Honor the birth of the cool

Happy 88th Birthday, George Wein!

George Wein, pianist and founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, talks with WBGO's Tim Wilkins about his career and the evolution of the jazz audience and music. Wein celebrates his 88th birthday with two nights of concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center on October 3 and 4, where he will perform at 7 p.m. with Anat Cohen and Lew Tabackin on reeds, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Howard Alden on guitar, Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums.

To hear more of George's thoughts on the future of the music he loves, tune in to our weekly new music magazine, The Checkout, on WBGO-FM on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m. Happy Birthday, George from all of your friends at WBGO!


Dave Brubeck .. born December 6, 1920 .. in a magical new painting

Paul Desmond, Dave Brubeck, Iola Brubeck and the 1951 Frazer Vagabond, Painting by Chris Osborne
FOREGROUND: Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck of the Dave Brubeck Quartet with  Iola Brubeck in the 1951 Frazer Vagabond in San Francisco

Chris Osborne of New Milford, Connecticut, is a magical painter of musicians and the cars they loved. She has exhibited at WBGO and the Litchfield Jazz Festival as well. In an earlier life, Chris was the jazz buyer at Tower Records near Lincoln Center.

Today, I'm thinking of Chris because of her fantastic painting of Dave Brubeck, born 91 years ago in Concord, CA. He and his Frazer Vagabond are the subjects of one of Osborne's most recent works of art.

"The vehicle locks in the time," she says, perhaps punning lightly on Brubeck's 1959 album Time Out. In this case, the Vagabond built by Kaiser-Frazer and the Black Hawk marquis establish a great era in Dave Brubeck's career.

The Vagabond was one of the first cars to have a hatchback; you have to appreciate those beautiful wooden slats, ideal for rolling your luggage in and out.

In this large format acrylic, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello -- the other two members of the 1950s Brubeck Quartet -- stand by the awning, near the street sign showing the actual Black Hawk corner. Painter Chris Osborne was able to find only two extant images of the club. One is on the Miles Davis album art; the other is a black and white photo that shows pianist John Lewis by the door. Today, there's an empty lot where the famous BH used to be.

Painting by Chris Osborne, photograph by Patricia Bolgosano
Painting by Chris Osborne, photograph by Patricia Bolgosano

Chris writes, "This painting evolved as I worked on it and read Dave's bio [It's About Time by Fred M. Hall]. At first I just had a figure (Dave) and the car and was thinking of a San Francisco Bay scene, but the Black Hawk seemed like a true jazz image. Then I read how important Iola was to Dave's career, and friends kept saying 'you have to put Paul Desmond in there'... so, it became the whole quartet! . . . . [Later,] my friend Patricia Bolgosano took the excellent photos" of the Brubecks with the painting, and Dave and Chris, below.

When Dave saw the painting for the first time, he reminisced, exactly as Chris hoped he would. He recalled driving the Vagabond across country three times, from gig to gig. It's Iola who had tipped Chris off that the car had a black exterior and was red inside. And Dave's daughter Catherine remembered how the Vagabond was the family car when the Brubecks moved to Connecticut in 1960. Eventually, Dave took off the tires and left the Frazer in the yard, where the kids played in it.

Happy Birthday, Dave Brubeck!

See more of Chris Osborne's wonderful artwork here, and Patricia Bolgosano's photography here.

Brubeck signing the painting, with the artist Chris Osborne
Brubeck signing the canvas, with the artist Chris Osborne looking on

Mallory Tallacksen Born August 15


Congratulations to WBGO's David and Adrienne Tallacksen on the birth of this beautiful baby

Newark, NJ: An "Organ Town" for Over 50 Years

Dr. Lonnie Smith plays in the studio tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Dr. Lonnie Smith plays in the studio on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Recently, WBGO has had the good fortune of acquiring an excellent Hammond C-3 organ (pictured below) that now sits in our studio. On Saturday, the acclaimed organist Dr. Lonnie Smith will make an appearance with his organ trio (featuring drummer Jamire Williams and guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg) to give it a whirl -- and as it turns out, this performance will be part of a long history of the jazz organ entertaining Newark audiences. <!--more-->

Today is the 100th anniv of Milt Hinton's birth .. we celebrated his 80th

Clark Terry was an MC. Ray Brown was the lead-off bass player, with youngster John Clayton. Sylvia Sims sang. Joe Williams sang. Doc Cheatham played duets with newcomer Wynton Marsalis. NY Mayor Dinkins sent a proclamation that June 23, 1990, was "Milt Hinton Day." A choir of first-call bassists canceled whatever to come together and celebrate.

Bassists, from left: Lynn Seaton, Lonnie Plaxico, Charnett Moffit, Jack Lesberg, Bob Haggart, Milt Hinton, John Clayton, Eddie Gomez, Dick Hyman, Richard David, Bill Crow, Major Holley, Ron Carter and Rufus Reid perform "The Judge Meets the Section" at MH 80th Birthday Concert at Town Hall on June 23, 1990.  Photo by Tad Hershorn
Bassists, from left: Lynn Seaton, Lonnie Plaxico, Charnett Moffett, Jack Lesberg, Bob Haggart, Milt Hinton, John Clayton, Eddie Gomez, Richard Davis, Bill Crow, Major Holley, Ron Carter and Rufus Reid perform at the MH 80th Birthday Concert at Town Hall on June 23, 1990. Photo by Tad Hershorn

As host Michael Bourne noted on the two-hour broadcast, the young-at-heart elder statesman had played on more than 600 albums. He and wife Mona Hinton were loved. Milt closed the concert with some solo slap bass, then honored a request to sing "Old Man Time." Dick Hyman on piano, Bob Rosengarden on drums. Please listen.

