• The Jazz Cat

    December 2, 2008. Posted by Daniel Karcher.

    Many here at WBGO are aware of how my wife Erica and I came upon Canyon, our orange tabby. We were at the Grand Canyon late one night during our honeymoon. And as we walked along the rim (a grand opportunity for Erica to push me off should she have any regrets), we heard a meow from below the edge. Up pops up this orange tabby, one who should have been dinner for any coyote that night. Yet for some reason he wasn't, rather - he simply approached us in want of some attention and affection. Long story short, after researching where he may have come from we arranged the local animal shelter (local? at the Grand Canyon? actually, yes.) to collect him. Some days and several hundred miles later whilst in Park City Utah, Erica and I couldn't get this fella out of our heads, so when we returned home to NJ we contacted the shelter and made arrangements to adopt him from 2500 miles away. Within a week I was picking him up from Newark Liberty Airport and the rest is history. "Grant Canyon" has lived very happily with us, and us with him, since.

    Grant Canyon

    Fast forward to last week... after Thanksgiving dinner with family I worked evening jazz for Awilda at the station. During a tune I stepped outside for some tea and a smoke, when out from seemingly nowhere - appears a very frightened kitten meowing and painfully desperate.

    'Same as when Canyon appeared from the Grand Canyon, yet this time it was a kitten, a very frightened one, not at all in the wild; rather - in deep within the urban jungle, in the heart of a very unforgiving city.

    This was no feral kitten, I've seen stray cats in the park and along the streets in garbage cans. This lil one was frightened to no end and in desperate want for the first person he saw to rescue him. I knelt down and sure enough he came to me meowing loud and with panicked eyes.

    Thus, I picked him up, brought him into the station, fed him what little milk I had reserved for my tea, made a bed with my heavy sweater and continued the evening jazz broadcast.

    Come 1 a.m. I set for home (back to civilized ruralscape) with kitten in arms all the while, to a warm home with a roaring fire, ample food, and a big sofa to sleep on and watch CNN. Life is good, very very good for this kitten suddenly. Only hours prior did the dark, cold, oil slicked streets threaten to be the only option.

    'Not sure what to name him as of yet. "Canyon" was named for the Grand Canyon of course. But "Newark" doesn't fit this lil' one's face.

    "Thurston" would be a great name (for Briscoe, our PD). "Cephas" has also been suggested (for our GM). Our Assistant General Manager Amy Niles suggested naming him after the relief host that night! That'd be good ol' Bill. And I admit, "Daughtry" would make for a great name.

    For now however, since the situation's urban, and he's an orphan, when he drank the tea milk and looked up at me with those eyes in want for more, I shall call him "Oliver Twist."

    Oliver Twist
    "Please sir, may I have some more?" Oliver emerges from behind the toilet, he's glad to be off the streets.

    Oliver Twist
    ...he's REAL glad to be off the streets.

    But here is where you come in. Unlike commercial radio stations, WBGO is a public radio station, supported by its members for its members. Thus, Oliver Twist is all of ours in a sense. What would you name him? Make a comment below and voice your thoughts...

  • Live Blog: Ravi Coltrane at the Village Vanguard 11.19.08

    November 19, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Ravi Coltrane Marquee

    Listen to the show.
    See some photos.
    Hear an interview with Ravi Coltrane.

    Doors have opened at the Village Vanguard for tonight's show.  More than 40 years have passed since a saxophonist named Coltrane led a group at this club.  This evening, we will hear Ravi Coltrane's debut.  Welcome.

    None of the musicians are here.  Ravi and the band tend to operate freely on their own internal clock.  We, on the other hand, are following a master clock.  Thirty-two minutes to showtime!

    We're live from the Village Vanguard.  Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is playing an original, "Amalgams," from his upcoming release, Blending Times.  The quartet includes pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer E.J. Strickland.

    Pianist Luis Perdomo just crashed the keyboards.  Bassist Drew Gress is now taking a solo.   Gress was featured in pianist Uri Caine July performance of Live at the Village Vanguard.  Check out the entire series.

    Another Ravi Coltrane original, "Round Two," begins peacefully.

    "Trading Duos" seems fairly self-explanatory.  Band members sort of move in and out of this composition.  I'malways a fan of the sax/drums sections.

    This composition named after Ravi's first son, William (John Coltrane's middle name).  "One Wheeler Will."

    After a long and heartfelt introduction, Ravi plays "Jagadishwar," a composition by Alice Coltrane, his mother.  She passed away on January 12th 2007.  On Ravi's upcoming release, Blending Times, he closes with a harp/bass/saxophone version of Charlie Haden's "For Turiya."  Turiya is Alice Coltrane.

    The quartet is closing with "Giant Steps," a Coltrane original.  John Coltrane, that is.