• Morning Cup of Jazz 6/28/11

    June 28, 2011. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Saxophonist Mark Turner at the Village Vanguard
    Saxophonist Mark Turner at the Village Vanguard

    Today at WBGO:

    - Josh Jackson presents highlights from Mark Turner's performance at the Village Vanguard, as well as interviews with Turner, pianist Gerald Clayton, and author John Swenson.

    - Check back to the blog for Becca Pulliam's review of the Freihofer Saratoga Jazz Festival, and Michael Bourne's latest updates from the Montreal Jazz Festival! WBGO will broadcast live from Montreal this weekend.

    Recent Jazzlinks:

    - Stanley Fefferman reviews performances by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Dubmatix at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

    - Evan Parker and Nick Smart will receive the 2011 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize from the UK's (New) Royal Academy of Music.

    - ACT receives Germany's ECHO prize as jazz label of the year. Other winners include Jason Moran, Herbie Hancock and the Brad Mehldau Trio.

    - Check out the latest installment of Dr. Lewis Porter's bimonthly You Don't Know Jazz column, which brings to light the early musical influences of Louis Armstrong.

    - Click through for more of today's jazz happenings: Read more

  • Freihofer's Jazz Festival: Spectacular Sunday

    June 28, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Angelique Kidjo, DIANNE REEVES, Lizz Wright at Freihofer's 2011 .. photo by Mitchell Seidel
    Angelique Kidjo, DIANNE REEVES, Lizz Wright at Freihofer's 2011 .. photo by Mitchell Seidel

    The 34th annual  festival at the Saratoga Springs PAC closed on Sunday night, June 26, with Sing the Truth! -- Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright -- a magnificent peformance honoring the music of women of Africa, gospel, jazz and soul.

    The first time they handed the solo mic around, Wright offered I've Got to Use My Imagination (the Gladys Knight hit) .. Reeves sang Abbey Lincoln's Throw It Away .. Kidjo introduced a piece that the great Miriam Makeba described as "from my ancestors." Kidjo pranced, break danced and foreshadowed her later sprint through the aisles.

    Sing the Truth! was the third in an amazing sequence of  performances, first from Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings & the Dappettes. Jones rolled out the message of empowerment that the women of Sing the Truth! later raised to the roof. From babies to boomers, there was  dancing to Jones & The Dap Kings. I want to hear them on WBGO, on The Blues Hour!)

    Saxophonist Donald Harrison's quintet added Cyril Neville on vocals and congas, and two genuine Mardi Gras Indians in pastel feathers -- one in green, one in blue. On a cool Sunday evening amid the tall pines in Saratoga, the set went deep into New Orleans, Donald riding on top, and inspired more dancing.

    Last year, Sing the Truth! closed the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Freihofer's performance was the US premiere. More highlights:  Lizz Wright / How I Got Over (traditional) .. Dianne Reeves / Tracy Chapman's All That You Have Is Your Soul .. Angelique Kidjo / Chapman's Talkin' About a Revolution .. with one of the great lyrics of the night.

    It sounds like a whisper
    While they're standing in the welfare lines
    Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
    Wasting time in unemployment lines
    Sitting around waiting for a promotion

    Behind the singers was one great band. Terri Lyne Carrington musically directed from the drums with Geri Allen on keyboards, Romero Lubambo on guitar, James Genus on basses, Munyungo Jackson on percussion. The next US performance is at the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Friday of Labor Day weekend. I usually leave a concert with a song to get me home. The ride home from Saratoga is three hours, and I was still singing at my front door!

  • 'Treme,' Ep. 20: The Circle, Unbroken

    June 27, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    DJ Davis (Steve Zahn) address a crowd of musicians at Harley's memorial service on Treme. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    In season one of Treme, an important death took place in the second-to-last episode. It's a pattern we saw in The Wire — the previous HBO series from Treme's creative team — where writer George Pelecanos was drafted to script often morbid plot twists in penultimate episodes of any given season.

    This season of Treme, Pelecanos wrote episode nine (episode 19 in total) — where Harley is murdered — but the most recent installment, the last before the season finale, had no plot twists on such a dramatic scale. We do see how Harley's seemingly senseless killing fits into the scheme. It reveals more about his previously mysterious character, a composite of so many who have moved to the city to play music. It brings the police force, and Lt. Colson's character, back into the fore. And it will seemingly launch Annie's career as a solo artist, now that she's come into Harley's stash of original compositions.

    This episode is heavy on music scenes, though. Josh Jackson and I present our weekly discussion of 'em.

    Read more