WBGO Blog
  • Bourne in Montreal - Part Three

    June 30, 2008. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Rainy FIJM

    Day Three Saturday June 28th

    Rainy but not raining, what Michele says folks in the Northwest call "spitting." Were it not wet I might've enjoyed the first group to be judged, a generic quartet fronted by saxist Jerrold Dubyk. All of these groups are good enough to be up for the prize, but only a few have that unique "thing" (tunes, grooves, presence, a character or sound) that elevates them into a winner. Dubyk's group was more or less the same as about half the groups in the competition -- except for the electric bass player's solo, which was only notes up and down the scale. "I don't want to be prejudicial," I said to some of the other judges, "but that was the worst bass solo I've ever heard." And they expressed consensus.

    Group #5 is a contender: WAZA, a trio with electric keys, electric bass, and an electrifying drummer. They played solid and quite compositional grooves, especially from the drummer. They were fun to listen to, as if listening to really hip toys. After a thunderstorm of funk from the bassist, Nancy, one of the judges, said "Now that was a bass solo!"
    Hank Jones was joined for duets by Brad Mehldau, and the interplay was wonderful. Hank played melodies or only changes elegantly while Brad danced around and through -- danced like Barishnykov.

    "Night in Tunisia" they played at first fragmented, but then Dizzy's tune blossomed. Hank's solo of "The Very Thought of You" was so deeply beautiful that Brad mostly listened, enraptured. Hank was again whimsically witty about which song they'd play next, or which piano they'd play. "Just One of Those Things" was a joyful finale, and I could hear the lyric: "it was great fun!"

  • Gracias

    June 30, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM

     Gracias

    “Gracias”, Omara Portoundo sang that as her opening song last night ( and a hint at the title of her new album due out in September). At 78, she has power, punch and style and the audience screaming “Long live Cuban Music” couldn’t have appreciated her more. Her words rang true to me as well- Gracias great city of Montreal- in any language. I heard performers in French and English and Hebrew and Spanish, and Italian and of course those who spoke no words at all but sang nonetheless. I wont pretend that I loved it all- the band that played for the Leo Ferre tribute blew my mind, but I still couldn’t get past the Ferre influence  (gee, what was I expecting???). Yael Naim’s opening act was a bit to self aware for my tastes- he reminded me of a Jim Carrey with electronic sound equipment. But when you are at FIJM, you take it all in.

    I am back in the US.

    So, Gracias Montreal. I will see you next year. It will be both the 30th anniversary of WBGO and of FIJM. Come celebrate with us!

  • The Brad Mehldau Trio at Montreal Jazz Fest on Saturday Night

    June 30, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    brad_mehldau_04_bollate2007.jpg

    The Brad Mehldau Trio on Saturday night .. here are two minutes from the two hours .. they come from the opening song -- "Work" by Monk. - Becca Pulliam

    Click here to listen