music clip of the day


Tag: Reggie Workman

Saturday, May 27th


Art Blakey & The New Jazzmen (AB, drums; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Nathan Davis, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Reggie Workman, bass), “Crisis” (F. Hubbard), live, Paris, 1965



random sights

yesterday, outside Chicago

Tuesday, July 26th

voices I miss

Ed Blackwell (1929-1992, drums, percussion) with Mal Waldron (1925-2002, piano), Charles Rouse (1924-1988, tenor saxophone), Woody Shaw (1944-1989, trumpet, flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (1937-, bass), live (“The Git Go” [M. Waldron], excerpt), New York (Village Vanguard), 1980s



random sights

yesterday, Chicago (Columbus Park)

Tuesday, December 17th

sounds of New York

More of one of my favorite drummers—again at the Village Vanguard.

Ed Blackwell (drums, 1929-1992) with Mal Waldron (1925-2002, piano), Charles Rouse (1924-1988, tenor saxophone), Woody Shaw (1944-1989, flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (1937-, bass), “Git Go” (M. Waldron, excerpt), live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1985




random sights

yesterday, Chicago


reading table

Do you imagine that writers speak ‘as themselves’? No such selves exist.

—Peter Schjeldahl, “The Art of Dying,” New Yorker, 12/23/19

Tuesday, December 11th

voices I miss

This drummer never fails to lift my spirits.

Ed Blackwell (drums, 1929-1992) with Mal Waldron (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone), Woody Shaw (flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (bass), “The Git Go” (M. Waldron), live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1985









Wednesday, July 26th

voices I miss

Ed Blackwell (drums, 1929-1992) with Mal Waldron (piano), Charles Rouse (tenor saxophone, flute), Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn), Reggie Workman (bass), live (“The Git Go,” “All Alone,” “Fire Waltz”), New York (Village Vanguard), 1985




art beat: other day, Art Institute of Chicago

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Irises at Horikiri, 1857

Saturday, August 8th

tonight in Chicago

These guys are playing at Constellation.

Trio 3 (Oliver Lake, alto saxophone; Reggie Workman, bass; Andrew Cyrille, drums), live, c. 2008



random thoughts: riding my bicycle

After a while, there’s no bicycle. No me. Only riding.

Monday, 2/21/11

Whatever I’d say would be an understatement. I can only say my life was made much better by knowing him. He was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known, as a man, a friend, and a musician.

—John Coltrane

Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute)
June 20, 1928-June 29, 1964

John Coltrane Quintet (JC, tenor saxophone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Elvin Jones, drums), “Impressions,” live, Germany (Baden-Baden), 1961

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(For whatever reason, this clip sometimes seems to play better, on my Mac, with Safari than Firefox.)

More Eric Dolphy? Here. And here.

More John Coltrane? Here.



reading table


Truth also is the pursuit of it:
Like happiness, and it will not stand.

Even the verse begins to eat away
In the acid. Pursuit, pursuit;

A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.

How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—

We must talk now. I am no longer sure of the words,
The clockwork of the world. What is inexplicable

Is the ‘preponderance of objects.’ The sky lights
Daily with that predominance

And we have become the present.

We must talk now. Fear
Is fear. But we abandon one another.

George Oppen

Thursday, 10/28/10

So many ideas and so much feeling, so much energy and so much technique—it’s a wonder he doesn’t burst apart at the seams.

Jaki Byard, June 15, 1922-February 11, 1999

Live (with Reggie Workman, bass; Alan Dawson, drums), Germany (Berlin), 1965

Part 1 (“Free Improvisation”)


Part 2 (with Earl Hines, “Rosetta”)

Want more of Jaki Byard? Here and here (with Charles Mingus).



In conversation (Cleveland, 1985):

Wednesday, 10/20/10

Few musicians, on any instrument, give me so much joy.

Ed Blackwell, October 10, 1929-October 7, 1992

Mal Waldron Quintet (Mal Waldron, piano, with Ed Blackwell, drums; Reggie Workman, bass; Charlie Rouse, saxophone; Woody Shaw, flugelhorn), “The Git-Go,” live, New York (Village Vanguard), 1986

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3

Want more of Ed Blackwell? Here.



I’ve been playing with Blackwell over 20 years. We used to play when I first went to Los Angeles. Blackwell plays the drums as if he’s playing a wind instrument. Actually, he sounds more like a talking drum. He’s speaking a certain language that I find is very valid in rhythm instruments.

Very seldom in rhythm instruments do you hear rhythm sounding like a language. I think that’s a very old tradition, because the drums, in the beginning, used to be like the telephone—to carry the message.

Ornette Coleman


In one of my clearest memories of the drummer Ed Blackwell, he sat in an Indian restaurant drawing percussion notation on the tablecloth with a felt-tipped pen. The waiters looked on, aghast, as the splodgy black figures spread across their white linen, but Blackwell, rapt in concentration behind his dark glasses, remained oblivious. Music was all that mattered to him, the drums in particular, and there was a particular point he needed to make.


Blackwell was a deeply serious artist who, whatever his circumstances, put the music first and insisted his associates did likewise. In New York percussion circles he was seen as a teacher. He often quoted the Chinese adage, ‘Neglect your art for a day, and it will neglect you for two’, and would actively pursue other drummers whom he respected, should he feel they reneged on commitment.

I never saw him without a pair of drumsticks or homemade mallets in his hand; these he would employ constantly as much to accentuate a point as to strengthen his wrists. Some percussionists have made a cabaret act from beating out rhythms on any available surface; Blackwell would do it to fill in gaps in conversation. He played drums like that, too: the perfect listener, who could equally stimulate and inspire with his enviable grasp of polyrhythmic possibilities.

No jazz musician can claim greater authenticity than a New Orleans birth. It is the most African of US cities, where Yoruba religious practice continues and the Second Line that accompanies street-parades moves with an African strut. From the moment he could walk, Blackwell was part of that Second Line and as a child he danced in the street for pennies. That characteristic dancestep and the ‘double-clutching’ two-beat of the parade bass drum remained features of his playing, securely anchoring his adventurousness in an earlier memory.

Val Wilmer


More from the Albertina Walker Musical Tribute

Michael McKay (voice), Delores Washington (voice), Juli Wood (alto saxophone), “I’m Still Here,” live, Chicago, 10/14/10

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