• Talking with Ben Sidran

    June 28, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    The singer / pianist / ironist came by the Museum of Contemporary Art, site of the WBGO broadcast booth, to talk with Michael Bourne during Singers Unlimited. In the evening Ben sang and played Bob Dylan Ben's way, at Dylan Different at Club Soda. That's also his latest album with son Leo Sidran on drums.

    Besides Dylan, Ben has a Mose Allison heart with a helping of Horace Silver -  bop blues and lyrics. And he always has a good story and a unique take on things. Try his autobiography Ben Sidran: A Life in Music.

    Sorry I cut off his right hand in this photo; it's important to his keyboard playing!

    Click and listen to the conversation.

  • Sonny Rollins Concert

    June 28, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Sonny Rollins & Russell Malone, photo by David Tallacksen
    Sonny Rollins & Russell Malone, photo by David Tallacksen

    A huge roar in the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, the biggest venue of the Montreal Festival, greeted Sonny Rollins. He entered in a flowing red silk shirt, a SHOCK of grey hair, the iconic profile, dark sunglasses, the saxophone and then the sound. The first piece was as simple as four bars, repeated, yet the more he played them, the more I wanted more. And he was generous.

    He holds a note a long time, intense and penetrating, then tumbles down the ravine through a syncopated strung-out cadence you feel but can't hold onto to punch the bottom note, spin it. Love those low notes. Everything spins -- the tone, melodies, everything and as the concert progressed, it seemed to spin more. From The Very Thought of You through a calypso (not St Thomas) .. as that applause for that ended, a lady cried out "We love you Sonny!" he stepped to the mic and said "Love you back!"  .. an Italian folksong in 3, They Say That Falling in Love Is Wonderful. . . He paced a bit, pumped his fist, sung two choruses of a blues about a no-good woman (has anyone seen Sonny Rollins sing before?) and it was over. I looked up toward the five white stairway-to-heaven boxes plastered to each dark sidewall of this home to the Montreal Symphony and saw people cheering for more. There was a bow but not an encore. It was complete, a concert to remember.

    At the beginning of the show, Rollins received the 2010 Miles Davis Award from Montreal's Andre Menard. I'm for a Sonny Rollins Award! And right away.

  • Red Baraat outdoors on Sunday

    June 28, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Red Baraat outdoors .. note little dancer-to-be at right

    Just before the dance

    I hope her parents might add a comment to this blog

    WBGO hopes to talk with founder and leader Sunny Jain (left) .. stay tuned.