The most famous site for “Live” Jazz turns 75 on February, 23rd. Max Gordon opened the The Village Vanguard in 1935 and has continued to headline some of the finest in Jazz. The week of Feb. 23rd.-28th. they will celebrate their 75th. anniversary with Joe Lovano’s “Us Five” band. Tickets
This is the Vanguard’s house band, originally they were known as the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis big band of 1966 ,they have performed at the Village Vanguard jazz club ever since. They play the music of Thad Jones, Slide Hampton, and Bob Brookmeyer. Recently they won a Grammy for their Monday Night Live album on the Planet Arts Label. I have 3 of their albums:
They are a great modern jazz big band and I highly recommend their music.
This goes out to a good friend of mine Jack Engle who once met a jazz legend. New York City, 1959, in the spring of the year. It was my first visit. Fresh out of collage and I was excited. Country boy in the big city. I was staying at the Larchmont hotel on West 11th. street. A tiny little room right out of a B&W James Cagney movie. After arriving by taxi and getting cleaned up, I decided to take a stroll, My first night on the town, I walked up 11th and was encountered by all walks of life. Block by block colors and sounds… I thought “The City That Never Sleeps”. At 7th Avenue I took a left and saw a large awning right out to the street. It drew me in. Village Vanguard it said, I had heard of it but it didn’t really register with me what lay ahead. I entered and stepped up to the bar. To my left was a black gentleman in oxford cloth shirt and slacks. He was not happy. I glanced at him as he sipped a drink and he was talking to someone on the house phone. The place was typical, All bar noises, laughing, glasses going tink tink , the place was full of life. I looked at this guy next to me again cause he had just gotton off the phone. I said hullo, He glanced my way, still seeming very upset or angry and didn’t say a word to me. He stood there for a minute more and left the bar. I asked the bartender for another and turned around to look the place over. Toward the back in a corner I see a bandstand…this guy is stepping up on the stand and picks up a trumpet, says something to a couple of other guys on stage and they all take their places. I slowly started to realize that I was seeing something special. I had heard of Miles Davis but wasn’t really into jazz. Miles was standing up front with his head down and his horn in his right hand and at his side, long enough for me to wonder what’s he doing? The piano player whom I was later to learn was Wynton Kelly started to slowly play a tune followed by the bass player Paul Chambers and the drummer Philly Joe Jones. Miles lifted the horn to his lips and this is what I heard. So What, I had never heard of anything like this before. John Coltrane and his sax came in for a solo after Miles. This sound was New York. It was what I was feeling. It was COOL. That night I stood in rapt attention, listening and absorbing the intricate sounds. I walked out after the set and the band had left the stage. I turned to the bartender and asked about the band. He said buddy? This here club has seen many cats that can play, but we have never heard anything like this. I walked back to my hotel room. I enjoyed my week in Newyork, but that night I became a jazz fan and I stood beside the great Miles Davis.
Two very interesting Jazz programs on You tube. The Future of Jazz is an episode of Billy Taylor’s 1958 TV show: The Subject is Jazz. Check out Billy Taylor’s site: Billy Taylor Jazz. His site is full of Jazz videos featuring him along with other great artist.
Brad’s trio recorded a 2 album set called “Trio” last year @ the Village Vanguard. It’s been nominated for a Grammy award for “Best Jazz instrumental album”. Brad Mehldau web site is packed full of writings, news, and discography.
I love his advanced improvisation’s on any given theme. His trio: Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), and Jeff Ballard (drums), is the “Mozart” of Modern Jazz trio format, close your eyes while your listening to his music and “Picasso impressionism’s” will dance behind your eyes. His group is on a world tour this year and I am looking forward to his next album that I would guess would come from one of these venues. Enjoy his music!!
Check out his discography
This is a “must have” if you are a jazz fan. If you are an occasional listener or serious collector this boxed set is a pure joy to listen to. On a Sunday afternoon that started a 2 week gig for the trio, Orin Keepnews produced from a single Ampex tape recording machine setting on the stage, in the coziness of the Vanguard, come some very intimate music, at times you can hear glasses tinkling and parts of conversations which add a great since of reality. When you listen to this music you feel like you are there. This trio for a very short time was one of the best, their collaboration and interplay are some playing you won’t hear often. Recorded in performance at the Village Vanguard, New York City; June 25th. 1961