Still Dreaming with Joshua Redman and Friends

Jazz Night in America catches up with a leading saxophonist, whose new project pays tribute to Old and New Dreams.

Rob Davidson

Erroll Garner, the irrepressibly ebullient pianist, left an influence that runs deep but often diffuse: it isn't often that you hear someone who sounds just like him, but there's an awful lot of him in the language. Consider an exchange at our recent Yamaha Salon Concert between Kenny Werner and Andy Milne — a pair of super-literate, restlessly imaginative pianists, a generation apart. Their performance conjured Garner in spirit, without resorting to imitative devices, and set a high bar for responsive duologue.

When Steve Slagle named his new album Alto Manhattan, he had two connotations in mind. The first, of course, refers to his instrument, alto saxophone. But he was also thinking of the neighborhood where he lives, known to its Latino residents as "Alto Manhattan," or "The Heights." 

The album features a special guest, saxophonist Joe Lovano, as well as the percussionist Román Díaz, the drummer Bill Stewart, the bassist Gerald Cannon and the pianist Lawrence Fields. Slagle came into our studio to talk about the album, and play some music with Fields. The full band (sans Lovano) performs tonight at the Jazz Standard.

Metin Oner

The Microscopic Septet, a mid-size jazz combo with orchestral ambitions, has lived through many eras of jazz, beginning in New York City in the early 1980s. Back then, the band became a centerpiece in the city's downtown scene with John Zorn (an original member), Wayne Horwitz, and The Jazz Passengers. 

Its co-leader, Phillip Johnston, said he wanted to create music "too smooth for the avant-garde yet too knotty for the masses." In this Checkout studio session, they play the blues — as on their latest album, Been Up So Long, It Looks Like Down To Me.

T.J. Huff

First up in Take Five this week is a track from a notable left-of-center debut. You’ll also hear a John Coltrane classic played by two of his spiritual heirs, and a Mal Waldron standard finessed by a sturdy working band. Rounding out the lineup: a Cuban pianist in a meditative mood, and a self-described Timorese-Taiwanese-American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist transforming folk tales from around the world.

Last Thursday, on what would have been Erroll Garner's 94th birthday, WBGO held a Yamaha Salon Concert in midtown Manhattan, with a handful of superb pianists paying their respects. Among them was Christian Sands, who offered a solo medley with crystalline touch and bounding stride rhythm.

Then, following a brief exchange with Michael Bourne, he played a buoyant "Night and Day" with the evening's house rhythm team, bassist Ben Allison and drummer Allan Mednard.

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Benny Golson & Jimmy Heath: Meeting of the Maestros at 92Y

WBGO News

Summer movies are about heroes. And in this hyper-sharpened environment of the performance arts, apparently it takes one to know one. This is the season of Hollywood hero movies, which… I mostly skip. What’s Tom Cruise in the Mummy got to say to me? Worse, last week he said he was going to do a Top Gun sequel. He’s 54 now. He was 23 the first time out. What will they call this one, Shogun… or No Gun? Then there’s Transformers: The Last Knight, which I recall vigorously defending first as a toy in 1985 to fellow parents of toddlers and later as a film, 87 installments ago.

Newark Public Library

Life-long Newark resident Richard Cammarieri was a teenager in the city's central ward in 1967.  

"There was a sense that things were quite inferment throughout the 60's if you were paying any attention at all,"  Cammarieri said.  "My father worked in a town not too far from Newark.  I recall drving with him one day to work.  It was probably the second day.  Because we were white, we were able to pass through the road blocks and cross checks without any problem.  Other cars being stopped had black drivers.  Both men and women, old and young, it didn't seem to matter."

atlantictheater.org

Not every New York theatre is a grand palace. WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne is staying busy after the Tony Awards.  You can hear his stories of watching productions in places like churches and warehouses by clicking the link above.  

CHUCK STEWART / COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Saxophone legend Sonny Rollins is attaching his legacy to Harlem in a big way.  He’s donated a life’s worth of writings, recordings and other materials to The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.  Rollins recently sat down with Jazz Night In America’s Christian McBride and NPR’s Audie Cornish to talk about it.

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