June 4, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
A couple years ago, I had heard that bassist Butch Warren reappeared onstage in DC.
I remember thinking to myself, "Where the hell has he been?"
The answer was that he had been to hell and back.
Chances are you have a record with Butch Warren. The bassist was a prolific session man for Blue Note Records in the early 1960s. That groove on "Watermelon Man," from Herbie Hancock's debut? Yeah, that's Butch. Dexter Gordon, Sonny Clark, Grant Green? Yeah, that's Butch.
Warren was quite the anchor for those studio dates, yet he lived a life largely unmoored. He spent years on and off the streets. That kind of living has clearly taken its toll, but Warren still plays, scuffling for work and staying on his feet. I generally have mixed feelings when nationally televised networks show people the world of jazz. More often than not, it's an all too familiar tale of drug abuse, homelessness, institutionalization that catches the whim of an editor.
Believe it or not, there are a few happy endings in jazz.
Here's to Butch Warren finding his.
© 2008 WBGO
June 4, 2008. Posted by Andrew Meyer.
I recently stopped by the Piscataway home of Miles Dean to talk about a little trip he just got back from. The Newark teacher spent six months crossing the country on horseback.
It's a remarkable story which you can hear more about in the WBGO Journal archives. After I was done with the interview, we continued to talk on tape about this and that, including his love of horses and, in particular, the horse he relied on during his cross-country journey. I also brought along my camera to get some shots and video of Miles and his horses which you can check out in a short film I produced.
© 2008 WBGO
June 4, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
On the way home from the Jazz Gallery, walking up Seventh Avenue,
used-to-be WBGO night man James Browne pulled me into his club Sweet
Rhythm to see Lezlie Harrison sing. A long time ago, Lezlie hosted the
jazz party on Saturday evenings on WBGO. She's never stopped using that
fine voice, and moved me with her singing and the solos by Luca Tozzi on
guitar and Greg Lewis on organ on "A Lover is Forever," once recorded by
Etta James. I'm going to download Etta right now. Lezlie's drummer is
Luca Santaniello. As I was leaving, Greg was rolling his Hammond out the
door. Musicians work hard and give much! Wish I had photos.
© 2008 WBGO