WBGO Blog
  • The Real Robert Glasper's Birthday Bash

    April 7, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive, Remix

    Robert Glasper Has His Cake

    I went to Robert Glasper's Third Annual Birthday Bash at Club Drom Saturday night. Make that Sunday morning. Though the show was advertised for an 11:30 hit, the music actually started at 1:15am. No worries. During the downtime, Robert treated the audience to a personally curated playlist of hip hop and party music. All emanating through the club's sound system, and sourced from his iPod.

    The core ensemble was the Robert Glasper Experiment - Glasper on Fender Rhodes, Derrick Hodge on his Callowhill 5-string electric bass, Casey Benjamin on alto sax and keytar (with Talk Box mod - imagine Frampton Comes Alive meets Common's "Don't Break My Heart," from Finding Forever), and drummer Chris "Daddy" Dave punching an endless array of beats.

    Q-Tip and Roy Hargrove

    Q-Tip and trumpeter Roy Hargrove joined in on the fun, as did singer Bilal. All of these individuals (and some of the musicians who were just there to check out the show) are part of something very exciting happening in music - the realization of hip hop and jazz coming together in a meaningful way. I can think of many examples of jazz and hip hop intermingling, so don't let me be misunderstood. These two forms have spoken to each other before. However, the current dialogue is spawning a certifiably important sound in music - a nexus of rhymes, beats, and improvisational flow that is socially aware, energetic, and heavy on the soul. And did I mention FUN?

    Casey Benjamin

    Call it nu-jazz, neo-soul, conscious hip hop, all of the above or none of the above. Or anything you wish. Basically, it's the return of functional music in a commercially saturated culture, a communal act of creation that has its roots in jazz, blues, and spirituals, stretching back to traditional African custom and practice. The Robert Glasper Experiment is all about droppin' the scientific method in a live setting. This kind of music has been underground for a very long time now. But ask any of the well-wishers onstage or in the club, and they will tell you that its time has come.
    -Josh

  • Don't Mess With Mr. T

    April 5, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    I pity the fool who tries to play like Stanley Turrentine. His sound is so thoroughly drenched in soul. That's why I miss Mr. T, an alias of saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. Today would be Stanley's burthday. I highly encourage you to dig through some of Stanley's Blue Note records, especially the stuff with Horace Parlan's trio or Jimmy Smith. In many ways, Stanley's big sound reminds me of the soulful tenor player from Newark, Ike Quebec.

    Check out this live performance of "Don't Mess With Mr. T." Fans of Marvin Gaye will recognize the music from Marvin's soundtrack to the film, Trouble Man. I love Marvin's lyrics, which are partly autobiographical - I come up hard/I come up, gettin' down/There's only three things/That's for sho'/Taxes, death and trouble...

     

  • Marcus Strickland on We Insist: Jazz Speaks Out

    April 4, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

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    Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing a dear friend and an overwhelmingly talented musician.  Marcus Strickland, winner of the 2006 Jazz Times Reader's poll for Artist of the Year, is a unique and special artist.

    On this episode of We Insist: Jazz Speaks Out, we discuss the role of jazz in the "X" generation, and the new roles jazz musicians have to take in being proactive int heir careers, in the ever-evolving record business.    Marcus talks about his new album Open Reel Deck his work with musicians outside of the jazz community and how hip-hop is influencing his music more than ever.  He also discusses the idea of "young lions" in jazz, and how it's really not so different from Charlie Parker, and Trane.  This was a great interview.  Check it out.
    www.wbgo.org/weinsist

  • Great Live Moments - Michel Camilo

    April 4, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Michel Camilo

    Happy birthday today to pianist Michel Camilo.
    WBGO recorded Michel's trio at Iridium on April 24, 1997.
    Michel Camilo, Bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Cliff Almond had a killer piano trio sound. Listen to "A Night in Tunisia" from the WBGO Archives.

    And do you know what inspired Michel Camilo to play jazz? Hearing Art Tatum play "Tea for Two." When Camilo was 14, he heard that jazz record in his native Dominican Republic. Since you cannot see Art Tatum magic on a record, and you can no longer see him play, you'll have to check out this re-performance of "Tea For Two."
    -Josh

  • Dr. King 40 Years Later

    April 4, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

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    Sigh...

    Today marks 40 years since one of the greatest civil rights leaders and humanitarians was gunned down and taken away from us.
    Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against low wages and poor working conditions.

    I wasn't even born when Dr. King was assassinated, but I can only imagine the heartbreak that people felt upon first getting that worst piece of news.
    It breaks my heart to think about it as I write this post. Time flies, and many people I talk to can hardly believe its been 40 years.

    For me, it's important to really think about and help others to realize that King was not a man who was a dreamer as the media loves to portray. Yes, he was a man of unparalleled vision, and hope. But he was also a leader through action, and the hardest of hard workers. I would ask that on this day, you would read or listen to Dr. King speak about opposition to war, or why it is important to vote, for example. Not only was he ahead of his time but he is timeless. Take the time to really dig into King - the man, not just the dream.