April 26, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
UNESCO -- the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -- has named April 30 as International Jazz Day. And festivities begin on Friday, April 27, in Paris. For more information, visit the UNESCO web page.
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock spoke with Alex Dutilh of France Musique yesterday about the pianist's involvement in International Jazz Day, as well as changes in jazz worldwide since Herbie started to play the music as a teenager in the mid 1950s. Herbie says,
. . . my experience [then] was that for the most part, the best jazz musicians were Americans. I can’t say that these days. I can’t say that today because, in my experience traveling around the world and hearing jazz musicians from different countries and seeing also jazz musicians that have moved to the United States and gotten experience working with great world class musicians in America and taken that back to their home countries, it’s expanded the professional level of jazz musicianship. Exponentially. So now it truly is an international music.
At sunrise on Monday, April 30, there will be a worldwide hookup of young players in New Orleans, Rio, Cape Town and Paris on a synchronized live version of Herbie's "Watermelon Man!"
Check out the April 30 events at UN headquarters in New York here.
And Monday night at 6:30, we'll broadcast the New Orleans concert as a special. Listen to WBGO and wbgo.org for more info.
© 2012 WBGO
July 31, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Earlier this summer, WBGO launched NPR's first concert series of live jazz webcasts, "Live at the Village Vanguard," which offers monthly shows from the legendary New York City venue. Next weekend, August 9 and 10, WBGO and NPR Music are teaming up to live webcast main stage acts from the JVC Jazz Festival Newport. On the bill are legendary pianist Herbie Hancock; producer, performer and Jazz Festival founder George Wein; guitarist Howard Alden; along with rising jazz stars Esperanza Spalding and Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos. I'll be your host. Should be fun.
Check out one of my favorite performances captured at Newport.
© 2008 WBGO
December 31, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
The Jazz Standard's address is 116 East 27th Street in Manhattan, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. The club seems to exist in some type of gray area, as far as Manhattan neighborhoods. The location is conceivably an eastern part of the Flatiron section of town, but more like a northern extension of the Gramercy area, since it's a full six blocks from the exclusive enclave of Gramercy Park.
Whatever. I'm glad we're spending New Year's at Jazz Standard.
Don't get me wrong. I've spent some quality time at clubs during the last six Toast of the Nation celebrations. Each one of them has contributed some special moments. And there are always some delightful stories when you work in the trenches to bring people across the country some live music. Here are the last six I've worked as field producer, in order:
The Village Vanguard - Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band 2001/02
Blue Note New York - Chick Corea New Trio with Gary Burton 2002/03
Blue Note New York - Herbie Hancock Quartet 2003/04
Yoshi's in Oakland for Joshua Redman's Elastic Band 2004/05
Tipitina's in New Orleans for Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, The Hot 8 Brass Band, and Galactic 2005/06
The now-defunct Tonic on the Lower East Side - Steven Bernstein's Millenial Territory Orchestra 2006/07
So this year, we're at Jazz Standard. Thanks to Seth Abramson, it's one of the most creatively booked jazz clubs in the city. And thanks to Danny Meyer, it has some rockin' barbeque (not bad, considering we're above the Mason-Dixon line).
Not so incidentally, WBGO broadcast Ben Allison's Medicine Wheel, with the kora player, Mamadou Diabate, live during the club's opening week celebration. It's been a long time since that show, but we're finally back at the club for another live shot. "Ain't that good news?"
© 2007 WBGO
December 28, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Drummer Ed Thigpen has lived in Denmark since the early 70s, but we haven't forgotten him stateside. Especially given the recent death of Oscar Peterson. Thigpen recorded more than 50 records as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio, but not very many as a leader.
In 1966, though, he made a record for Verve called OUT OF THE STORM. Not a lot of music here, and Thigpen doesn't solo much, but it's still worth checking out. At the time, Thigpen had recently left the Oscar Peterson trio. Trumpeter Clark Terry adds some mouthpiece-only solos for an nice effect. Thigpen plays tuned drums that sound like tympani at times. Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, and Ron Carter round out the date. Give it a listen.
The last time I saw Ed Thigpen, he was teaching kids at a percussion clinic in New Orleans. As you can imagine, there were a symphony of drummers in attendance (which, in retrospect, is pretty easy for a rhythm town like NOLA). It was just around the time that he won a Humanitarian Award at the International Association for Jazz Education conference.
That seems fitting. He's a beautiful cat, and a tremendous educator. And for the record, he's a hell of a wire brush player.
Happy Birthday, Ed Thigpen.
© 2007 WBGO