June 15, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Abbey Lincoln used to call her songs "little ditties." That's what her pianist James Weidman told us when we played a WBGO recording of her from The Peppermint, a jazz club in New Jersey, on JazzSet. It comes from the 1980s, and Abbey was introducing her album Talking to the Sun. This is the cover photo.
Those little ditties contain amazing images. It's as though we can be with Abbey Lincoln all over again as Cassandra Wilson sings "Talking to the Sun," Dee Dee Bridgewater chooses "Another World" (singing it made her cry), and Dianne Reeves soars on"Bird Alone." All three whistle and trill on "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It may be my favorite moment of this Tribute to Abbey Lincoln from the Kennedy Center. Hear it Sunday, June 17, at 6pm .. Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30 .. or any time at wbgo.org/jazzset.
© 2012 WBGO
June 11, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
From last summer's end, to set the stage for a new festival season, listen to JazzSet.
Trumpeter Sean Jones leads his group in music from his CD No Need for Words. Then Marcus Strickland (above) -- with Lawrence Fields, piano; Christian McBride, bass; and 2011 DJF Artist in Residence Jeff Tain Watts on drums -- brings full focus to Tain's closing set, especially the sign-off piece, "Attainment."
Hear a sample in the promo above. Come back for more, Wednesday at 6:30pm.
For info about some of this summer's festivals, click here and scroll down to the WBGO Festival Calendar.
© 2012 WBGO
June 1, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Here's a taste of the Jazz Journalists Association Guitarist of the Year Russell Malone and his trio .. Sunday June 3 at 6pm, Wednesday June 6 at 6:30pm .. on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.
And by the way, Dee Dee is at the Blue Note. I saw her second set last night. She was great!
© 2012 WBGO
May 22, 2012. Posted by Alex Ariff.
Back in 1998, JazzSet received special permission to document four days and three nights of jazz in Cuba. The crew consisted of Producer Becca Pulliam, Technical Director Duke Markos, and Alfredo Cruz (then he was with KLON in Long Beach, now he is CEO at KUVO Jazz 89 in Denver), and Field Producer Carolina Sanchez who lived in Havana. Much time has passed, but this trip remains one of the most special moments in JazzSet history. This will be one of the last posts in the This Week in JazzSet History series; the final will appear next week. I hope that you have had as much fun as I have, reliving and rediscovering great moments.
What better way to begin, than with a street performance! Here is Rumba Moreno, a seven-women percussion group, featuring Steve Turre on seashells. The session sparked up organically outside painter Salvador Gonzalez’s house, in the world-famous arty alley Callejón de Hamel.
Next, we’ll hear an excerpt from a concert tribute to a composer who we all know was greatly influenced by Cuban music, Dizzy Gillespie. Bobby Carcassés scats a wild solo on “Salt Peanuts.” Carcassés helped to found the first International Jazz Festival in Havana in 1980, and Dizzy Gillespie was on the bill! As the solo builds listen closely for the incredible chekere (a gourd with beads) solo played by Pancho Terry.
Now we’ll hear flautist Orlando Valle, aka “Maraca.” He is most popular for his role in the group Irakere, but here he is leading his own band Otra Vision. This was some of the hottest Afro-Cuban jazz captured during JazzSet’s entire visit! The name of this tune is “Tumbao pa’ Changuito,” for guest timbalero, Changuito (of Los Van Van). Note: Timbalero is the word for one who plays the timbales.
Next, here is a performance by the six-man a cappella group Vocal Sampling. They are singing “Todo el Mundo Cantando Coro,” which translates to " the whole world sings in a chorus." JazzSet recorded Vocal Sampling during a rehearsal at the home of Raúl Castro (yes, brother of Fidel). (Although we did not know this in advance, says Becca. And Duke recalls that the group's engineer was the politician's son.) Duke Markos used individual microphones to capture each vocalist's clear sound. Believe your ears! No instruments here, folks!
The moment the JazzSet team stepped into EGREM studios, it was like stepping into a the time capsule of Cuban music. La Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales de Cuba (EGREM), is to Cuban music what Rudy Van Gelder's spot in New Jersey is to jazz. EGREM was founded in 1964 and remains Cuba’s oldest record label. Its most notable recording is the music from the Buena Vista Social Club. I recovered these photos taken inside the legendary studio.
We’ll end this recap of JazzSet's trip with an intimate recording with international piano legend, Frank Emilio Flynn. Flynn played in a small club that had the feeling of a cozy home, and another Cuban jazz great, Chucho Valdez, showed up to join him. The two pianists span the last 60 years of jazz in Cuba. In this gorgeous clip, Flynn allows you to forget about how beat-up the piano is, propelling your imagination into romantic nostalgia. The audience sat comfortably in puffy chairs and sofas. Some chitchatted, while others puffed gently on cigars. The style of this piece is a filin—a genre that brought the blues to bolero, Cuba's romantic dance music . Here is a “La Gloria Eres Tu” – “The Glory Is You,” by Jose Antonio Mendez.
Alexander G. Ariff is a Master's Degree student at Rutgers University-Newark, completing his thesis on jazz/poetry collaborations of the late 1950s.
© 2012 WBGO
May 17, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Nicki Mathis, a performer and presenter in Hartford, CT, won free tickets to all three nights of the Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center, May 10-12. The Kennedy Center is 350 miles from Hartford, but if Nick even considered not making the trip, she never let on. She and I sat in row H along with Mary Lou Williams's two sisters and other family members. Like royalty.
Here is Nicki's report:
To be able to attend the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival would not have happened for me without WBGO's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater sweepstakes tickets incentive! Thank you for making me feel welcome.
Highlights for me were seeing so many of the jazz ladies -- Linda Oh and gentleman Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, phenomenal Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller, Mimi Jones I know and enjoy. Carmen Lundy I have met. I picked up her CD. So much enjoyed meeting and hearing Dee Dee Bridgewater perform live again since The Wiz (Dee Dee won a Tony Award for her Wiz role in the 1970s -- BP). Always enjoy Ingrid Jensen. Good to finally see/hear Diane Monroe/Carla Cook. The biggest thrill was Candido, obviously touched by the creator.
Overall, I missed hearing traditional jazz and seeing more jazzwomen bandmembers.
Candido was the musical guest of Jane Bunnett, the Canadian flute/saxophonist, and pianist Hilario Duran from Cuba. Candido recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. He worked with both Billy Taylor (founder of this Fest) and Mary Lou Williams. There is nothing like his tuneful, percussive, hands-on-skins conga sound. We will have more pictures.
© 2012 WBGO