November 20, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
© 2008 WBGO
November 19, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
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.
© 2008 WBGO
November 15, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.
There's a bit of mystery that engulfs Rudy Van Gelder, the 2009 NEA Jazz Master and engineer extraordinaire. As a young teenager, he soldered radio parts together to construct his first recording equipment. He rarely grants interviews and if he does they're rarely done live, in person. Gelder says he strives for a kind of exactitude, to avoid any imprecision with his answers. He's a stickler for detail, not only for his pristine mixes, but also in his historical accounts (too many to count). All the legends seemed to have worked with him, and each surely have their own story. Here's one told by Cyrus Chestnut when he first met Gelder. When I requested an interview with him, I submitted questions beforehand. His pre-recorded responses - in perfect sonic sonority, I might add - can be heard here. But, before you listen, you might want to read my questions below. - Simon Rentner
Also enjoy this Rudy Van Gelder feature by clicking here.
Questions for Van Gelder
1) I've read that you've engineered anywhere from "2,000 sessions" to "tens of thousands" of jazz sessions in your career. For the record, have you ever tried to estimate how many albums you've worked on? Does this work ever get tiresome?
2) You were remarkably endowed with "good ears." How have you taken care of your hearing over the years? Do you have any special methods or practices to keep them healthy?
3) In the beginning, you brought musicians like Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley into your first studio -- the living room of your parent's house. Can you recall one or two amusing stories where your family/personal life collided with some of jazz's larger-than-life personalities? Please set it up for us.
4) You have remarked needed to invent and build your own "mixer" and recording rigs when you started. Has any of that gear ever been on display at a museum somewhere? What was your most difficult challenge when constructing your own equipment? Did you ever hit a wall?
5) What was your immediate reaction when you learned about becoming an NEA Jazz Master? Do you equate it to receiving a Pulitzer?
6) When you were compiling selections for the Blue Note album "The Perfect Takes," what tune or tunes didn't make the CD that you wish you could've squeeze on? When you have thought of the selection, can you explain it in detail? Why is this take special? Why are you proud of it?
7) You have been cited as often "deflecting any credit" for the work you've done over the years. And the "praise should go to the musicians, and to the producers who hire and direct them." If this is the case, why do you keep your recording and production techniques so hidden from public view? Do you ever intend to share your recording secrets?
© 2008 WBGO