• Author Tad Hershorn on New Norman Granz Biography

    April 12, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Interviews, RIP

    Author Tad Hershorn talks with Gary Walker about his new book, Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz For Justice (University of California, 2011), and Granz's legacy in music and civil rights.


    Granz, who died in 2001, was the founder of Clef, Verve and Pablo Records, and the organizer of the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert tours and albums. A staunch supporter of racial equality, Granz made sure that his artists were well-paid and well-treated when they traveled and worked with him.

    Hershorn  interviewed Granz and his close associates extensively over a decade while he was writing the book. Hershorn, an archivist at Rutgers University-Newark's Institute for Jazz Studies, has  organized an exhibit of Granz memorabilia which will be on display until April 25 at the Institute.


  • WBGO's Gary Walker Remembers Phoebe Jacobs

    April 9, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Interviews, RIP

    In recent years someone gave Phoebe Jacobs one of those hi tech mini recording devices and said “Phoebe, just speak your stories. We’ll make the book”. She responded a short time later, “I can’t get this damn thing to work”.

    As a result, we’ll not read the book about a lady we lost this week at 93; a lady who hat checked as a young girl in her uncle’s jazz joint on 52nd Street while Billie Holiday sang or Artie Shaw played. She worked with Norman Granz, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It was Phoebe who was instrumental in carrying on Armstrong’s legacy in her role as vice-president of The Louis Armstrong Educational foundation.

    Although there was no book, on occasion Phoebe Jacobs would sit still long enough to share some of her wonderful life. Below is a chat I had with Phoebe a few weeks before The 2007 JVC Festival would present a musical tribute “Phoebe Jacobs, A Life Well-Lived: A Work Still In Progress." -  Gary Walker


  • WBGO Remembers Drummer Paul Motian

    November 22, 2011. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO says goodbye to our friend drummer Paul Motian, who passed away early this morning at age eighty at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.


    Motian first rose to prominence in the fifties in Bill Evans' trio with bassist Scott LaFaro, then played with Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, and hundreds of others. He also led a trio for more than twenty years with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell.

    I chatted with Motian at the Village Vanguard on June 21, when he played two sets in fine form with saxophonist Mark Turner. Adding up all of the bands he had led or joined onstage at the club, we reckoned he probably performed there more than any other person in the club's 76 years of operation. He was certainly a favorite of the Vanguard's owner, Lorraine Gordon, who sets high sonic standards for the club. She booked Motian and his bands several times a year.

    Motian was certainly a favorite of WBGO's, and his legacy lives on in the hundreds of musicians, many of them half, or even a quarter, of his age, with whom he shared his wisdom.

    We were fortunate over the years to present Motian's live performances many times, including the June show at the Vanguard, which you can see by clicking on the pane below or listen to here. You can also hear Motian on two other WBGO broadcasts from the Vanguard, with saxophonist Bill McHenry on June 8, 2009, and with Frisell and Lovano on September 3, 2008.

    Watch live streaming video from wbgo at livestream.com

    Thank you, Paul, and rest easy: your light and sound shine on!