Two guys who never formally met before sat down for an interview...and could have chatted for hours...that's what happened when saxophonist and composer Don Braden came in for the latest SportsJam session. Even though Don had been at Jazz 88 many times, I've never had a chance to talk to him. It's amazing how jazz, sports and kids can create bonds. Don brought his gorgeous sax and thrilled us with his jazzy rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and an original tune he composed for his daughter. Don's strict fitness and nutrition program inspired this overweight anchor to hit the gym!
Check out our conversation.
As my tenth anniversary at Jazz 88 is fast approaching, I remember my first few days at the radio station. I didn't know enough about the music to comment on anything. I had to rely on my personal Jazz Dictionary, Gary Walker. Thanks to the morning maestro, I've learned so much about jazz now...to a point where I play air drums, piano and sax in the studio in between newscasts. I'm also blessed to be working at a radio station where so many talented artists come to visit. Two recent events made me realize I've actually become a part of the jazz community. Trumpeter Jon Faddis agreed to shoot the breeze with me about sports and jazz on SportsJam and bassist John Lee complimented my work during a recent visit to Cecil's Jazz Club in West Orange. Very cool to have two terrific guys who played with Dizzy Gillespie make me feel special!
One of the nicest things about IAJE is seeing the fresh faces - the young talent who are really excited about playing jazz. It's funny to watch them go ga-ga over the professional musicians in attendance. Then I remember how that used to be me 15 years ago. Now I'm 33, and all those kids say, "Excuse me, SIR." Ugh. Go right ahead, kiddo...
The Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars are high school students. They're selected from an international pool of talent, though this group comes exclusively from North America. They opened the IAJE Gala Concert tonight. They are:
Gregory Chaplin - bass (Hopedale, MA), Jake Sherman - piano (Boston, MA), Conrad Jones - trumpet (Long Island), Javier Nero - trombone (Vancouver, WA), Eli Bennett - sax (Vancouver, BC), Jonathan Ragonese - sax (Pennsylvania)
And from Milwaukee, WI, drummer Carl Allen. He's the ringer.
Seems like the youngsters had some jitters at first (probably because they were playing to a few thousand strangers), but they came together on the standard, "After You've Gone." I could tell they enjoyed the arrangement, a transcription from trumpeter Nicholas Payton's record, Gumbo Nouveau. Hear it now:
Keep an ear out for them. They're the future of our music. - Josh