Certain episodes of Treme seem to wear their ideological hearts on their sleeves, and this was one. You open with Desiree's mother's house getting torn down in a city mix-up; you have Davis throwing around phrases like "preservation through neglect"; you see housing projects torn down amid protest with the implication of a corrupt deal; you get protagonists like the Bernette family being harassed by police; you witness clueless developers trying to build a national jazz center while waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:43 pm
"James Moody is the most beloved jazz musician in the world," reedman Paquito D'Rivera says.
These may be strong words, but D'Rivera is far from alone in his appreciation of the tenor saxophonist, who died in 2010. On the bandstand, Moody was universally admired for his musicality, his generosity — he gave away mouthpieces, saxophones and, once, even the coat off his back — and his ability to illuminate any room with his personal warmth.
This week, Piano Jazz digs deep into the archives with a session featuring James Herbert "Eubie" Blake. He was the last of the known living original ragtime pianists when he appeared on the program in 1980 with host Marian McPartland.
Saxophonist John Ellis (center) performs with Matt Perrine (left) on sousaphone at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.
Credit Erik Jacobs for NPR
Sharply dressed for the occasion, composer Darcy James Argue led his 18-piece big band, Secret Society, at the main Fort Stage on Saturday.
Credit Erik Jacobs for NPR
Song titles like "Three-Legged Tango In Jackson Square" and "Zydeco Clowns On The Lam" clue us into the Southern Gothic imagination of saxophonist John Ellis and his band, Double-Wide. New Orleans resident Matt Perrine played sousaphone bass during the festival's first main-stage show.
As we re-release these two sets from Newport, saxophonist John Ellis (leader of one, player in the other) is leading workshops in Portugal and Italy. Darcy James Argue has released a studio recording of Brooklyn Babylon, and his Secret Society tied with the Maria Schneider Orchestra for the Big Band of 2013 in the just-out DownBeat Critics Poll.
A lot can happen in six years. For Milwaukee-bred trumpeter Philip Dizack, it marked the passage of an era worth documenting in his own artistic chronology.
"End of an Era represents a moment when what you had is gone," he says about his new album during this session from WBGO's The Checkout. "For me, it's specific things like family relationships that ended. Both of my grandparents passed away. All those things were very personal, but I saw that everyone goes through something. And it's all the same."
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 2:41 pm
If you're one of the few viewers still confused about what Treme is saying about art, do note this episode's "play-within-a-play" staging of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The existentialist play revolves around two characters, Vladimir (nicknamed Didi) and Estragon (called Gogo), who wait interminably for a mysterious "Godot" by a desolate country road. It's clearly meant to parallel New Orleans residents' wait for essential social services, complete with the barren backdrop of the city post-Katrina.
The Either/Orchestra at the New School in New York City from left to right: Charlie Kohlhase, Hailey Niswanger, Russ Gershon, saxophones; Joel Yennior, trombone; Tom Halter and Dan Rosenthal, trumpets; Gilson Schachnik, piano; Rick McLaughlin, bass; Pablo Bencid, drums; Vicente Lebron, percussion.
Credit David Tallacksen / WBGO
One of the newest Either/Orchestra members is Hailey Niswanger on alto sax and flute.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:46 pm
A creative composer and his 10-piece band embed melodies from a golden musical age in the Horn of Africa into Western harmony, and an Afro-Caribbean breeze blows through it, as Russ Gershon and the Either/Orchestra present The Collected Unconscious in Tishman Auditorium at the New School in New York City, in Surround Sound on JazzSet.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:18 pm
We've reached episode three of Treme's third season and things are starting to get interesting. Through the Everett, Lt. Colson, Toni Bernette and Nelson storylines, we begin to see how deep police and government corruption runs in New Orleans. Davis is funding his next scheme; Janette is funding her next restaurant; Annie is funding her next musical adventure. The possible endgame for Chief Lambreaux (and by extension, his son) draws near. And a lot of dudes get laid.
Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 4:58 pm
Born in Tel Aviv, Anat Cohen came to New York two decades ago to study the masters of jazz. In so doing, the clarinetist and saxophonist started a bit of a stampede: Today, Israel is exporting some of the most vital jazz out there.