WBGO Blog
  • Live Music Notes - Lee Konitz at Jazz Standard

    April 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    I've been going to see more and more music these days, much to the detriment of my need for sleep. Tuesday evening, I decided to check out the Lee Konitz Trio with very special guest, Danilo Perez. The early set, anyway. I know my limitations.

    Lee Konitz
    , at 80, is still making some amazing music. And as much as I get tired of hearing jazz repertory, I never tire of hearing Konitz play standards. Four songs in one set, three of which I recognized. All of which I enjoyed. Konitz has this way of never really playing the melody outright. Instead, he basically smashed the loaf into bread crumbs, and sprinkles them over the course of a 15 minute group improvisation. It takes a while to find it. And by the time you DO find it, you realize that the treasure is not at the end of the trail. It was the crumbs!
    Kinda like that whole idea of jazz being more of a how than a what.

    Tuesday night, the group (Konitz on alto sax, Danilo on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums) played a strange, intermittent funk under "Stella by Starlight," then a less than foolish nod to people time - "I'll remember April." During the last song, I kept wondering if I was hearing a version of Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing..." I wasn't. I was hearing the band play Bob Haggart's "What's New?"
    If you want to find the answer to that question - what's new? - follow the bread crumbs to Jazz Standard.  This band beats creative loafing any day.
    -Josh

  • Great Live Moments - Jim Hall

    April 2, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Guitarist Jim Hall is the embodiment of what makes jazz special. First of all, there's something so absolutely honest about his music. If you need proof that Hall is the greatest living jazz guitarist, ask Pat Metheny. Or Bill Frisell. Or John Scofield. They will tell you that Jim Hall is their guy. I suspect musicians admire Jim for many of the reasons that we do.  Chiefly, Hall's asset is his ability to listen to the other band members. Just imagine all those Jim Hall duets with Bill Evans, Ron Carter, or any number of guitarists, not to mention his ensemble playing with Sonny Rollins... "Down From Antigua" is one of Jim Hall's trademark compositions. As many times as I've heard this tune, it still sounds fresh.
    WBGO recorded the Jim Hall Trio at The Jazz Forum, February 5, 1983.
    They are:
    Jim Hall, guitar
    Harvie Swartz - bass
    Ben Riley - drums

    Listen to "Down From Antigua" from the WBGO Archives.
    -Josh

  • Great Live Moments - Dexter Gordon

    April 2, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Saxophonist Dexter Gordon is a favorite of many WBGO hosts. On any given day here, you will hear Dexter. WBGO recorded the Dexter Gordon Quartet at the Village Vanguard in 1983. We're featuring a song from that set, one that originally appeared on a 1962 release for Blue Note Records, A Swingin' Affair. It's called "Soy Califa." Sounds like a nutritious beverage, but the loose translation is "I am the Caliph," or "I am the King." Kinda like Louis XIV saying, "L'Etat C'est Moi," or "I am the state..."
    Dexter was definitely one of the kings, and his playing is sure to put you in a good state of mind.
    Introducing the quartet:
    Dexter Gordon, Tenor saxophone
    Kirk Lightsey, Piano
    David Eubanks, Bass
    Eddie Gladden, Drums

    Check out "Soy Califa," from the WBGO Archives.
    -Josh