May 20, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
I was pleasantly surprised that this interview actually happened, but I know
all to well that persistence pays off in the long run. I say this because Al
Foster is famously dodgy about giving interviews to press. Probably because
everyone in the world wants to know about Al's relationship with Miles Davis.
Sure, he played with Miles for more than a decade, and was a dear friend, even
during Davis' self-imposed exile from the music scene in the late 1970s. Get
beyond that, and you realize that Al Foster has had an extraordinary musical
life. In this interview, Foster talks about growing up in Harlem, where he met
many of the legendary jazz musicians who shaped his career. And Miles too.
But did you know that Al Foster raised four daughters as a single father? One
more reason this guy deserves a medal. At the end of it all, you start to realize
why so many people regard Al Foster as one of the great messengers of our music.
The Al Foster Quartet plays the Village Vanguard this week. You can hear them
live on WBGO, tomorrow night at 9. I'll be your host. Stay tuned.
© 2008 WBGO
April 1, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
© 2008 WBGO
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