WBGO Blog
  • Saturday at the Detroit Jazz Festival .. hot and stormy

    September 4, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Warren Wolf, the young vibes man from Baltimore with the strong new CD, played for keeps in overwhelming heat. Warren’s on the fall schedule for Josh Jackson’s Live from the 92Y series. Buy your ticket.

    Warren Wolf .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Warren Wolf .. Photo by Jeff Forman

    Sean Jones on the amphitheatre stage was “killin” says Josh, in fact JJ tweeted “best set of the festival so far.” Listen for Sean, Labor Day at noon on Jazz 88 and WBGO dot org.

    Sean Jones .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Sean Jones .. Photo by Jeff Forman

    After Sean, a serious storm blew in. The Sun Ra Arkestra squeezed a brief acoustic set between the first storm and a second that came barreling in from the west. To save the night, the Festival moved some music to the hotel as a HIGH WIND JAM SESSION, and the Dave Holland Octet delivered a performance I won’t forget!

    The bar was crowded and noisy, yet Dave’s acoustic bass reached out to everyone. He’s so musical and projects without forcing, and as for Chris Potter, his tenor is like a ribbon and a knife at the same time. Gary Smulyan crooned on bari. With great writing and solos all around, people – on their feet – turned to face and love the band, all the way to the end.

    Later Dave told me a good story. When he played with Miles, he experienced how a musician could quiet a noisy room. On the intro to the ballad “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” for example, Miles would start alone, playing naturally, not raising his trumpet. The band would join in, and somewhere in the second or third chorus, Dave says, the people stopped talking and started listening, because - through his music – Miles had insisted.

    Dave Holland in the Volt .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Dave Holland in the Volt .. Photo by Jeff Forman
  • Sing the Truth! - "With near record breaking heat and high humidity, I felt chills"

    September 3, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Rhonda Hamilton writes:  The Detroit Jazz Festival got off to a spectacular start Thursday evening with fireworks in the sky and on the stage, as the voices of Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright rang out into the night and captivated the opening night crowd.

    With near record breaking heat and high humidity in the Motor City over the last few days, the word perspiration doesn’t fit the bill.  We have all been sweating but within the first few seconds of Sing The Truth!, I literally felt chills. These three incredibly gifted artists, each with her own distinctive style, put on a show that energized the audience and made us glad to be alive.

    Dianne Reeves sings with the clarity, confidence and passion of an artist who has earned diva status. In complete command of her instrument, she knows how to weave a spell, create drama and take the music higher.

    Dianne Reeves .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Dianne Reeves .. Photo by Jeff Forman

    Angelique Kidjo carries the spirit of Mother Africa within her soul. Her voice, her dance, her exuberance have the power to make you scream.

    Angelique Kidjo in motion .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Angelique Kidjo in motion .. Photo by Jeff Forman

    Lizz Wright embodies youth and beauty and grace.  Despite her young years she has the heart of a woman and the wisdom to match.  With a voice like warm honey she digs deep and brings up a well of emotion with each performance.

    Lizz Wright .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Lizz Wright .. Photo by Jeff Forman

    During their months on tour, Dianne, Angelique and Lizz have developed a strong bond, clearly inspiring and learning from each other.  They share the love and they “Sing The Truth.” Don’t miss our broadcast Labor Day Monday at noon.

    Photo by Jeff Forman
    Photo by Jeff Forman
    Thanks, Jeff! Great photos
    Thanks, Jeff! Great photos
  • The Detroit Jazz Festival begins with a percussion discussion

    September 3, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Joe Locke .. photo by Jeff Forman
    Joe Locke .. photos by Jeff Forman

    Opening the festival, Jeff Tain Watts's Drum Club was a visual feast in itself with Tain upstage audience right, Joe Locke downstage left, and an ocean of percussion in between. One man on one instrument, Joe worked and danced and made melodies HAPPEN, climaxing solos with fully extended, 180-degree-arm-coming-down mallet strikes. Several times. In a row. He held his own and then some.

    Upstage, Tony Lewis, Horacio Hernandez and Tain played kits on platforms left, center and right. In the middle tier, Rafael Statin played saxes, Susie Ibarra was at her beautiful kulintang -- a Philippine instrument of inverted, knobbed metal flower pots (an improvised description at best); conguero Pedro Martinez (in the photo); and bassist Bob Hurst. And the rest was all Tain’s turf, including a beautiful tympani down front. But he stayed mostly at his drumkit. Imagine rhythms flying, at first more abstract, then in deeper grooves, which the audience loved. The festival has begun.

    Pedro Martinez .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Pedro Martinez .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Jeff Tain Watts .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Jeff Tain Watts .. Photo by Jeff Forman