WBGO Blog
  • When comedy and jazz particles collide

    January 18, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    And Now for Something Completely Different ...
    Since we're headlong into the New Year, and the 2007 listmania has ended - Best Of, Top Ten, Bottom Eleven etc. - permit me to right an historic wrong among jazz critics. Since I'm not one of them.
    There's no debating that jazz has become an international phenomenon. However, the stale argument about who's moving the music forward still rages. While Americans can clearly take ownership of our national treasure, it's foreign-born artists like the Austrian pianist, Hans Groiner, who are finding ways to bring improvisation and art music back into the mainstream. Without any further discussion, bear witness to the Most Overlooked Artist, two years running:

     

    If you'd like to hear The Shape of Jazz to Come, check out Hans Groiner Plays Monk on MySpace.
    - Josh Jackson

  • Sam Woodyard - Stompin' the Yard

    January 7, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    It's the birthday today of Sam Woodyard, one of the great drummers from Duke Ellington's Orchestra.

    Check out a killer solo from Sam Woodyard with Ellington, 1961.

     

    January seems to be a good month for drummers to join the world. This month alone, you'll find the birthdates of Kenny Clarke and Max Roach on the 9th and 10th (that's the bulk of bebop drums in two days). Then there's Grady Tate (1/14), Gene Krupa (1/15), and both Jeff "Tain" Watts and Jimmy Cobb on January 20th. - Josh

  • "DIGGIN' THE CLASSICS": DONALD BYRD EDITION

    January 2, 2008. Posted by Stevan Smith.

    What's going on all!

    Welcome to my blog series "DIGGIN' THE CLASSICS"! When new releases in the music world get slow, we all tend to dig into our collections for some vintage pleasure. Join me for my weekly (or whenever I feel like it) quest for soundtrack satisfaction. This is a blog for music lovers! "Walk With Me".

    This edition celebrates: Donald Byrd- Places and Spaces (1975)

    Tracklisting:

    1. Change (Make you wanna Hustle)
    2. Wind Parade
    3. (Fallin' Like) Dominoes
    4. Places and Spaces
    5. You and the Music
    6. Night Whistler
    7. Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)

    I have only one word to describe this album: SEXY

    This is smooth jazz, funky jazz, "clean ya house jazz". I play this when my mood says,"A grown man just got home from work today....and he needs sometime to reflect".

    Here's my favorite track off of the album....Wind Parade:

     

    Recorded in the summer of 1975, Places & Spaces continued the influences of Byrd's prior release Street Lady. Exhibiting elements of Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Earth Wind & Fire...let's just say this wouldn't be the darling of a jazz purist. Groovin' guitars, mellow bass, and tantalizing horns makes for a perfect blend of jazz/soul/funk/disco harmony.

    Producer Larry Mizell (One half of the Mizell Brothers)

    Hooking up with the Mizell Brothers, as he did with his last 2 albums, Byrd continued his exploration into jazz-funk. The album was also a hot bed for samples. From acid jazz to hip hop, Places and Spaces also birthed many classics in other genres. For example, Black Moon's "Buck Em Down" Remix. A classic hip hop record of the early 90's that samples Byrd's "Wind Parade."

     

    A part of the Blue Note Records Rare Groove series, Donald Byrd's Places and Spaces demands rotation in your mp3 player. A true classic of the past, present and future.