music clip of the day


Tag: Lester Young

Thursday, August 27th

tonight in Chicago

These folks will be at Constellation.

Tomeka Reid (cello) with Mary Halvorson (guitar), Jason Roebke (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), “Glass Light,” live, Chicago, 2014


And these guys will be Elastic.

Dave Rempis (saxophone), Joshua Abrams (bass), Avreeayl Ra (drums), live, Chicago, 2013




Celebrating the birthdays of saxophonists Lester Young (August 27, 1909) and Charlie Parker (August 29, 1920), WKCR-FM (Columbia University) is featuring their music all day today (Young), all day tomorrow (Young and Parker), all day Saturday (Parker), and into Sunday morning (Parker).

Monday, April 7th

Happy (99th) Birthday, Billie!

Billie Holiday, singer, April 7, 1915-July 17, 1959

“All of Me” (G. Marks, S. Simons),* New York, March 21, 1941

Yesterday, I listened to this. Then I listened again. And again.




WKCR-FM (Columbia University): all Billie, all day.


reading table

The Day Lady Died
By Frank O’Hara (1926-1966)

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing


*With Lester Young (tenor saxophone), Kenny Clarke (drums), et al.

Tuesday, February 25th

old stuff

Kansas City Six (Buck Clayton, trumpet; Lester Young, clarinet; Eddie Durham, electric guitar; Freddie Green, rhythm guitar; Walter Page, bass; Jo Jones, drums), “Pagin’ the Devil,” 1938



reading table

in blossoming trees
suddenly he’s hidden . . .
my son

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827; translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)

Saturday, 11/24/12

Happy 100th Birthday, Teddy!

Teddy Wilson, pianist, November 24, 1912-July 31, 1986

“Rosetta,” 1934


“Body and Soul,” with the Benny Goodman Trio (BG, clarinet; TW, piano; Gene Krupa, drums), 1935


“Foolin’ Myself,” Teddy Wilson Orchestra (TW, piano; Billie Holiday, vocals; Lester Young, tenor saxophone; Freddie Green, guitar; Jo Jones, drums, et al.), 1937




WKCR-FM’s celebration of his centennial, which I mentioned the other day, runs through midnight Sunday.


musical thoughts

John Cage (whose centennial we recently celebrated), Conlon Nancarrow (ditto), Teddy Wilson—they’d make a helluva band.

Wednesday, 8/29/12

who you’d be swept away by—right now—
if you were a 24-year-old male*

Jessie Ware, live, London, 7/18/12

“Night Light”


“Taking In Water”





radio: final day of WKCR’s Pres-&-Bird Birthday Marathon


*Based on a sample of one—my son Alex.

Tuesday, 8/28/12

Need a ticket to an enchanted forest?

John Luther Adams, songbirdsongs (1974-80)



radio: day two of WKCR’s Pres-&-Bird Birthday Marathon

Monday, 8/27/12

Everybody knows the boat is leaking . . .

Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows,” live, London, 2008



talking (Canadian TV, 1997)

(Yeah, the interviewer is often obnoxious; but, despite [because of?] that, this is one of the more intriguing “celebrity interviews” I’ve heard.)


reading table

Returning To My Cottage
by Wang Wei (699-759 [trans. David Young])

A bell in the distance
the sound floats
down the valley

one by one
woodcutters and fishermen
stop work, start home

the mountains move off
into darkness

alone, I turn home
as great clouds beckon
from the horizon

the wind stirs delicate vines
and water chestnut shoots
catkin fluff sails past

in the marsh to the east
new growth
vibrates with color

it’s sad
to walk in the house
and shut the door.


radio: 72 hours of Pres & Bird

Celebrating the birthdays of Lester Young (8/27) and Charlie Parker (8/29), WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University) will be playing their music all day today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.

Monday, 3/5/12

Has there ever been a finer hour of jazz—of music—on TV?

The Sound of Jazz (CBS), 1957*

(A couple excerpts have been posted previously—here and here—but until the other day I’d never seen the whole show.)

*With Count Basie (piano), Thelonious Monk (piano), Billie Holiday (vocals), Jimmy Rushing (vocals), Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone), Ben Webster (tenor saxophone), Lester Young (tenor saxophone), Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone), Jimmy Giuffre (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Pee Wee Ellis (clarinet), Henry “Red” Allen (trumpet), Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Danny Barker (guitar), Freddie Green (guitar), Jim Hall (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), Jo Jones (drums), et al.

Sunday, 10/2/11

Here, at Luther Vandross’s funeral, Stevie testifies.

Stevie Wonder, “I Won’t Complain”
Live, New York (The Riverside Church), 2005



For as long as you’ve got a harp in your heart, God’s got a hymn for your hurt. And as long as you’ve got a hymn, then you’ve got hope.

—Maurice O. Wallace (funeral sermon, quoted in Karla FC Holloway, Passed On: African American Mourning Stories [2002])

(Originally posted 10/11/09.)


listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Coldcut, 70 Minutes of Madness (Journeys by DJ)

• Mahmoud Ahmed, Ethiopiques, Vol. 6: Almaz (Buda Musique [import])

• Staff Benda Bilili, Tres Tres Fort (Crammed Discs)

• Louis Armstrong, Hot Fives & Sevens (JSP [import])

• Jaki Byard, Solo/Strings (Prestige)

• John Carter & Bobby Bradford’s New Art Jazz Ensemble, Seeking (hat Art)

• Eric Dolphy, Out to Lunch (Blue Note)

• Bill Evans Trio, Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside)

• The Great Concert of Charles Mingus (Verve)

• The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings Of Charlie Parker (Mosaic)

• Sun Ra, Sleeping Beauty (Phantom Sound & Vision [import])

• The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air (Mosaic)

• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet (Tzadik)

• Bela Bartok, String Quartets Nos. 5 & 6, Takacs Quartet (Hungaroton [import])

• David Behrman, On the Other Ocean (Lovely Music)

• Morton Feldman, Crippled Symmetry, Eberhard Blum, flute; Nils Vigland, piano, celesta; Jan Williams, glockenspiel, vibraphone (hat Art)

Morton Feldman, For Christian Wolff, Eberhard Blum, flute; Nils Vigland, piano, celesta (hat Art)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa) (available as a download from Amazon for 89¢)

• Morton Feldman, For Samuel Beckett, San Francisco Contemporary Players (Newport Classic)

• Morton Feldman, Triadic Memories, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno [import])

• Morton Feldman,  Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Members of the Ives Ensemble (hat Art)

• Ingram Marshall, Kingdom Come (Nonesuch)

• Maurizio Pollini, piano, Arnold Schoenberg (The Solo Piano MusicPiano Concerto), Anton Webern (Variations, op. 27) (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Dimitri Shostakovich, String Quartets Nos. 5, 6, & 7, Borodin Quartet (Melodiya)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
—Lester Young/Charlie Parker birthday marathon
—John Coltrane birthday broadcast
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Airborne Event (Dan Bodah, “electronic noise to free jazz, drone rock to a capella African song”)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, web only)
Transpacific Sound Paradise (Rob Weisberg, “popular and unpopular music from around the world”)

WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)
The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)

Sunday, 8/28/11

As Hurricane Irene hits New York, let’s head to Harlem.

Harold Robinson, Earl Washington, Paul Williams, “Two Wings,” live, Harlem Church of Christ (338 Lenox Ave.), 27th Northeastern Lectureship, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.




Speaking of New York, WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University) continues its Lester Young/Charlie Parker birthday marathon today and tomorrow.

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