Iridium

Great Live Moments - Abbey Lincoln

Abbey Lincoln

Abbey Lincoln is proof that a rose by any other name smells as sweet. The reigning diva of jazz has had more than a few names over the years. She was born Anna Marie Wooldridge. Her earliest professional names include Gaby Wooldridge and Gaby Lee. For eight years, she was legally Mrs. Max Roach. The cultural minister of Zaire bestowed the name Aminata Moseka.
Abbey Lincoln has certainly earned the right of the great singers in our music, those who need only one name. Billie. Sarah. Ella. Carmen. Betty. Abbey.
For decades, Ms. Lincoln has also been the poet laureate of jazz. Her songs have expressed the essential components of a life unfolding, the sum of our strengths and vulnerabilities. That which makes us human. What's right and what's wrong with us. What we have done. What we can do better.
WBGO recorded Abbey Lincoln at Iridium in New York, October 1996. Marc Cary is the pianist, Michael Bowie the bassist, Aaron Walker the drummer.

Listen to Abbey Lincoln sing "Bird Alone," from the WBGO Archives.
-Josh

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

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