This was big fun, joining my colleague Talia Guzman-Gonzalez from the Library’s Hispanic Division to talk with saxophonist, composer, educator Miguel Zenon about his thoughts on music and his own critically acclaimed work. We did this on April 11, 2017. Check his reaction when I show him a manuscript in the hand of Charlie Parker.
Multi-instrumentalist and educator Steve Wilson is busier than ever these days. He’s got his own group and has appeared on more than 150 recordings from duets to big bands. In addition to being a much-in-demand clinician, Wilson teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, the City College of New York and the Juilliard School. His most recent release as a leader was Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions (Random Act), and his next vinyl-only release Sit Back, Relax, & Unwind (J.M.I.) is due out later this year. We carved out some focused listening time at the Watergate Hotel prior to Maria Schneider’s Orchestra sound check at the Kennedy Center.
“Bounce Parts I & II” from Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere (Waterbaby Music). Smith, drums; Kris Bowers, keyboard; Fima Ephron, electric bass; Jeremy Most, guitar; Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone; Chris Potter, tenor saxophone. Recorded in 2014.
Saxophonist Bobby Watson may be best known for his four years with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, but his distinguished career also includes work with Max Roach, Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Carlos Santana, Horizon and the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet. He is currently Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.
A memorable Lee Konitz moment occurred just before we met. Stepping off the elevator on his hotel floor, I heard the faint sound of an alto saxophone gradually growing louder as I walked toward his room. I stood outside his door listening to him practice, transfixed by his sound and melodic variations. Eventually, he took a break, which broke the spell and I knocked. For this B&A, the 82 year-old Konitz was characteristically outspoken and unguarded. Continue reading →
Ray Barretto suggested we do the interview for this piece following his Kennedy Center gig back in 2004. We sat in his hotel room at the Watergate and stayed up until the early morning hours listening to music and sharing stories. When we finished and he was walking me to the door, I asked if there was anything he would have wanted me to play for him. He said yes, Duke Ellington. Ray Barretto passed away 16 months later at the age of 76.
1. James Moody
“Tin Tin Deo,” from Chano Pozo: El Tambor de Cuba (Tumbao). James Moody, tenor sax; Ernie Henry, alto sax; Dave Burns, Elamn Wight, trumpet; Cecil Payne, baritone sax; James Forman, piano; Nelson Boyd, bass; Art Blakey, drums; Chano Pozo, conga, vocal. Recorded in 1948. Continue reading →
1. James Moody with Chano Pozo
“Tin Tin Deo,” from Chano Pozo: El Tambor de Cuba (Tumbao). Moody, Ernie Henry, Cecil Payne, saxophones; Dave Burns, Elmon Wright, trumpets, James Forman, piano, Nelson Boyd, bass; Art Blakey, drums; Chano Pozo, conga, vocals, composer. Recorded in 1948.
Before: I know who this is. I love it. [sings along] I get chills listening to this. Chano Pozo with James Moody. This is where I come from, you know? This is when they were first mixing jazz and latin. I’m sure it’s a fine trap drummer behind him but it sounds like they‘re building a house back there [laughs]. Yeah, the house is going up. That’s a great band. Continue reading →