Rhonda Hamilton

Renee Rosnes Quartet on JazzSet

Steve Nelson's mallets, Renee Rosnes at the piano .. Photo by John Rogers for NPR
Steve Nelson's mallets, Renee Rosnes at the piano .. Unseen are Peter Washington, bass, and Lewis Nash, drums .. Photo by John Rogers

RED is the color of the Village Vanguard from the awning and the door to the velvet drapes. ". . . [T]he red curtains and red carpet, there's a warmth," says pianist Renee Rosnes. And she opens her set with "Rouge" by John Lewis.

Vibraphonist Steve Nelson can throw the blues into anything, says Renee, from "Rouge" to Milton Nascimento's "Travessia;" Walt Weiskopf's "Intuition;" "Up With the Lark" by Jerome Kern, played for Bill Evans who was at home at the Vanguard; and Renee's own "Manhattan Rain."

She reminisces about working here with two great bandleaders. Saxophonist Joe Henderson used to say "Heaven is on the bandstand," and one night during a set, vibraphonist Hutcherson felt the ghost of Dexter Gordon so strongly, he had to sit down on the red leather side bench.

Listen for the set on Sunday, March 25, at 6pm and Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 .. or at your convenience at wbgo.org/jazzset.

Rhonda Hamilton is our guest host.

Billy Taylor at WBGO

"Dr T" came to try out the station's new Steinway. I think he likes the piano. He runs through the entire keyboard! This comes from the late 1980s.

I hope you can listen to Toast of the Nation at 9pm Fri 12/31 and 3pm Sat 1/1 for a 30-minute remembrance of Dr Billy Taylor (1921-2010), hosted by Rhonda Hamilton. Dr Taylor invited Rhonda to host a live New Year's broadcast on NPR in 1979. She speaks about how much that meant to her, and we hear clips from some of his many NPR shows.