wbgo blog

Gary gets “official” birthday gift

Gary receives his official gift
Morning Jazz host Gary Walker recently celebrated his 60th birthday, and the jazz community wasn’t the only one to recognize this important milestone. At Gary’s surprise birthday celebration, he received the following proclamation:

The Newark Municipal Council Hereby issues this resolution commending Gary Walker on the auspicious occasion of celebrating his 60th birthday on October 17, 2009 @ The Glenridge Community Center. The governing body joins with all residents of the city of Newark to extend heartfelt congratulations during this wholesome event

Congrats Gary!

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."
-Josh

Live Music Notes - Lee Konitz at Jazz Standard

I've been going to see more and more music these days, much to the detriment of my need for sleep. Tuesday evening, I decided to check out the Lee Konitz Trio with very special guest, Danilo Perez. The early set, anyway. I know my limitations.

Lee Konitz
, at 80, is still making some amazing music. And as much as I get tired of hearing jazz repertory, I never tire of hearing Konitz play standards. Four songs in one set, three of which I recognized. All of which I enjoyed. Konitz has this way of never really playing the melody outright. Instead, he basically smashed the loaf into bread crumbs, and sprinkles them over the course of a 15 minute group improvisation. It takes a while to find it. And by the time you DO find it, you realize that the treasure is not at the end of the trail. It was the crumbs!
Kinda like that whole idea of jazz being more of a how than a what.

Tuesday night, the group (Konitz on alto sax, Danilo on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums) played a strange, intermittent funk under "Stella by Starlight," then a less than foolish nod to people time - "I'll remember April." During the last song, I kept wondering if I was hearing a version of Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing..." I wasn't. I was hearing the band play Bob Haggart's "What's New?"
If you want to find the answer to that question - what's new? - follow the bread crumbs to Jazz Standard.  This band beats creative loafing any day.
-Josh

Great Live Moments - Roy Hargrove

In 1996, trumpeter Roy Hargrove could hardly be called The Waco Kid. By this time, the Texas native was a fully-fledged gunslinger in the jazz tradition. Most musicians will tell you that playing a ballad is one of the hardest things to do...especially when you're playing to an audience. But when Roy Hargrove draws from the emotional wellspring, he's tapping a fairly deep reserve.
Check out his take on the classic "Never Let Me Go," one of my all-time favorite ballads. Twas the week before Christmas, 1996, and Roy's quartet was stirring the house at the old Iridium location, near Lincoln Center. The quartet features pianist Allen Farnham, the late Dennis Irwin on bass, and drummer Karriem Riggins. And for those of you who like to sing the words, follow along:

Never let me go
Love me much too much
If you let me go
Life will lose its touch
What would I be without you?
There's no place for me without you

Never let me go
I'd be so lost if you went away
There'd be a thousand hours in a day without you
I know

Because of one caress my world was overturned
at the very start
All my bridges burned by my flaming heart
You'd never leave me would you?
You couldn't hurt me could you?

Never let me go
Never let me go

Great Live Moments - James Moody

James Moody

Welcome to Great Live Moments, a showcase for WBGO's live recordings.
First up - James Moody, who recently celebrated his 83rd birthday.
On November 20th, 1982, Moody and his quartet played Sweet Basil.
The quartet featured pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Rufus Reid, and
drummer Michael Carvin. WBGO was there to broadcast the performance.
Moody played flute on a bossa nova classic, Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave."
Hear it now.
-Josh