concerts

Checkout Live: Pedro Giraudo and Ben Williams at 92Y Tribeca


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Topsy Turvey: Bebop Redux a la Matt Wilson via Lost Jazz Shrines

Last Friday night, I attended and loved this concert at the Borough of Manhattan Community College! The music had roots, it left them behind, it was a generous night.

Musical Director Matt Wilson calls the music "pre-bop," small group material from the 1940s by Neal Hefti, John Lewis, John Kirby, Tiny Grimes, Tiny Kahn, NEW arrangements for the occasion by Oded Lev-Ari. Matt assembled an improbable and wonderful band, below. Each player projected, each piece was a gem. Coming out of intermission, Matt gave us a "collision of songs," "a mashup," from an affecting trio arrangement of his "No Outerwear" (a/k/a "Out of Nowhere" and maybe "OON" is written on "Honeysuckle Rose?" .. help me here) to surprise walk on's by the rest of the group, vocalizing; things progressed unpredictably from there. If only I'd taken some legible notes. The smaller theater at BMCC worked beautifully for this; I saw Vijay's hands at work better than ever I've seen them before. Photos of 52nd Street a/k/a Swing Street were the backdrop.

Lost Jazz Shrines is Willard Jenkins' continuing series, and this Spring is the first time Willard has brought in a Musical Director. On Friday, June 3, see conguero Candido -- born in Havana, came to NY in 1946 -- with Matt's quintet Arts & Crafts. I wish we were recording these great nights for JazzSet!

L to R: Vijay Iyer, Curtis Fowlkes, Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap, Tia Fuller, Jeff Lederer, drummer Matt Wilson at the BMCC Tribeca PAC .. photo by Nathan Turner for the Litchfield Jazz Festival
L to R: Vijay Iyer, Curtis Fowlkes, Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap, Tia Fuller, Jeff Lederer, drummer Matt Wilson at the BMCC Tribeca PAC .. photo by Nathan Turner for the Litchfield Jazz Festival

Luckily I was sitting near a good photographer! BTW, Matt Wilson is also the Artist-in-Residence at this summer’s Litchfield Jazz Festival in Kent, CT.

A Tribute to Abbey Lincoln at the Kennedy Center

UPDATE: Read the review from The Washington Post here. Critic Mike Joyce tells you about THE BAND! And there's a good photo. BP

On Friday night at the Mary Lou Williams Festival in Washington, DC, four daughters of Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010) opened her songbook together, for the first time.

[caption id="attachment_5722" align="aligncenter" width="567" caption="Bridgewater, Carrington, Wilson, Reeves backstage after the show .. photo by BP"]Bridgewater, Carrington, Wilson, Reeves backstage after the show .. photo by BP[/caption]

This was a dynamic concert, and generous too. More than five hundred people in the Terrace Theater concentrated on the artists onstage concentrating on words and music that came from Abbey Lincoln's own concentration. We felt the loss of her, and newly appreciated the gift she left us.

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Joshua Redman at the Portland Jazz Festival

Photo by Daniel Shen
Photo by Daniel Shen

This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, Joshua Redman led one of the Portland Jazz Festival's final engagements alongside a phenomenal rhythm section that featured Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Penman on bass and Eric Harland on drums. Their set was everything that jazz audiences have come to expect from Redman's music these days: a virtuosic, energetic and beautiful tour de force that showcased the immense talent of all four musicians.

Although all four musicians have collaborated extensively in different configurations, Redman told the audience that this was one of their first actual gigs together. They played at least one composition by each of the musicians -- although this was certainly Redman's gig, he took pains to share the spotlight with each of his bandmates.<!--more-->

The Kora Band and Devin Phillips at the Portland Jazz Festival

Photo by Steve Korn
Photo by Steve Korn

This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

Last night, I caught a pair of shows featuring some local Portland talent: a double-bill at the Mission Theater with the Kora Band and the Devin Phillips Quintet. Both featured Portland native Andrew Oliver (pictured, right), an old friend from my high school days. He also happens to be one of the many supremely talented jazz musicians who call Portland home today. <!--more-->

The 3 Cohens at the Portland Jazz Festival

Photo by Glenio Campregher
Photo by Glenio Campregher

This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

This afternoon, the three Israeli siblings Anat (left), Avishai (center) and Yuval Cohen played for an enthusiastic crowd at Portland's Crystal Ballroom. Along with bassist Matt Penman, drummer Eric Harland and pianist Aaron Goldber, they played an energetic set of hard-swinging jazz that offered an opportunity for each of the three siblings' musical personalities to shine. <!--more-->

Esperanza Spalding at the Portland Jazz Festival

Esperanza Spalding started her live show in a similar pose
photo by Sandrine Lee

This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

Last night, bassist-singer-composer-jazz phenomenon Esperanza Spalding made her wildly-anticipated appearance at this week's Portland Jazz Festival. As the main Friday night attraction, Ms. Spalding sold out Portland's 880-set Newmark theater within days of winning the Best New Artist Grammy award earlier this month. She played music from her latest record, Chamber Music Society, and captivated her hometown crowd throughout the 90-minute performance. <!--more-->

The Checkout Interviews Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter will be performing this Wednesday at Town Hall -- for more, check out my preview that ran Friday in the Newark Star-Ledger. He'll also be featured on this week's edition of The Checkout. Producer Josh Jackson caught up with him last week from his home in West Hollywood, and suffered a few technical difficulties along the way. Here's his take on what went down:<!--more-->

Jason Moran Presents "713 --> 212: Houstonians in NYC"

2010 was a good year for Jason Moran. He celebrated ten years of music-making with his trio, The Bandwagon, alongside Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits. Their latest release for Blue Note, Ten, received rave reviews and found a place on nearly every jazz critic's "Best of 2010" list. To top it off, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Moran a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, which comes with a cool $500,000 in award money.

Moran is off to an ambitious start in 2011 as well. This weekend, he has organized a pair of concerts at 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson Street, Manhattan) to feature his fellow Houstonians who are tearing up New York's jazz scene today.

Tomorrow (Friday), the event features songwriters Bryan Michael Cox, Leron Thomas, Alan Hampton and Josh Mease, backed by Moran and other members of the Houston cadre such as Kendrick Scott, Robert Glasper and Eric Harland. The concert begins at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday's concert features jazz more prominently, including sets by Billy Harper with Michael Carvin, Jason Moran & Marcos Varela, Kendrick Scott's Oracle with Mike Moreno, Jamire Williams & Erimaj, Robert Glasper & Jason Moran with guests, and an interview with Dr. Bob Morgan, the band director at Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts who has mentored most of these musicians. The concert begins at 9:00 p.m.

If you check it out, stop by and say hello to WBGO's Josh Jackson, who will be recording the concert and will feature highlights on his weekly show, The Checkout, sometime next month.