March 27, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO presents Tom Harrell's "Colors of a Dream" live from the Village Vanguard on Wednesday, March 27 at 9 p.m. Bookmark this page to watch live, listen on 88.3 FM or our on-air stream, and join in a conversation with hosts from WBGO and NPR Music during the show.
WBGO's The Jazz Bee is streaming a special preview mix all week of recordings by the composer and flugelhornist, as well as his bandmates Jaleel Shaw on alto saxophone, Wayne Escoffery on tenor, Esperanza Spalding on bass and vocals, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums. Enjoy!
© 2013 WBGO
March 26, 2013. Posted by Brandy Wood.
TUESDAYS APRIL 2 – MAY 14 7PM & 9:15PM
The 54 Below WBGO Jazz Series will feature weekly Tuesday evening shows by jazz artists. Just around the corner from Swing Street, these seasoned jazz performers come to Broadway’s Nightclub to play and sing the night away in grand style. Whether you’re a long time jazz buff or new to the genre, this series, sponsored by the country’s premier jazz radio station, promises a truly classic only-in-New York experience.
Tuesday, April 2 at 7PM and 9:15PM
Peter Bernstein Quintet with Jimmy Cobb, Harold Mabern, Frank Wess, and John Webber
The sublimely swinging and deeply lyrical young jazz guitar master, Peter Bernstein, joins forces with the legendary jazz drummaster Jimmy Cobb—who played on Miles Davis’s “Kind Of Blue” and hundreds of other classic jazz recordings. The evening is rounded out by the explosive deep groove of pianist Harold Mabern and special guest saxophone/flute virtuoso Frank Wess.
Tuesday, April 9 at 7PM and 9:15PM
Barbara Carroll Quartet with Ken Peplowski
After more than half a century in the spotlight (she debuted in 1947 with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band), jazz singer and pianist Barbara Carroll has earned a reputation as one of America’s greatest interpreters of American standards– “the first girl ever to play bebop piano.” For two special performances, Ms. Carroll and her quartet reunite with the talented Ken Peplowski, a virtuosic clarinetist, sax player and charismatic entertainer who has been delighting audiences for over 30 years. A former member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Ken has collaborated with Benny Goodman, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, and more.
Tuesday, April 16 at 7PM and 9:15PM
Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet
NEA Jazz Master and nine time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri, known for his charismatic power and bold innovative drive, has a musical career that spans over 50 years as a bandleader of Salsa and Latin Jazz orchestras and a discography that includes 36 titles. For Latin New Yorkers of Eddie’s generation, music was a vehicle out of El Barrio. A true powerhouse known for his astute arranging skills and historic compositions, Mr. Palmieri continues to thrill audiences across the globe with his legendary style. The Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet features Eddie Palmieri (leader, piano), Jose Claussell (timbales), Vicente “Little Johnny” Rivero (congas), Luques Curtis (bass), Orlando Vega (bongos), Louis Fouche (alto saxophone), and Jonathan Powell (trumpet).
Tuesday, May 7 at 7PM and 9:15PM
Nightsongs - An Evening with Janis Siegel from Manhattan Transfer
Nightsongs will feature songs from Janis Siegel’s brand new, soon-to-be released Palmetto CD, a delicious, nocturnal blend of jazz, Cuban and Brazilian grooves guaranteed to put you in the mood. Featuring a band of some of New York's most extraordinary and versatile musicians led by pianist John DiMartino, this ten-time Grammy-winning vocalist will premiere new songs as well as old favorites, and as always, some fresh surprises.
Tuesday, May 14 at 7PM and 9:15PM
Sing! Sing! Sing! The 75th Anniversary of Benny Goodman’s Historic Carnegie Hall Concert
with Ken Peplowski, Jay Leonhart, Ehud Asherie, Willie Jones III, and more
Sing! Sing! Sing! features an all-star lineup directed by Ken Peplowski, reinventing clarinetist Benny Goodman’s legendary Carnegie Hall Concert 75 years ago on January 16, 1938. That famous concert marked a momentous occasion of jazz crossing from the clubs to the highbrow realm of concert music (as well as being notable as one of the first public concerts featuring a racially integrated lineup). The show featured a host of stars including Goodman regulars Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa as well as Buck Clayton, Johnny Hodges, Walter Page, Lester Young, Harry Carney, and Freddie Green. This show’s director, Ken Peplowski, is a virtuosic clarinetist and sax player and charismatic entertainer who has been delighting audiences for over 30 years. A former member of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Ken has collaborated with Benny Goodman, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, and more.
There is a $25 - $35 cover charge, and a $15 food and beverage minimum for the above WBGO Jazz Series event. To purchase tickets visit www.54Below.com or call (866) 468-7619.
The series continues with a special week-long engagement featuring Doc Severinson and Jonathan Tunick:
May 28 – June 1 at 7PM and 9:15PM (Tues. – Thurs. at 7PM & 9:30PM, Fri. & Sat. at 7PM & 11PM)
Jonathan Tunick & The Broadway Moonlighters with special guest Doc Severinsen
and featuring Rebecca Faulkenberry
Two of music’s most acclaimed artists join forces with a sprawling 14-piece big band for what is certain to be the cabaret highlight of the spring. For ten special performances only, join the multiple award-winning former bandleader of The Tonight Show and Broadway’s premier orchestrator, the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy & Tony Award-winner behind some of Broadway’s most enduring scores, for an evening of tunes ranging from unique interpretations of the Great American Songbook to some of the most memorable tunes of the Great White Way. Joining the festivities is special guest vocalist Rebecca Faulkenberry, taking a break from her onstage duties at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Severinsen (making his first NYC club appearance in more than 50 years) on trumpet, fourteen of Broadway’s world-class musicians, and Tunick with clarinet at the ready and baton in hand – what could be more thrilling? There is a $65 - $115 cover charge, and a $25 food and beverage minimum.
