• The New Jazz Composers Octet Live at J & R Music World

    December 23, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    David Weiss
    The New Jazz Composers Octet performed a rousing set, live on our airwaves at J & R Music World in lower Manhattan on Saturday, December 20th.  WBGO's Monifa Brown interviewed the leaders of the band during the broadcast: trumpeter David Weiss (first composer in-command) and pianist Xavier Davis (recipient of Chamber Music America Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project).  They are a modest duo.  Listening to their quiet insights into their craft is a poor way to measure the power that bursts off their lead sheets through their instruments.  An Octet is a particularly opulent setting for a contemporary jazz composer.  It's difficult to keep a band like that on the road.  And when its manned with talents Craig Handy, Jimmy Greene, and Nasheet Waits, Weiss should have a lot to boast about. However, his soft-spoken nature reflects a great irony that confronts many of our great artists today.  The common dilemma of being under-appreciated as a modern composer seems to suit his temperament.  Weiss would rather have the music do the talking.  Once the set was finished, nothing was left unspoken.  Now that's music. - Simon Rentner

    Listen to the full concert and interview:

    Click here and check out their brilliant new CD The Turning Gate.

  • Live Blog: Cedar Walton Trio at the Village Vanguard 12.17.08

    December 17, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Cedar Walton Trio Sign at Village Vanguard
    See some photos.

    We're an hour from showtime.  Earlier today, I visited Cedar Walton at his home in Brooklyn.  I'll post the interview with the complete wrap-up of our time at the Vanguard tonight.  Stay tuned.

    Not a full house expected tonight.  Could be that the recession is starting to put a dent in recreation budgets.  Not a good sign for jazz.

    Epoch Films is shooting a Heineken commercial in the Village Vanguard tomorrow.  Keep an eye out for that in the near future.  Real musicians will not be a part of the shoot.  Just actors.  They have reserved all parking spots on both sides of the club.  As you might know, parking spaces in NYC are a premium, so the neighbors are none too thrilled about finding a spot for their cars.

    Bassist David Williams is the first member of the trio to arrive tonight.  More later.

    Drummer Lewis Nash just arrived.  He recently finished recording a studio date for Willie Nelson with Joe Sample, Christian McBride, and guitarist Anthony Wilson.  Willie sings standards!

    Still no leader...Cedar Walton, paging Cedar Walton???

    Cedar must have heard the page.  And he was looking for parking...

    "Cedar's Blues" opens the show, and the trio is swinging mercilessly.

    "Dear Ruth," an original composition dedicated to Cedar's mom.  She was a piano teacher.  She must have been a good one!

    Lots of original compositions so far.  This one is "Sixth Avenue."  Funky.

    This is "Back to the Holy Land," I think.  Cedar is calling songs on the fly.

    Sorry for the long break in action.  We're listening to "Time After Time."  This is such a great trio.  Plenty of chemistry.

    "Body and Soul" with a samba beat.  I just heard a reference to "Mona Lisa" go by...

    A little Christmas Music, anyone?  With some blues for good measure.