Milton Nascimento and the Jobim Trio: The Birthday Concert

Milton Nascimento’s Cake

Listen to the concert.

WBGO was part of an extraordinary evening last night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  After Saturday's Latin Jazz tour with Paquito D'Rivera at the Victoria Theater, we wrapped up our weekend coverage of NJPAC's Alternate Routes festival tonight at Prudential Hall. The muse of Minas Gerais, Brazil's Milton Nascimento, celebrated his 66th birthday onstage with the Jobim Trio, featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim's son and grandson, guitarist Paulo Jobim and pianist Daniel Jobim.  Rodrigo Villa supported on bass, as did the steady rhythm of drummer Paolo Braga.  They played new arrangements of bossa nova classics (largely from the Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes songbook), a Dorival Caymmi standard, and a few anthems from Nascimento's time in the clube da esquina movement in Brazil's popular music.   All in all, it was a beautiful view into the modern identity of Brazilian song, with a willing audience of Portuguese speakers from Newark's Ironbound neighborhood.  Here's the rundown of the show, and what you'll hear when you listen online:

1. Garota de Ipanema - AC Jobim (not available online)
2. Aguas de Marco - AC Jobim
3. So Tinha De Ser Com Voce - Elis Regina
4. O Vento - Dorival Caymmi
5. Brigas Nunca Mais - AC Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes
6. Inutil Paisagem - AC Jobim/Aloysio de Oliveira
7. Chega de Saudades - AC Jobim/De Moraes
8. Medo de Amar - Vinicius De Moraes
9. Velho Riacho (Pra Nao Sofrer) - AC Jobim
10. Esperanca Perdida - AC Jobim/Billy Blanco
11. Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar - AC Jobim/De Moraes
12. Dias Azuis - Daniel Jobim
13. Para Lennon e McCartney - Lo Borges-F.Brant/Nascimento
14. Cravo e Canela - Nascimento
15. Samba Do Aviao - AC Jobim
16. Maria, Maria [encore] -  Nascimento

Don't Mess With Mr. T

I pity the fool who tries to play like Stanley Turrentine. His sound is so thoroughly drenched in soul. That's why I miss Mr. T, an alias of saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. Today would be Stanley's burthday. I highly encourage you to dig through some of Stanley's Blue Note records, especially the stuff with Horace Parlan's trio or Jimmy Smith. In many ways, Stanley's big sound reminds me of the soulful tenor player from Newark, Ike Quebec.

Check out this live performance of "Don't Mess With Mr. T." Fans of Marvin Gaye will recognize the music from Marvin's soundtrack to the film, Trouble Man. I love Marvin's lyrics, which are partly autobiographical - I come up hard/I come up, gettin' down/There's only three things/That's for sho'/Taxes, death and trouble...


Great Live Moments - Michel Camilo

Michel Camilo

Happy birthday today to pianist Michel Camilo.
WBGO recorded Michel's trio at Iridium on April 24, 1997.
Michel Camilo, Bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Cliff Almond had a killer piano trio sound. Listen to "A Night in Tunisia" from the WBGO Archives.

And do you know what inspired Michel Camilo to play jazz? Hearing Art Tatum play "Tea for Two." When Camilo was 14, he heard that jazz record in his native Dominican Republic. Since you cannot see Art Tatum magic on a record, and you can no longer see him play, you'll have to check out this re-performance of "Tea For Two."

James Moody at 83

I'm in the mood for Moody, simply because it's his birthday. Jazz legend James Moody, one of Newark, New Jersey's finest, turned 83 yesterday. Last year, WBGO celebrated Moody's contribution to music at our annual gala. Daniel Karcher and I created a video vignette for the award presentation. Here it is:

So next time you see Moody, wish him a happy birthday. Give him a hug, and you can wear his cologne for the rest of the day. I like to think that wearing Moody's cologne is like that line from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself - "A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt."

On a more serious note, you can see Moody and lots of his music playing friends on Monday night, March 31st at BB Kings. The concert is a benefit for the James Moody Scholarship Fund at Purchase College. Information about the fund and the fundraiser here.

Nat King Cole Born Today

As the luck of the Irish would have it, Nathaniel Adams Cole , aka Nat King Cole, was born on this date. Most people know him more as the singer of "Nature Boy" than of "Danny Boy."
I think I love Nat Cole's piano playing as much as, if not more than, I love his smoky voice. Years ago, I spent college scholarship money on the 18-CD set on Mosaic Records, The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio. 349 songs from 1942-1961. Now out of print...
I suppose that technically counted as an education expense, right?
Anyway, here's a video of Nat Cole playing "Tea for Two." Listen for the "Foggy Day" quote in his introduction, and to his "Rhapsody in Blue" reference in his solo. - Josh