Toast of the Nation 2007/2008
We had a great time at the Jazz Standard on New Year's Eve - Trio da Paz and Kenny Barron put in a killer set! I definitely recommend you check it out, whether you're listening again or for the first time. NPR should soon be posting the audio for the entire Toast of the Nation broadcast on their new music website, npr.org/music. And in the meantime, here are just a few pictures from the evening.
Front and center is Aurasonic's 'BreadMobile' - the audio truck.
Here is the Trio rehearsing with Kenny:
Drummer Duduka da Fonseca:
We had a productive soundcheck and rehearsal with Trio da Paz, Kenny Barron, and singers Pamela Driggs and Maucha Adnet.
We spent more than an hour making sure that what the nation hears in New York will most assuredly sound like Rio de Janeiro. Michael Bourne was in fine form, and he has a story from Antonio Carlos Jobim to lead us into the countdown. We've practiced everything. Next time, it's for real.
After rehearsal, we ran upstairs to Blue Smoke for eats. Here's what it took to feed the New York crew.
Macaroni and Cheese x 2, Braised Collard Greens With Bacon, Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Dip, Mashed Potatoes and Onions, Creamed Spinach
Seared Atlantic Salmon with Tomatillo Sauce, Scallion-Pepper Rice & Pico de Gallo
Rhapsody In 'Cue (x 3) = St. Louis Spareribs, Pulled Pork, Smoked Chicken and Hot Link
Kansas City Spareribs (saucy) - one full rack
Memphis-Style Baby Back Ribs (leanest) - two full racks
Eight large, moist towlettes and many toothpicks. Hey, it's barbeque!
We're currently recording the first set from Jazz Standard.
If the dinner from Blue Smoke didn't get you salivating like Pavlov's dog, here's another menu highlight from Toast of the Nation, courtesy The Dakota in Minneapolis.
While you're hearing a stew of Cuban/Gospel/Earth Wind and Fire, you would no doubt enjoy the following special menu for tonight from Executive Chef Jack Riebel. For the record, the chef will be happy to discuss vegetarian/dietary options for you. And for those of you who could not stomach The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Dakota proudly supports locally owned, independently & sustainably operated farms. Their meat is all natural with no added hormones or antibiotics.
Carpaccio of Lamb - lamb’s lettuce, truffle pecorino, black radish
House Smoked Salmon brioche, quail egg, hollandaise (domestic caviar supplement)
Belgian Endive & Green Apple Salad with niman ranch bacon, gruyere cheese
Oyster Stew “Edna Lewis” - salsify, chive, common crackers
Seared Foie Gras - cipolinni onion, polenta, huckleberry
Peking Duck Breast - wild rice, scallion, fennel, truffle honey
“Surf & Turf” - ribeye of american kobe, tempura prawn, jalapeño ponzu
Crab Crusted Walleye - jumbo lump crab, honji menji mushroom, coconut broth
Lofton Ridge Venison Loin - parsnip hash, candied chestnut, pancetta
Cabbage Rolls - black bean, goat cheese, red pepper sauce
Hawiian Blue Marlin - kahlua pork, maui onion, mu-shu cake
Trifle - tropical fruit, candied macadamia nuts, strawberry sorbet
Baked Alaska - hot chocolate, rumpleminz
Egg Nog Trio - bread pudding, traditional, brûlé
Chocolate Souffle - valrhona chocolate, vanilla anglaise
Figgy Pudding -brandy caramel, rum raisin ice cream
Don't forget to save room for champage...
There's some serious talent on the stage tonight.
Trio da Paz are Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka da Fonseca on percussion. They are some of the best Brazilian jazz musicians on the scene. When you want samba, bossa nova, and other native Brazilian styles fused with jazz improvisation, these are your go-to guys. Singers Pamela Driggs and Maucha Adnet will each join the trio for a song before midnight.
Kenny Barron is a certifiable jazz master, for sure (it's time for the NEA to recognize this). He's played with Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Hall, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz and a slew of other great musicians. His work in Gillespie's 1960s Quintet with James Moody is outstanding. The final records with Getz are worth having, especially People Time, the sax and piano duets. The duet recording with bassist Charlie Haden, Night and the City, is a not-so-distant classic. Kenny Barron was also a part of Sphere, the Thelonious Monk tribute group that became its own thing.
Did I mention that he taught music at Rutgers University in Newark for 27 years? I'll leave the rest out for you to discover. There's plenty more.
Kenny Barron and his wife used to go to the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday mornings. At noon, they'd visit a nearby café for Brazilian food and a great trio. Kenny was digging Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka da Fonseca on drums. aka Trio da Paz. In 2002, these four recorded a CD together. It's called Canta Brasil.
