June 4, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
When you get to your folding chair at the Jazz Gallery on Hudson St.,
there's a personal cardboard fan on your seat, and you think what a nice
souvenir. But by the end of the Roy Hargrove Big Band set, you are using
that fan! You ARE a fan! With 18 guys and a woman -- hallelujah Tanya
Darby on trumpet -- crammed into one end of the oblong loft, and the
audience filling the rest, from the back wall to sax players' feet, you
FEEL this band and it feels GOOD! I love that there's only one mic, for
Roy to speak and, briefly, sing. I love that he has about a square yard
in which to conduct, then turn 180 and play. I love it all. He's
expanding his small group music, and his writing is fresh and old school
at the same time, all accents and syncopation, and the band is playing
almost flawlessly. Gerald Clayton's on piano! The set's not too long.
The Roy Hargrove Big Band plays the Jazz Gallery once more this summer
on June 10. Then after that, your next opp to see them is June 15 at the
Hollywood Bowl, so opt for the great vibes at the Gallery where the
band, the sound and the audience are one and the same. And thanks to Zan
Stewart for his motivating review in the Star Ledger.
© 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