LIVE BROADCAST FROM 54 BELOW ON SUNDAY, APRIL 14 WITH GREGORY PORTER:
Grab a prime seat in your favorite armchair for a special concert featuring one of today's most popular jazz and R&B singers -- two-time Grammy nominee Gregory Porter -- in a live broadcast on Sunday, April 14, from 12:30 - 1:30 pm on WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM or www.wbgo.org. Hosted by WBGO's Michael Bourne, the concert will be broadcast live from 54 Below, Broadway's Nightclub, at a private event to celebrate and thank the station's Jazz Leadership Society members.
Taking the stage at 54 Below, one of New York's most beautiful and sophisticated venues, Gregory Porter will perform music from his latest CD, Be Good, which was so good that it earned him a Grammy nomination this year for "Best Traditional R&B Performance" for the song “Real Good Hands." The coveted award would have looked mighty nice on Gregory's mantle; but, alas, Beyonce took it home for her "Love on Top." Porter will also share music from his debut CD, Water, which received a 2011 Grammy nomination for "Best Jazz Vocal Album." Gregory is not only a dynamic vocalist and songwriter, he is also an accomplished actor, who was a member of the original cast of the Broadway show, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues.
Whether jazz lovers are in their homes, in their cars or at the private party, it is a perfect way to introduce listeners to 54 Below while enjoying America's classical music with WBGO, the country's premier jazz radio station.
© 2013 WBGO
March 24, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
This article, the last of three on saxophonist John Coltrane, is the latest in our regular series of blogs on jazz history, "You Don't Know Jazz! With Dr. Lewis Porter." To read previous installments, click on the links below.
(PLEASE NOTE: If the reader uses any of the material from this series, no matter how brief, this article and its web address must be cited as the source. Thank you for respecting the intellectual property of Dr. Porter.)
John Coltrane: More Inspirations
In my last two blogs, I revealed sources John Coltrane used to create one of his most famous works, “Impressions.” Now I have a final reflection on that piece and another on Coltrane’s composition “Big Nick.”
In my 1998 book John Coltrane: His Life and Music, I devoted a chapter to showing where the saxophonist found some of his inspirations. In the case of “Impressions,” these included a theme from composer Morton Gould’s “Pavanne,” the form of Miles Davis’s “So What,” and the repertoire of pianist Ahmad Jamal.
At the time I wrote my book, I also believed that a second theme in “Impressions” might be drawn from a phrase by French composer Maurice Ravel. However, that turns out to be false, as I will show now.
Let’s listen first to what Coltrane plays over the bridge of his most famous version of the piece, recorded live at the Village Vanguard in November of 1961:
Now here’s the second theme from Ravel’s “Pavane pour une enfante defunte,” as played by Sviatoslav Richter:
This theme became well-known after it inspired a pop song called “The Lamp Is Low,” which was recorded by Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and other popular bandleaders. Here it is, as sung by Mildred Bailey in April of 1939:
I no longer believe Ravel’s composition is a source for Coltrane’s ”Impressions,” for two reasons. The first is that while what Coltrane plays over the bridge in his most famous recording of this piece does vaguely resemble Ravel’s phrase, it is not identical to it; in the case of the theme he borrows from Gould’s “Pavanne,” it is.
More importantly, I have listened to every recording of Coltrane playing “Impressions,” including bootlegs never released to the general public, and it's very clear to me now that in this case he's simply improvising over the bridge.
About half of the times Coltrane performed “Impressions,” he did not play this theme over the bridge. Rather, he played the main or "A" theme, Gould's theme, over the bridge, but takes it up a half step to follow the harmonic movement of the piece.
Other times, Coltrane plays improvised lines which are sometimes very close to what he plays on his most famous version of “Impressions,” but sometimes not.
So I think it's very clear that Coltrane did not write a bridge for this piece, but rather he simply played what he felt, or played the A theme up a half step.
Now let’s move on to “Big Nick,” which is a very cute but not well-known composition of Coltrane’s. I have learned from an Italian pianist, Carlo Morena, through my good friend, Italian jazz scholar Maurizio Franco, that this piece does have a source: it’s the “Impromptu no. 3” by French composer Francis Poulenc.
Now let’s listen to the beginning to Coltrane’s “Big Nick,” as recorded with Duke Ellington in September of 1962:
As we can hear, Poulenc’s first eight notes are identical to Coltrane's melody - and this is important, because it is a very unusual melody. Even more significant, the Coltrane piece is in the same key as the Poulenc one!
The combination of these two elements makes it almost impossible that this is a coincidence. Coltrane's melody is very clever, and the rest of Coltrane's melody does not come from the Poulenc piece. But the beginning does, very clearly.
This answers a big question for me, so a big thank you to Carlo and Maurizio! I have always wondered, "Why is this melody very different from all the other Coltrane melodies?" The answer is, it's inspired by Poulenc.
© 2013 WBGO