Billy Childs Quartet On JazzSet Recorded live at The Blue Whale in Los Angeles, the Grammy-winning pianist and his quartet make psychic connections to Freddie Hubbard via "Bolivia."

Billy Childs. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

Billy Childs.

Courtesy of the artist

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Billy Childs Quartet On JazzSetWBGO

Billy Childs Quartet On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/165230562/165190619" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

It's New Year's Eve at The Blue Whale, a "live jazz + art space" in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 2009 by singer Joon Lee, this is a listening room. There's food at the bar, poetry (Rumi!) on the ceiling, and wall-to-wall people. The Blue Whale has been sold out for days, and the phone keeps ringing off the hook because everybody wants to be on the air, cheering for Billy Childs live on NPR's Toast of the Nation.

Pianist Billy Childs was 21 in late 1978 when the high-profile, high-register trumpeter Freddie Hubbard hired him.

"I can't imagine the patience that [Hubbard] must have exercised while trying to solo while I am 'helping' him with my youthful comping [accompanying] ideas, which a lot of times meant just playing all over his solo," Childs tells JazzSet. "I feel fortunate to have been brought up in that time, because that was the way you learned jazz. [You] learned by doing it."

Beyond jazz, Childs has composed for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony and the Kronos Quartet (Music for Two Quartets for the Monterey Jazz Festival), to name three. He calls his recent music for jazz group and string quartet "Jazz Chamber Music."

Live on Toast of the Nation from NPR Music, Dee Dee Bridgewater emcees the show at The Blue Whale, with the Grammy-winning Childs and his quartet. Reedman Bob Sheppard pulls four times his weight, performing on soprano, alto and tenor saxes, as well as playing flute in "Quiet Girl."

More than 20 Decembers ago, Sheppard was in a Freddie Hubbard group, live on NPR's New Year's Eve Coast to Coast from Catalina's in Hollywood. Hubbard played "Bolivia" by his long-ago bandmate, pianist Cedar Walton, to ring in 1991.

At 11:45 New Year's Eve on NPR's Toast of the Nation 2011-12, Childs calls for "Bolivia," too. It's a coincidence, but still a handshake across the decades, as Hubbard and Childs both recognize a great tune for intensifying our happiness as we say goodbye to the old year and celebrate the new.

Set List
  • "Backwards Bop"
  • "Untitled" (informally known as "Brazilian Tune")
  • "Mount Olympus"
  • "Quiet Girl"
  • "Bolivia" (Cedar Walton)
Personnel
  • Billy Childs, piano
  • Bob Sheppard, flute; soprano, alto and tenor saxophones
  • Tim Lefebvre, bass
  • Gary Novak, drums
Credits

Live set produced by Joon Lee, proprietor, with Rocco Somazzi of Angel City Arts. Recording engineer Phil Edwards with Bruce Edwards, as well as Peter Baird of Remote West. Technical director Leo Del Aguila from NPR West. Assistance from Alex W. Rodriguez and Rachel Cantrell. Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Dennis Manuel/Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

This special summer festival episode features a clever synthesis of hip-hop, R&B and soul, recorded live across two music festivals in New York City.

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/542780066/542781768" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Bill Charlap and his mother, Sandy Stewart. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

Hear the cabaret singer and her pianist son bring a rare combination of swing and sophistication to a session with host Marian McPartland.

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535960111/535960769" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marian McPartland and Eddie Gomez in 1993. R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives hide caption

toggle caption R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

The Grammy-winning bassist's sense of swing shines through on this session with Marian McPartland, who joins in on "My Foolish Heart" and "All Of You."

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/533993916/533995152" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joshua Redman on saxophone, Scott Colley on bass, Brian Blade on drums and Ron Miles on cornet perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America: Video Episodes And Shorts

Still Dreaming: Joshua Redman's Tribute To A Tribute

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The saxophonist opens up about the legacy of his father, Dewey Redman, and performs with Still Dreaming — his own nod to the quartet his dad once helped convene as an homage to Ornette Coleman.

Terence Blanchard is the guest on this week's Piano Jazz. Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

The Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer joins Marian McPartland to perform standards like "I Thought About You" with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530240350/530241963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Buster Williams performs at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Lawrence Sumulong /Courtesy of Jazz At Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong /Courtesy of Jazz At Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Buster Williams: The Low End Maestro

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The low end has always been terra firma for Williams, one of the all-time great bassists in modern jazz. Hear highlights of a recent set with his post-bop ensemble, Something More.

Buster Williams: The Low End Maestro

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/528918610/528942262" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

T.S. Monk performs at the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz hide caption

toggle caption Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

T.S. Monk On Piano Jazz

The percussionist dedicated this 1995 set with host Marian McPartland to his father, Thelonious Monk.

T.S. Monk On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/528135123/528136364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top