WBGO Blog
  • Toast of the Nation New York - The Place

    December 31, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Jazz Standard

    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?"

  • Ed Thigpen at 77

    December 28, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Ed Thigpen

    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.

    Ed Thigpen