August 8, 2008. Posted by David Tallacksen.
Obama heads on the road
Will he be embraced by the globe?
A world stage debut, full of risk and debate
Obama reacts by draining a 3-point swish with soldiers in Kuwait
I guess he can’t miss
In France, Sarkozy greets him with a kiss
Proclaims himself a “citizen of the world” in Berlin
200,000 gather to observe him
Flags waving instead of burning
Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, West bank, and Britain, he’s on a roll
Back in the US a nine point climb on the poll
In this race, he’s got a head start
While McCain rolls slow with Bush senior in a golf cart
Obama's a rock star
McCain in a new add calls him a pop star
Comparing him to Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears
Iraq who will step up whose got the upper hand
Oops, white house employee emails, Malaki backs Obama’s exit plan
16 months fact or fable?
Now Bush and McCain move closer to the timetable
Obama’s Iran policy
Bigger carrots and bigger sticks?
Or sweet bread and whips?
Summer Olympics in Beijing
Mongolia locusts potentially plaguing
Leading to mass exterminating 550 square miles
Of infestation their spraying
Pollution curbs on cars, factories closing
Athletes in masks prepare for air exposing
Phelps controlling media moguling
Selling super Speedo swimwear on prime time showing
In Colombia hostages held by Farc
Rescue mission how did the plan go?
In a helicopter a team of elite commandos
Landed undercover would it work?
Commandos decked out in Che shirts and jeans
Subdued the guards and rescued fifteen
Politicians and American contractors
Looks like there’ll be a movie deal
With Hollywood backers
Back in the US the place we call home
Are you worried about the safety of your loan?
the government got your back
and the back of Freddie Mac
Big brother with the biggest credit card
14 digit limit time to start spending yall!
What’s money in when it’s the trillions
Lets just raise the debt ceiling
You know make it a little higher
This is America but what happened to Budweiser?
Bailed out by the Belgians lets get it clear
Now Stella is American for beer
produced by Simon Rentner
© 2008 WBGO
July 25, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
WBGO bids farewell to Johnny Griffin, a master jazz musician. Many jazz people referred to Griffin as "The Little Giant," no doubt because of his dimunitive stature (he was a shade below 5 and a half feet tall). The consensus, however, was that Griffin's true stature loomed large in the music. Johnny Griffin could easily fall under the category of "hard bop saxophonist," but to do so would be an injustice. When you listen to the raw muscular sound of early Johnny Griffin records, you can hear a combination of saxophone legend Coleman Hawkins, the rough-and-tumble rhythm and blues of Griffin's Chicago hometown, and some definitive gospel wails. It was a big, combustible sound. One that will be missed.
If you're looking for good music from Griffin, you have plenty of options.
Some suggestions after the jump.
© 2008 WBGO
April 23, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Meet Paul Barbarin, one of the most important people in the history of New Orleans music, and the "how" we call jazz.
The Barbarin family constitutes one of the original lines of Creole musicians who were present at the creation of a new music. Paul's father, Isidore, played the alto horn in The Onward Brass Band, one of the early traditional brass bands in the city.
Before I moved to New York, I used to work at WWOZ in New Orleans. I started as a volunteer, operating the board for a woman named Betty Rankin. Every Saturday morning, while most people my age had hangovers from Friday night, I was in a tiny peach-colored building in Louis Armstrong Park, playing LPs, cassettes, and the occasional CD for a lady who wanted no business with those details. She spent her ninety minutes as "Big Mama," the host of "The Moldy Fig Jam." I was 22, and this was the most amazing radio I had ever heard in my life. She told stories about every jazz musician in the city who had ever picked up an instrument with the purpose of playing traditional New Orleans jazz.
As it happened, Big Mama was an associate curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive. She handled the extensive oral history of New Orleans' music, and she knew both the collection as well as the musicians' whose lives she had helped to document. On any given Saturday, she talked about Paul Barbarin as if he were in the studio with us. It was the beginning of my post-college, real world education. On one such occasion, it was the first time I had ever heard his song, "Bourbon Street Parade." She told her audience about the street parades, how Barbarin kept that tradition alive. In the 1960s, he revived the Onward Brass Band, the name of the group that his father played a part. In fact, Paul Barbarin died in a parade, leading the band. [While I'm no fan of death, that's a great way to shuffle off this mortal coil.]
Years later, on the cusp of 2002, I was the field producer for NPR's Toast of the Nation. We're at the Village Vanguard, with Michael White and The Original Liberty Jazz Band. Hear them play "Bourbon Street Parade" from that evening.
When I hear this song, I remember how I got this far into jazz. Because I live with music.
PS Watch the video of Paul Barbarin's funeral. The musicians are playing "Just a Closer Walk With Thee."
Watching that is knowing why New Orleans matters. Onward.
© 2008 WBGO
April 7, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
You may know guitarist Kevin Eubanks from the Tonight Show Band. Each weeknight, he sits in front of the band, acting as a comic foil for host Jay Leno. Kevin has actually been the music director for the show since 1995, when Branford Marsalis departed. Eubanks has been on the show since 1992. He even penned the show's closing theme song, "Kevin's Country."
Kevin Eubanks is a jazz musician by calling. In fact, music is genetically programmed into the Eubanks clan. Just ask trombonist Robin Eubanks, who is currently blazing trails with the SF Jazz Collective touring ensemble.
Check out Kevin on "Blues for Wes," a duet tribute to one of the heroes of jazz guitar, Wes Montgomery. This selection is a duet recording with bassist Cameron Brown. WBGO recorded it in 1983 at the Jazz Forum in New York. Johnny Carson was still the host of the Tonight Show. Kevin Eubanks was starting a solo career. His television career was yet to come.
© 2008 WBGO
January 18, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Steve Martin one of the funniest comedians of all time. He's also a talented banjo picker in the Earl Scruggs' style. Lately, however, Martin's writing consistently grabs my attention. I'm almost finished with his new memoir, Born Standing Up.
[disclosure - my wife works for the company that publishes this book. Then again, they also publish such intellectual drivel like the recent bestseller, The Secret.]
Martin walked away from standup comedy in 1981. While he was still on top. Born Standing Up offers his personal take on a time, a place, and a person (himself) that no longer exist. It's a fascinating real life story, expressed with astonishing honesty and clarity. When Steve Martin writes about standup comedy - being alone on a stage, in front of an audience that expects you to entertain - he refers to it as "the ego's last stand."
His description of the act is very much how I think an improvising jazz musician must feel at times:
"My most persistent memory of stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing, analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and what to say next."
Fortunately for musicians, silence is an option.
- Josh Jackson
© 2008 WBGO