March 23, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Ornette Coleman at his midtown loft and studio, the latter of which he affectionately calls "The Doghouse." When I left, I had an earworm moment. I could not shake "Midnight Sunrise" from my head. On that recording, from Dancing in Your Head, Ornette plays his saxophone with the Master Musicians of Joujouka during a religious ceremony of Sufi trance music.
That's a pretty good indication of how my time with him sounded - sometimes mystic, sometimes swirling with idea and sound, always emphasizing humanity, freedom, and eternity. See, Ornette Coleman is not without his own musical language and his own sound grammar. The best way to understand what Ornette Coleman is saying is to listen to what he has to say. Because at 78, he still has a lot on his mind.
Jazz legend Ornette Coleman is the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He will be performing at Town Hall this Friday, March 28th.
© 2008 WBGO
March 21, 2008. Posted by .
On the latest edition of our new podcast "We Insist!: Jazz Speaks Out," the subject is pianist, composer, humanitarian and Brooklynite Randy Weston and his groundbreaking recording Uhuru Afrika. Host Angelika Beener talks with Weston about his music and his love of Africa. They also talk about the first meeting between Weston and Melba Liston, the great trombonist and arranger who became a a 40+ year collaborator.
Randy says Melba was the key component to the success of many of his greatest recordings, including, most dramatically, "Uhuru Afrika." You can hear more about Ms. Liston, Babatunde Olatunji, Langston Hughes, Geoffrey Holder and others in this interesting program which you can listen to on-Demand. Hear a humble genius talk about his great friend and musical partner.
Randy Weston on Africa and Jazz
You can also listen to other conversations with Terence Blanchard, who talks about Miles Davis' "A Tribute to Jack Johnson" and Dr. Robin D.G. Kelly, who talks about jazz and the Civil Rights Movement.
Terence Blanchard on Miles and Jack Johnson
Dr. Robin Kelley on Jazz and Civil Rights
© 2008 WBGO
March 6, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Dr. Billy Taylor, at 86, is still a great broadcaster. The good doctor has been spreading the jazz message on multiple broadcast platforms for more than half a century. In the 1950s, he was one of the first jazz musicians to have a daily radio program. He also hosted a weekly television show, The Subject is Jazz. He was the jazz correspondent on CBS Sunday Morning. He hosted two NPR programs, Jazz Alive and Jazz at the Kennedy Center. He founded Jazzmobile. And he's had a web presence for the last seven years. Dr. Billy Taylor's website now includes many classic videos culled from an extraordinary life in jazz. Here's one of the many gems you'll discover - a performance with Billy Taylor, Duke Ellington and Willie "The Lion" Smith:
While you're here, dig this interview with Dr. Taylor and WBGO's Gary Walker.
© 2008 WBGO
March 6, 2008. Posted by Doug Doyle.
Two guys who never formally met before sat down for an interview...and could have chatted for hours...that's what happened when saxophonist and composer Don Braden came in for the latest SportsJam session. Even though Don had been at Jazz 88 many times, I've never had a chance to talk to him. It's amazing how jazz, sports and kids can create bonds. Don brought his gorgeous sax and thrilled us with his jazzy rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and an original tune he composed for his daughter. Don's strict fitness and nutrition program inspired this overweight anchor to hit the gym!
Check out our conversation.
© 2008 WBGO