WBGO Blog
  • When You Know - Rhonda Hamilton with Dianne Reeves

    January 18, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Rhonda Hamilton Interviews Dianne Reeves 1.18.08

    "It's what it is in that moment." That's singer Dianne Reeves' definition of jazz.
    Dianne Reeves is on her way home to Colorado today. She has just finished the final touches of her new recording, When You Know.
    It comes out April 15th - so pick up a copy when you drop off your taxes.
    Dianne has won multiple Grammys - for her live recording, In the Moment. For her tribute to Newark's own Sarah Vaughan, The Calling (Dianne's favorite). For her soundtrack to the film Goodnight and Good Luck. And when it comes to matters of love, there are few singers in jazz with the emotional depth of Dianne Reeves. So it is not surprising that the new record is a cycle of love songs. When You Know ends with the title track, a song about Dianne's spiritual connection. It also includes jazz versions of The Temptations' "Just My Imagination" and Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You," innocent love songs that Dianne remembers as a child.
    Can't wait until the record comes out? You're in luck. Dianne and her band (pianist Geoff Keezer, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Reginald Veal, and drummer Greg Hutchinson) will debut the music live in concert - when else? - Valentine's Night at The Apollo.

    Listen to Rhonda Hamilton's interview with Dianne Reeves.

    - Josh Jackson

  • The elegance of Eliane Elias

    January 18, 2008

    Something For You CoverI rarely work the morning shift around here. 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. newscasts are Doug Doyle territory and for good reason. It takes a special man to get up at 3:30 a.m. and get here in time to deliver the news at 6 a.m., sharp. Frankly, I ain't that special, man. Those of you who've heard me at that time in the morning, know what I'm talking about.Still, when Doug's out, I get the call. One recent morning, however, I was sitting at my desk, staring blankly at my computer monitor, the written word failing me, when all of a sudden, dripping from the speakers behind me, like honey on a nubile neck, comes Eliane Elias singing Jobim's "Photograph (Fotografia)."

    The vocal, so lush and silken, insinuated itself into my soft gray matter and swirled around like the café in my café con leche. I closed my eyes and drank deeply, Eliane inside my brain. MMM. It's just about the only thing that went right that morning.

    Eliane Elias is just smooth, man, (as both a singer and a pianist) so if you get a chance, I urge you to join us (yes, I'll be there) tomorrow at J&R Music's Park Row store (23 Park Row, NYC, Second Floor) for a FREE live performance and broadcast of some of the material from her new release "Something For You: Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans."

    The performance starts at 4 p.m. and, even if you're in Rio, Brasil, you can hear it live. - David Cruz

  • Born Standing Up

    January 18, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Born Standing Up Cover ImageSteve Martin one of the funniest comedians of all time. He's also a talented banjo picker in the Earl Scruggs' style. Lately, however, Martin's writing consistently grabs my attention. I'm almost finished with his new memoir, Born Standing Up.

    [disclosure - my wife works for the company that publishes this book. Then again, they also publish such intellectual drivel like the recent bestseller, The Secret.]

    Martin walked away from standup comedy in 1981. While he was still on top. Born Standing Up offers his personal take on a time, a place, and a person (himself) that no longer exist. It's a fascinating real life story, expressed with astonishing honesty and clarity. When Steve Martin writes about standup comedy - being alone on a stage, in front of an audience that expects you to entertain - he refers to it as "the ego's last stand."

    His description of the act is very much how I think an improvising jazz musician must feel at times:

    "My most persistent memory of stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing, analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and what to say next."

    Fortunately for musicians, silence is an option.
    - Josh Jackson