WBGO Presents: Our Point of View in their only East Coast Appearance
December 12 at Le Poisson Rouge
To commemorate WBGO’s 35th anniversary year, we are teaming up with Blue Note Records at the close of their 75th anniversary year to present the only East Coast appearance of the supergroup, Our Point of View. With a limited number of engagements in Monterey, Paris, London and New York City, the December 12, 2014 performance in support of WBGO will be the only opportunity for fans in the jazz capital to experience this historic group.
Created in honor of Blue Note’s anniversary, Our Point of View celebrates the vitality of the label by looking ahead and bringing together the leading young artists on the Blue Note roster who steadfastly continue to move jazz forward. Featuring keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarist Lionel Loueke, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and bassist Derrick Hodge with drummer Kendrick Scott, the band’s repertoire draws from each of these artists’ own remarkable catalogs as well new spins on Blue Note classics.
The creative young voices of jazz have been the lifeblood of Blue Note Records since its formation in 1939—from Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock, to Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson—all of whom made their debut albums for the legendary label. Since WBGO’s inception in 1979, the station has been at the forefront of many brilliant jazz careers, including the members of this group, each of whom has performed in WBGO’s studio in Newark.
December 12, 2014 ι Le Poisson Rouge
In 2009, WBGO launched an innovative program entitled, The Checkout, which brought each of these musicians into our Newark studios to perform as band leaders and discuss their music. Two years later, veteran record producer and musician Don Was joined Blue Note as Chief Creative Officer and soon became its president, renewing its dedication to the original label vision, articulated by Blue Note founder Alfred Lion that “any particular style of playing which represents an authentic way of musical feeling is genuine expression.”
Checkout the members of Our Point of View on WBGO:
Fred Hersch has been a friend of WBGO for at least twenty years. He was in Jane Ira Bloom's group when we recorded her at Citicorp Center for a series called Jazz at the Market (host was the Rev. John Garcia Gensel of St. Peter's Church). I remember that Fred and Jane had brought a piano tuner, but the Center didn't want their tuner to touch the piano. I was disappointed, and learning on the job. Fred was .. well, if not incensed, he was at least insulted.
Fred was part of a concert at Town Hall with MC Steve Allen (the TV personality, dating all the way back to the first Tonight Show). As Steve Allen was telling stories and getting into it, he turned to Fred and asked for "a little something underneath this;" on demand, Fred played the perfect "patter" music.
But Fred wasn't born for that role. From his earliest time in New York, he belonged in top groups. He was a sideman for leaders a generation or more his senior, such as Joe Henderson - from Ohio, like Fred.
At the Iowa City Jazz Festival in the 1990s, I remember Fred getting onstage and talking about funding cuts coming to the National Endowment for the Arts. He wanted me to do that with him, and I didn't. His political passion took me by surprise.
Fred studied with Sophia Rosoff (as did Barry Harris, a revered teacher in New York, who shows pianists how to produce sound through the keys by relaxing. Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus was one of Fred's many many students.
The 1986 group must have been one of his first. Dick Oatts was on sax, Randy Brecker on trumpet, although they stepped aside for the ballad "Con Alma."
I'm interviewing guitarist Lionel Loueke at noon, so I'm jumping the shark a bit. But Loueke closed the Gala Concert. After New York Voices, about 80 percent of the audience poured out of the Metro Toronto Convention Center's Constitution Hall. Those with a thirst for adventure (or simply no restrictions on bedtime) stayed for Lionel's trio. They are formerly known as Gilfema - Loueke, the Swedish/Italian bassist Massimo Biolcati, and Hungarian drummer Ferenc Nemeth.
They opened with the title song from Lionel's upcoming Blue Note release, Karibu. For the Swahili challenged, that means "Welcome."
Another live performance from the trio. This is called "Seven Teens." Don't bother trying to tap your foot or count the 17 beats per measure. Just enjoy listening to it.
The set ended with a little surprise. Lionel added to the international flavor of the band (not to mention the already-high musicality) with an invitation to harmonica player Gregoire Maret. And for lagniappe, let's throw in a some audience participation.
2007 is ending, and though this year was pretty dry in my humble opinion, it was a GREAT year for music. Here are my favorite albums of 2007. I hope you'll check some of them out. And maybe some of these are your favorites, too!
Terence Blanchard - A Tale of God's Will: A Requiem for Katrina (Blue Note)
Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature (Peacefrog)
Radiohead - In Rainbows (Radiohead)
Robert Glasper - In My Element (Blue Note)
Kendrick Scott Oracle - The Source (World Culture Music)
Charles Mingus Sextet w/ Eric Dolphy - Cornell 1964 (Blue Note)
Common - Finding Forever (Geffen)
Mike Moreno - Between the Lines (World Culture Music)
Many of the people on my list are fantastic, young jazz musicians who are blazing the trails of this music. I can't wait to see what's in store for 2008 from some of my favorite artists!