WBGO Blog
  • Talking Jazz with Ben Sidran

    May 6, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Full disclosure and good news -- JazzSet is entering into a partnership with Jazz Standard. It's a great development and gets me to the club more often. And so I went last night to hear friend Ben Sidran do "Talking Jazz" with guest David Newman, resuming the conversation that enlivened "Sidran on Record," Ben's NPR series of yore. "Talking Jazz" is like "Piano Jazz" but different. Enjoyable from the git-go, Ben and "Fathead" relaxed into the night, didn't repeat themselves, told new stories and played different songs, reinforcing my latest rule to STAY FOR BOTH SETS, when possible. Newman contrasted his two long-time bandleaders, Ray Charles and Herbie Mann (quadrupled the pay), and emphasized that in various settings, even a "side" musician needs a consistent, identifiable, personal sound. Then he let us enjoy his, on tenor ("Girl Talk"), alto and flute. Ben sang/played Dylan's "You Gotta Serve Somebody" as though he wrote it. (Must find the words and try to learn them.) With solos on "Oleo," Mike Richmond on bass and son Leo Sidran on drums ended the night -- no speaking roles but effective communicating. - Becca Pulliam, JazzSet Producer

  • Pianist Ronnie Mathews

    May 5, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Ronnie Mathews

    Ronnie Mathews, a pianist who has contributed so much to jazz, is terminally ill. He is battling pancreatic cancer at First Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn. WBGO's Sheila Anderson visited yesterday, as did Mathews' friend, the pianist Barry Harris. Harris brought a keyboard, and played some music for the ailing Mathews.

    If you would like to leave a message for Ronnie Mathews, you may do so. His home number is 718.783.4073. Messages will be delivered to him in the hospital.
    WBGO and the jazz community send Ronnie Mathews wishes for strength and peace during this difficult time.
    -Josh

  • Sam Ulano Interviewed by Rob Crocker: My Life as a Jazz Drummer and Teacher

    May 2, 2008. Posted by Rob Crocker.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    sam3.jpgsamu-11.jpg

    My first blog entry for WBGO had to be, I thought, something special. Sam Ulano was just that. The name Sam Ulano has been floating around the Jazz Drum World for decades. He was a good friend to Max Roach and Buddy Rich (in this interview he talks about Max coming to perform drum clinics at Sam's studio in the Bronx, and people's misconception of Buddy). Sam, aside from being a good drummer, always had the rep' of being the Great Teacher - actually, teaching the trick of reading drum music. His students included Barry Altschul, Marvin ‘Smitty' Smith, Dion Parsons - and his first student was Art Taylor (back in the ‘40s). At the age of 87, his mind is still sharp and he continues to teach and write books.

    At the start of the interview, he is a bit off mic because he's busy putting his drumsticks in order (so he can illustrate his technique). He also starts with some drum history that I, and maybe you, never think about (from 1812-1920). This leads into his philosophy about what going wrong in drumming today. The music featured in the interview are from his recordings in the ‘50s and ‘60s, including the record that got him appearances on nationwide television and radio. In the interview, we talk about all this and much more and conclude with The Hit. - Rob Crocker