Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Sounds of Jazz: Hiromi

One of the most exciting pianists on the jazz scene today is Hiromi Uehara. Her unique approach to the keyboard - an approach that reflects a complete command of the instrument as well as a sensitive, tasteful, and broad emotional range - has caused quite a stir in the jazz community. Mentored by the great Ahmad Jamal, Hiromi has mesmerized many of the greats, including Chick Corea, with whom she is featured here.
Jamal says, "She is nothing short of amazing. Her music, together with her overwhelming charm and spirt, causes her to soar to unimaginable musical heights."
There is a lot of mystery, adventure, and excitement in Hiromi's music. To experience her explorations in person, come down to the Blue Note June 30-July 5.
Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blast From The Past: Oscar Peterson Trio + Guests

A little musical candy for your viewing pleasure. This video features the first of Oscar Peterson's legendary trios. Influenced by the instrumentation of the Nat Cole Trio (piano, bass, guitar), Oscar's first trio featured Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar. The rhythm section in this video is augmented by drummer Jo Jones (whose unique and tasteful style is showcased in this video with a great solo).
The tune is "C-Jam Blues," a standard blues tune composed by Duke Ellington that sometimes goes by the title, "Duke's Place." (Check out the album "Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong" for the a swinging version with the sometimes used lyric). The video showcases some of the great musical stylists of the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's including Flip Phillips and Illinois Jacquet on tenor saxophone and Roy Eldridge on trumpet. The rhythm section is certainly inspiring to the soloists in this video (check out Eldridge's solo especially), and watching it, it is very apparent why the Oscar Peterson Trio was one of the most popular and sought out rhythm sections of it's day.
The video begins with an introduction by the great jazz impresario, Norman Granz, and features one of the most popular versions of his "Jazz at the Philharmonic" lineups. Loved by the musicians he employed, Granz was especially respected for standing up for them in times of racial inequality.
After this version of the Peterson trio disbanded, Oscar formed his second legendary trio with Ray Brown on bass, and Ed Thigpen on drums. It wasn't until 1990 that the original trio reunited. The place: the Blue Note.

Friday, May 1, 2009


This afternoon at the Blue Note, Nat Hentoff was interviewing John Pizzarelli as a part of the Blue Note Interview Series with Nat Hentoff. Hentoff was talking about an association with Robert Herridge (producer/host of CBS' "The Sound of Jazz") that lead to his involvement in the following video, recorded for "The Sound of Jazz." Hentoff described how Lester was feeling ill but summoned the energy to stand in the shot. Billie Holiday had tears in her eyes during Lester's solo, as you can see here, and according to Mr. Hentoff, so did he, Heriddge, the camerman, and almost everyone else who was there. It's now considered one of the most famous "live jazz" performances in TV history. Other members of the band were Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Roy Eldridge, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and Mal Waldron. Enjoy.


From May 5 - 10, James Carter will record live for Half Note Records. The following is the listing that ran with a quarter page picture:

(Tuesday through Thursday) Mr. Carter is a saxophonist of rampaging energies, and he does his best work when backed by toughened stalwarts. That should be the case in this run, which will be recorded for a live album: his blue-chip quintet, partly inspired by soul jazz, features John Medeski on organ and keyboards, Adam Rogers on guitar, Christian McBride on bass and Joey Baron on drums. (Through May 10). At 8 and 10:30 p.m., Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, West Village, (212) 475-8592,; cover, $27.50 at tables, $15 at the bar, with a $5 minimum. (Chinen)