Left to right: Rene Marie, Allan Harris and Carla Cook.

Left to right: Rene Marie, Allan Harris and Carla Cook. Courtesy of Pat Harris hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Pat Harris

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

'Two Skirts And A Shirt' On JazzSetWBGO-FM

Listen

Listen

Loading…

57:58
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/134827999/291985089" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

After a sweetly harmonized "Tryin' Times" from 1970 by Donny Hathaway and a rocking version of "Compared to What" by Gene McDaniels ("The president, he got his war / Folks don't know just what it's for"), Rene Marie pauses to ask two questions: "Do you remember when it was not unusual for jazz composers to write about social issues? What happened?" There's a pause, and then Carla Cook says off-mic, "The '80s." The audience hears her and laughs. Rene Marie continues with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

From the KC Jazz Club in Washington, D.C., this is only the second performance ever by the group, though you'd never know it. Extraordinary back-up comes from Eric Gunnison on piano, Mark Simon on bass and Paul Romaine on drums — all from Denver, the city where they performed for the first time at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

"Two Skirts and a Shirt" is a clever Marie original to open the show. The inspirational "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down" is by bluesman Eric Bibb. Moving along, every voice gets a solo feature. Cook — the alto — chooses "Strong Man" by Oscar Brown Jr., best known from the Abbey Lincoln recording. Allan Harris' original is the romantic "Can't Live My Life Without You."

The rest of this set is a sweet vocal showcase — three-part harmonies are fresh and hard to find in contemporary jazz — so here's a chance to enjoy it.

SETLIST

  • "Two Skirts and a Shirt" (Rene Marie)
  • "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirits Down" (Eric Bibb)
  • "Strong Man" (Oscar Brown Jr.)
  • "These Are Tryin' Times" (Donnie Hathaway)
  • "Compared to What" (Gene McDaniel)
  • "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen)
  • "Can't Live My Life Without You" (Allan Harris)
  • "Bye Bye Blackbird" (Henderson, Dixon)
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Sergio Salvatore. Teri Bloom/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Teri Bloom/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Sergio Salvatore On Piano Jazz

The composer and pianist was only 14 when he was a guest on the program back in 1996.

Listen Loading… 57:53
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/464861388/464864128" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jane Ira Bloom. Johnny Moreno/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Johnny Moreno/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jane Ira Bloom On Piano Jazz

The soprano saxophonist is known for her high-energy compositions. Hear a 1993 session.

Listen Loading… 57:49
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/463170450/463171819" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nels Cline and Julian Lage. Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Nels Cline And Julian Lage On Mountain Stage

The genre-straddling star guitarists perform together with fluidity, precision and grace.

Listen Loading… 23:36
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/463034184/463037835" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

James P. Johnson (front) in the mid- to late 1940s. William Gottlieb/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

James P. Johnson: The Father Of Stride

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Johnson's seminal work represents the cornerstone of jazz piano conception. Hear four tributes.

Listen Loading… 57:10
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/462323926/462325385" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Eric Mintel. Jorge Fernandez/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jorge Fernandez/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Eric Mintel On Piano Jazz

The pianist's straight-ahead style has engaged audiences at the White House and the Kennedy Center.

Listen Loading… 57:52
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/461615259/461623769" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor