WBGO Blog
  • Charles Lloyd @ JVC Jazz

    June 29, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Charles Lloyd and Reuben Rogers

    On the final evening of the JVC-New York Festival, I sauntered down to the
    Charles Lloyd Quartet performance at The Society for Ethical Culture. This
    seems like the perfect place to see Lloyd perform, on principle alone. His
    unabashed jazz ethos and spiritual bent create an immediate and humane
    environment. The hall acoustics, however, are a total non-starter for the
    sound of live jazz.  A massive wash of drums and indistinct piano notes.
    The opening act was our nation's poet laureate, Charles Simic.
    Charles Simic

    "Club Midnight" is some pretty powerful verse:
    Are you the sole owner of a seedy night club?
    Are you its sole customer, sole bartender,
    Sole waiter prowling around the empty tables?
    Do you put on wee-hour girlie shows
    With dead stars of black and white films?
    Is your office upstairs over the neon lights,
    Or down deep in the dank rat cellar?
    Are bearded Russian thinkers your silent partners?
    Do you have a doorman by the name of Dostoyevsky?
    Is Fu Manchu coming tonight? Is Miss Emily Dickinson?
    Do you happen to have an immortal soul?
    Do you have a sneaky suspicion that you have none?...
    Eric Harland

    The quartet started behind Simic, and proceeded to play with the musicality
    that jazz fans have come to expect from Lloyd's ensembles. Jason Moran is
    the pianist, Reuben Rogers the bassist, and Eric Harland the drummer. Their
    trip through Lloyd classics like "Requiem" and "Monk's Dance" were well
    received, as was the newer material from the quartet's recent release, Rabo
    de Nube
    .  I had to really work hard to hear the music, but the payoff was
    rewarding nonetheless.
    -Josh

  • Bourne in Montreal - Part Two

    June 28, 2008. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Smoked Meat

    Schwartz's for lunch with my Other Half, Michele, and my BFF, Amy. Montreal smoked meat is like pastrami, and it's best at Schwartz's, an old Jewish deli with large chunks of the meat in the window. Crowds wait in line all day to eat at the little tables. When you order a sandwich, you're asked "lean, medium, or fat?" I opt for medium, comes on rye with mustard and a giant pickle. I walked back down St Laurent and the Hill, the walk a payback to my body for ingesting so much meat ...
    Eating, walking around, hanging with some of my favorite people in the world, especially all the loveable kids in the press room, is why I come every year. And the music ...
    M. le Juge was back judging at 6 a sextet called The Odd Lot, playing free funk with a ferocious tenor player. I also heard a piano trio called Indigone Trio. Even though they were all reading charts, the interplay sounded (and felt) spontaneous, especially in the rhythmic effects of the drummer. Both of these groups I felt are in the running for the prizes, but I have 7 more groups yet to judge.
    Brad Mehldau played a solo recital in the Jesus Room (salle de Gesu), mostly standards ("No Moon at All," "Secret Love," "Airegin," "God Only Knows") with flabbergasting chops. I appreciated how he de-constructed melodies, but every song turned into a display of rambling and rumbling, virtuosic but exhausting.
    1st trip to Pizzadelic: chevre et noix (goat cheese, walnuts, black olives, tomatoes, mozzarella) and siciliana (various Italian meat) ...

    Michael B

  • Montreal - Feel the Love

    June 28, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.

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    What is the one word that comes to mind when I think of Montreal? It’s love. True confessions: the first time I came here, it was to flee tortured love. But now, every time I am here, I find new love. Love for this eclectic city, love of music, love of food, love for life.
    My day started yesterday over café au lait with two women who are charged by profession with promoting Montreal- Emmanuelle and Julie from Tourisme Montreal. They are actually paid to wax poetic about what makes Montreal so special. They let me in on a few hidden treasures and turned me loose to the streets.
    We have pastrami and corned beef in New York, but Montreal has the smoked meat of Schwartz’s. But I was in the mood for a steak. Again, not something that I can’t get in New York, but Schwartz’s serves it with a twist- when was the last time that you were served a pickle, cole slaw, French fries and a hot dog with yours? And the experience started with a piece of grilled liver. Maybe not the best I’ve ever had (and I passed on the liver and hot dog!), but they do something right if the line halfway down the block is any indication of popularity. And it was before noon!
    New York and Montreal share many features- unfortunately humidity is one of them. But that didn’t stop me from walking on St Laurent and peeking into smart looking furniture shops- hmm, maybe it is time for a pied a terre in Montreal!
    I can’t come to Montreal without my ritual beauty stop. I swear I get a better facial here than anywhere else in the world (and trust me when I say that I have tried my share!).. My haunt is Lise Watier’s institut on Laurier. She is Montreal’s beloved grande dame of cosmetics. You can’t go to a makeup counter anywhere in this city without seeing her products.
    Emmanuelle and Julie were insistent that I try Bilboquet for gelato and sorbet. So, glowing skin and more walking past lovely houses surrounded by lush shade gardens brought me to St Bernard and this popular place. I can get lemon sorbet anywhere, but I had to try the apricot and pear. Perfect. And even on a Friday afternoon- packed.
    Now I was craving what I came here for- the music. And this is where the love really came in. I picked just one event for today- and while my choice was not mainstream jazz, it reflected one of the special opportunities this festival affords- to hear artists who may not be on my radar screen. Yael Naim was exactly that. But I definitely was in the minority because I seemed to be the only person who was new to her. I am a fan. This women, her talented band and her music are infectious. How many times have I gone to a concert and commanded the artist to “show me”? Yael made the audience a player and said thank you to them. You may recognize one of her songs from the Apple Airbook commercials and undoubtedly many people in the audience knew her from that. They left knowing her spirit. And certainly her love of all she does.
    Check her out:

     

    More tomorrow.