Kenny Barron and Trio da Paz have a lot of chemistry. Stay tuned.
Since you may miss the litany of names at the end of the New York segment, meet the folks who bring you 2008. Remember that while you're binging on champagne, we usually drink ours at 12:15, when the show is over.
Becca Pulliam is our uber-producer. She coordinates each of the locations for Toast of The Nation (DC, Boston, NY, Minneapolis, Denver, and SF) into a mosaic of live music from coast to coast. Becca makes this whole party possible. Oh, and "listeners like you."
Michael Bourne is our host. You may remember him from such hit shows as - Afternoon Jazz on WBGO for the last 20+ years. Or 20+ years on Toast of the Nation. That's committment. Everything I can say about Michael, I've already said to him personally - usually while I'm helping him connect home audio devices, changing light bulbs in his apartment, or eating Cantonese specialties with him (too infrequently) at Phoenix Garden.
Steve Remote at Aurasonic is our guy for audio. He brings his 24 foot GMC truck, affectionately know as "The Breadmobile," to the gig. As you can imagine, jazz clubs in New York are short on space. That means you have to build a recording studio outside, and connect it to what's happening onstage. No small feat. Steve Remote and his band of merrymen do it with aplomb. Robert Carvell manages stage tech, and Jon D'Uva will assist the recording engineer in the truck. Jon is a vegetarian. I have no idea what he's planning to eat for dinner at the barbeque palace upstairs, Blue Smoke.
Jim Anderson is the Recording Engineer tonight. He possesses both sartorial splendor and golden ears. He will make tonight sound so good for listeners. In Jim's spare time, he's active in the New York chapter of the Audio Engineering Society. He's also the Chair of the Clive Davis School for Recorded Music at New York University. He gets some of the best drum sounds I've heard on jazz records. He also reads great books.
David Tallacksen is the Technical Director and Codec Jockey. He's the youngest member of the crew. He is responsible for the audio transmission via codec to NPR, among other things. We don't trust that job to just anyone. David also shows a tremendous amount of patience with Verizon, who installs our ISDN circuits to transmit that audio. David has tested these lines over and over and over. Two of the three circuits work, as of 12:30pm on the broadcast day. Verizon has assured us they will fix the problem with our backup transmission lines today. Fingers crossed.
Katie Simon is our Stage Manager. She makes sure the trains run on time, because I'm barking in her ear the entire show. Katie can blame her first job in public radio on WBGO. Now she's hooked. She's a producer for Storycorps, producer David Isay's oral history project for public radio. You may have heard the stories on Morning Edition every Friday. Guaranteed to make you a little teary-eyed., if you're just a wee sensitive. Michael Bourne nicknamed Katie "Supergirl" because she's just...super.
Martin Goodman is operating the house sound for Jazz Standard. He will be making sure that the artists have their sound on the stage and in the club. Martin also interfaces with our broadcast in a big way, because we share all the same microphones used on the stage.
I'm your humble field producer and director for the show. You can blame me if something goes wrong.
The Jazz Standard's address is 116 East 27th Street in Manhattan, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. The club seems to exist in some type of gray area, as far as Manhattan neighborhoods. The location is conceivably an eastern part of the Flatiron section of town, but more like a northern extension of the Gramercy area, since it's a full six blocks from the exclusive enclave of Gramercy Park.
Whatever. I'm glad we're spending New Year's at Jazz Standard.
Don't get me wrong. I've spent some quality time at clubs during the last six Toast of the Nation celebrations. Each one of them has contributed some special moments. And there are always some delightful stories when you work in the trenches to bring people across the country some live music. Here are the last six I've worked as field producer, in order:
The Village Vanguard - Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band 2001/02
Blue Note New York - Chick Corea New Trio with Gary Burton 2002/03
Blue Note New York - Herbie Hancock Quartet 2003/04
Yoshi's in Oakland for Joshua Redman's Elastic Band 2004/05
Tipitina's in New Orleans for Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, The Hot 8 Brass Band, and Galactic 2005/06
The now-defunct Tonic on the Lower East Side - Steven Bernstein's Millenial Territory Orchestra 2006/07
So this year, we're at Jazz Standard. Thanks to Seth Abramson, it's one of the most creatively booked jazz clubs in the city. And thanks to Danny Meyer, it has some rockin' barbeque (not bad, considering we're above the Mason-Dixon line).
Not so incidentally, WBGO broadcast Ben Allison's Medicine Wheel, with the kora player, Mamadou Diabate, live during the club's opening week celebration. It's been a long time since that show, but we're finally back at the club for another live shot. "Ain't that good news?"