• Frank Foster's All Star New York Orchestra Plays Shiny Stockings .. New Year's Eve 1995

    July 28, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    This "Great Live Moment" from WBGO's audio archives is also part of our longer tribute to Frank Foster, which you can read here. Swing Easy, Uncle Frank!

    WBGO had a friend in the late Frank Foster (1928-2011). He and this band of great, name players rang in the New Year with the station at a great party in a ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, live on WBGO and Cognac Hennessy New Year's Eve Coast to Coast across the country.

    And after midnight Milt Jackson (whose birthday was January 1) stepped up to the vibes for a long, relaxed jam on Foster's signature song. Solos are by Billy Harper (or so I think because someone in the crowd yells "Wild Bill!" after the solo), John Sneider and the late and much-missed Hilton Ruiz. Those trumpet shakes at the end must have put a buzz on the balloons and confetti and inspired the couples on the dance floor.

    Bill Easley, George Coleman, Fostina Dixon, Dave Glasser, Billy Harper, saxophones

    Tony Barrero, Cecil Bridgewater, Jon Faddis, Virgil Jones,  John Sneider, trumpets

    Curtis Fuller, Jack Jeffers, Robert Trowers, Andrew Williams, trombones

    Hilton Ruiz, piano; Earl May, bass; Grady Tate, drums

  • Blame It On Terell Stafford

    March 14, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    jazzStafford_160x130Terell leans back and plays from his knees - I remember observing on this night in March, 2008, at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club - and paints with the bell of his horn. Bruce Barth is the pianist, Phil Palombi on bass, Dana Hall on drums. Another time I appreciated Terell, he was with the Clayton Brothers quintet and a local orchestra closing  the Detroit Jazz Fest. The piece was John Clayton's dedication to Hank, Thad and Elvin Jones. The audience hung on every note of Terell's solo - fast, brilliant and driving on a cool Labor Day night.

    "Blame It On My Youth" is by Oscar Levant (1906-72), the pianist, film composer, acid-tongued comedian, TV guest and host, and - as  Gary Burton would say when he performed this song - "all-around strange guy." Jack Paar signed off his late night TV shows, "Good night, Oscar Levant, wherever you are."

    Tuesday night, Terell Stafford is at the Village Vanguard.

  • One Minute of Fred Hersch

    March 4, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    You have probably heard the Waltz in D-Flat major by Frédéric Chopin a/k/a the Minute Waltz because you can play it in 60 seconds.  Well, here is Fred Hersch with a Minute Waller, as in Thomas "Fats" Waller (1904-1943), the composer of "Crazy 'Bout My Baby."  In 60 seconds.

    Our solo Hersch comes from the Village Vanguard as heard on JazzSet in 2006.  This weekend, Fred is playing at the Jazz Standard in New York.