums trumpeter Richard Nant and bassist Fernando Huergo, as well as saxophonist Bill McHenry and drummer Jeff Ballard. They were joined by current Berklee students, whom Klein coached over Skype, to form a 14-piece group.
Klein combines elements of Argentinean folk traditions with contemporary jazz and an attitude that embraces freedom. He draws from a sonic palette which may surprise the jazz ear: these include effects-laden guitars, unexpected combinations of human voices, and even whistling, as on his piece “Fiu” from his 2005 album Una Nave.
Klein’s ability to compose fluid pieces with changing time signatures is particularly striking: he utilizes unpredictable rhythmic elements and odd meters, which he traces in part to his childhood in Argentina, where the hemiola, or “3 against 2” pattern, is a common element.
This tension in time can be heard on “El Rio” from Una Nave, and also on “Miula,” from the 2008 album Filtros. Even when a piece has a straightforward organization of beats, Klein’s interlocking polyrhythmic phrases create emotive tensions and releases. However, his pieces generally maintain consistent grooves, making them sound natural and highly accessible despite their rhythmic complexity.
While the rhythmic elegance of Klein’s music is remarkable, his range in melody and harmony are equally impressive: he composes energetic, jagged, angular piano lines, as on “Argentina” from Una Nave, as well as passages of rich, subtle beauty, as in the restrained melody of “Yesu” and the harmony of “Louange à l'éternité de Jésus,” both from Filtros.
With so few performances stateside in recent years, Guillermo’s Berklee homecoming this Wednesday is not to be missed. Enjoy, and join us for our live broadcasts of the best new jazz from Berklee's Café 939 in Boston every month!
© 2014 WBGO
January 5, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
Listen now to pianists Robert Glasper and Jason Moran talk with Josh Jackson about their Jan. 8 concert at New York's Town Hall to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Blue Note Records, part of the 2014 New York Winter Jazz Festival.
Jackson will host the Jan. 8 concert, and got the party started early with a hilarious conversation that touched on everything from double octaves to how to play jazz for the hip-hop generation.
"Just thinking outside the box and saying, 'Ok, this is who we are, and this is our sound,'" says Glasper, "it's opening the doors for so many other artists to do what they naturally want to do."
They also talked about and played some of their favorite recordings by Sam Rivers, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard.
Click here to hear Jackson's full hour-long conversation with Moran and Glasper. Enjoy!
Glasper and Moran braved the mountains of snow dumped on the tri-state area by Super Storm Hercules, with their three young sons in tow, to reach the WBGO studios in Newark for the interview on Friday.
The Jan. 8 concert commemorates Blue Note's first recording session, held Jan. 6, 1939, with boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. The pianists will be joined at Town Hall by drummer Eric Harland, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, vocalist Bilal and Alan Hampton on bass.
The show kicks off a year of celebrations by Blue Note, which over eight decades has recorded artists ranging from from Sidney Bechet and Thelonious Monk to Norah Jones, as well as Moran, who has been with Blue Note since his first recording for the label fifteen years ago, and Glasper, who released his sixth Blue Note album in October.
"There's not really many labels that will just let you be who you are," says Moran. "They have continued to say, 'Oh, we see where you're going, here's your open canvas, your open palette, and go ahead and make something.' "
Moran and Glasper both graduated from Houston's High School For Performing And Visual Arts - several years apart - and performed together in January of 2011 as part of WBGO's "Houstonians in NYC" concert at the 92Y Tribeca.
© 2014 WBGO
December 10, 2013. Posted by Chris Dennison.
Alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius is that rare thing: a true jazz composer. His works are more than jumping-off points for improvisers, as we heard on Dec. 11, when he premiered a new suite from the Berklee College of Music's Café 939 in Boston.
Click on the links below to hear or watch our live broadcast of this event.
“On a lot of great music that I’ve loved over the years in the jazz lexicon, the tune itself is kind of an afterthought,” says Cornelius. “I wanted to take the opposite approach, and write songs that I end up walking around whistling.”
The musicians Cornelius assembled for this premiere are, like himself, Berklee alums. They include Jason Palmer on trumpet, John Ellis on tenor sax, trombonist Nick Vayenas, guitarist Miles Okazaki, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Peter Slavov, and drummer Kendrick Scott. Many of this tightly-knit group of musical forward thinkers have appeared on Cornelius’s albums, and vice versa.
The suite is inspired by When We Were Very Young, the 1924 debut in a book of poetry by A.A. Milne of a friendly bear named Winnie The Pooh.
Winnie has gone on to great fame, and is beloved to children around the world. These include Cornelius’s own toddlers, James and Isabella,who he says inspired him to write the work, a commission for Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation.
Fatherhood has also inspired him to explore new directions in his music, he says, which in the past hewed towards the hard-driving and intricate hard bop lines of one of his sax heroes, altoist Cannonball Adderley.
“Being a father has definitely mellowed a lot of the more aggressive tendencies in my personality… and it’s heightened the more sentimental aspects,” says Cornelius. “It absolutely has influenced the way I hear music and what kind of music I want to write.”
This sea change can be heard on tracks such as “Bella’s Dreaming” a beautiful ballad with a lullaby feel from his third album, 2011’s Maybe Steps. The album is dedicated to Isabella, who was a newborn at the time.
Cornelius’s most recent album, 2013’s Infinite Blue with pianist Frank Kimbrough and drummer Jeff Ballard, features eight original, expertly composed, catchy tunes. While these include introspective tracks such as “In The Quiet Moments” and “Waiting,” it also includes fiery, up-tempo burners like “Puzzler.”
“When it’s time to swing hard, that’s when Cannonball comes out,” he says.
Enjoy our broadcast of While We’re Still Young, in which Cornelius takes his love of melody and extends it into the realm of long-form composition, for the love of Pooh.
© 2013 WBGO