WBGO Blog
  • More Toast: Betty Carter introduces JD Allen 12/31/1994

    December 22, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    toast_of_the_nation_logo

    For over 30 years, WBGO has rung in the New Year with Toast of the Nation. As we gear up for this year's broadcast, Senior Producer Becca Pulliam is digging up some gems from the archives of past shows. Next up, Betty Carter in 1994:

    The show begins and Betty Carter (1929-98) says, Happy New Year! Why do we have to think about all these years? A bittersweet moment to hear it now, as she did not have many more to live.  But on this night, she offers to the time gods a young band of Xavier Davis on piano, Eric Revis on bass, Will Terrell III on drums, and two soloists - Peven Everett on trumpet and John D. Allen on tenor.

    Listening back, I love "You're Mine" from the early set.  JD's tenor solo must have made BC very happy. Listen.

    This New Year's Eve on a Toast of the Nation set from Denver, JD leads his trio with guest Ron Miles on trumpet and a cameo from Henry Butler on piano. Starting at 1:15am ET.

    Click below for some "slices" of our previous toasts:

    Clark Terry

    James Moody

    And tune in to your local NPR station for this year's broadcast!

  • JD Allen Trio - "Son House"

    May 25, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    "I didn't know I loved her 'til they laid her down..."
    When I heard saxophonist JD Allen say those words from the stage during soundcheck today, I knew exactly what he was talking about. That's a line from "Death Letter," by Son House. It is an iconic blues song, and a favorite of mine.

    The JD Allen trio played a set of music from J&R Music World, one that drew heavily from their most recent release, I Am I Am. Except for "Son House," a song the band just recorded for a future release called Shine. Check it out:

     

    And just because you can, watch Son House perform "Death Letter:"

     

    "I didn't know I loved her 'til they laid her down..."
    -Josh

  • Live Blog - JD Allen Trio at J&R Music World

    May 24, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    JD Allen Sign at J&R Music

    LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW ON DEMAND.
    WATCH JD ALLEN'S TRIO PLAY "SON HOUSE."

    4:00pm
    We're live from J&R in lower Manhattan, just across the way from City Hall and the Woolworth Building. Tenor saxophonist JD Allen is playing a set of all original compositions. We're celebrating the release of his recording, I AM I AM.

    4:02 First song is called "The Cross and the Crescent Sickle"

    4:07 Very strong association with the sound of John Coltrane, but JD Allen is his own man.

    4:09 Marcus Belgrave and James Carter are influences from Allen's hometown, Detroit. JD in New York for 14 years now.

    4:11 JD - "It's all a movie. I'm just trying to write the soundtrack."

    4:12 An original song called "Pagan."

    4:15 I'm not missing the absence of a piano. Reminds me of Sonny Rollins' great trio recordings from the Village Vanguard.

    4:17 "The North Star"

    4:20 Every great tenor saxophonist deserves an equally adept drummer. This band no exception. JD and drummer Rudy Royston are CONNECTED.

    4:22 But what makes this a special group is that they are ALL listening to each other.

    4:24 The inspiration for this record? Exodus 3:14 - I am that I am.

    4:25 Based his approach on James Carter. Went to high school together. Turned him on to Albert Ayler, Branford Marsalis etc.

    4:27 "Ezekiel." I'm assuming that JD got that one from the Bible, too.

    4:38 That last song is new. Called "Son House," like the amazing blues musician. Earlier today, JD told me that the trio is already playing an entirely new set of trio music. Record to be called "Shine." Then a standards record.

    4:40 Plays with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, Dave Douglas' Don Cherry Project, drummer Cindy Blackman, and bassist Henry Grimes. Nice mix.

    4:49 That song was Freudian - "Id."

    4:50 I just heard some sad news. Organist Jimmy McGriff has died...

    4:52 This final song is "Hajile." That's "Elijah," if you have a mirror...

    4:55 This band so good. An encore, maybe???

    4:56 Encore - "Titus / I Am I Am"

    Thanks for listening! I'll post the audio online later today. Check back in around 8pm ET, and listen again.
    -Josh