May 17, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
WBGO's Mr. Morning Cup of Jazz, trombonist and scholar Alex W. Rodriguez has just graduated from Rutgers University with a Master's of Arts degree in Jazz History. At the end of the summer, he's on his way to Los Angeles to at Ph.D. program at UCLA.
We understand that he will be blogging again soon, after he recovers from his graduation weekend, and in the meantime .. CONGRATULATIONS, Alex! We would like to read your Master's thesis, "White and Blue: Alternate Takes on Jack Teagarden."
© 2011 WBGO
May 16, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce, left) leads a rehearsal with his Soul Apostles, featuring guitarist June Yamagishi. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)
Unlike the previous installment, episode four of Treme's second season has few major plot twists. That leaves a lot of time to look at the lives of "average" working musicians — both on and especially off stage.
The Antoine Batiste-as-bandleader storyline is seemingly engineered for this very purpose. He needs a teaching job to afford middle-class creature comforts: gifts for his kids, jewelry for his girlfriend. In the meantime, he's also herding cats: auditioning new band members (Sonny), dealing with their departures (Raymond leaves for Dumpstaphunk) and busy schedules (his guitarist can't work on Christmas), organizing sideshows (c'mon, you all thought he was going after the hot women for another reason), calling rehearsals, writing arrangements, dealing with band members who won't read his arrangements, lining up gigs with surly bar owners who may be ex-wives. That's a lot to deal with, and none of it is paid.
Meanwhile, there's also Davis trying to deal with the frustrations of the studio and the record business, Delmond developing new repertoire which might actually reach the mainstream, and Annie brushing up with fame and professional artist management. Even when we hear that — spoiler alert — Hot 8 Brass Band snare drummer Dinerral Shavers is shot and killed, we're told his bandleader Bennie Pete reacts with a mixture of grief and "How am I going to find a substitute for Thursday" worry. These are the relatively invisible, insider-y things that go into music-making in public. And kudos to Treme, this episode in particular, for telling those stories.
To talk about some of the music itself, and whatever else comes to mind, I'm again joined over email by New Orleans native Josh Jackson of WBGO. As you may know, we do this every week.
© 2011 WBGO
May 13, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
I have been wanting to write a message about Arturo O'Farrill ever since February, following his CubaNOLA concert at Symphony Space (Broadway @ 95th St in Manhattan). The Arturo O'Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra rocked that house, and I see they are coming again tomorrow to participate in Wall to Wall Sonidos. It's free!
Like Ellington, this Maestro leads from the piano. When not playing, Arturo paces and throws cues like a manager in a tight game. He makes commands from the piano too, with precisely directed glissandos for example. I just love his figures and commentaries when Arturo accompanies his band.
Here is "Exuberante " from Chico O'Farrill (father of Arturo) and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods, as heard from Newport on JazzSet. Jon Faddis is out front on trumpet, you have to love him, but listen to Arturo too!
PS .. DON'T MISS JAZZSET THIS SUNDAY EVENING AT 6 .. WE HAVE A NEW COMPOSITION BY YOUNG CHICAGOAN JOSHUA MOSHIER IN HONOR OF STUDS TERKEL, BORN 5/16/1912 .. AND THANKS FOR YOUR PLEDGES OF SUPPORT
© 2011 WBGO