Ray Anderson's 'Sweet Chicago Suite' On JazzSet Anderson shares his "musical memoir" of growing up in 1960s Chicago with a live version of his Sweet Chicago Suite at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Ray Anderson (right) leads his scaled-down Pocket Brass Band at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Adam Kissick for NPR

Ray Anderson (right) leads his scaled-down Pocket Brass Band at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.

Adam Kissick for NPR

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Ray Anderson's 'Sweet Chicago Suite' On JazzSetWBGO

Ray Anderson's 'Sweet Chicago Suite' On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/243737963/243689240" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

This set takes us to the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival for trombonist Ray Anderson and his Pocket Brass Band as they perform Anderson's Sweet Chicago Suite. To open: a high-energy chorus of "76 Trombones" by Pocket Brass at the 1997 Iowa City Jazz Festival, as originally heard on our long-running, go-where-the-music-is series, JazzSet.

Although the charismatic Ray Anderson grew up in the Windy City, today he lives on Long Island. He's the Director of Jazz Studies and, in fact, the only jazz professor at Stony Brook University. From undergrads who played in high school and want to keep the music going while they major in something else to students who chose Stony Brook for its high-end classical music faculty, Anderson teaches everyone, including graduate students who have come to the campus to study with Ray.

At Newport, he brings the band, writes the music, narrates the set — his "musical memoir" of growing up in Chicago in the 1960s — and preaches on trombone. His scaled-down Pocket Brass Band aims to sound like a full-sized jazz marching band.

"In the tradition of brass bands, you play all the time, but when there's only three brass players and you're trying to create the vibe of this giant celebratory sound, it's hard work," Anderson tells WBGO's Simon Rentner. "And we love it."

Each member is chosen for a reason. Anderson tells Rentner, "I know no one on earth anywhere that can play as much tuba, especially sousaphone, as Matt Perrine. Perrine is the man of steel, [so playing a full set] doesn't bother him at all. He's ready to play some more."

Anderson and trumpeter Lew Soloff have a long musical partnership. As Anderson told me in a phone interview, "It's easy to improvise together. There's a flow. [I] understand the conversation, give-and-take, call and response, back and forth. It's a joy." And drummer Eric McPherson came to the Pocket Brass Band from the Marty Ehrlich/Ray Anderson Quartet; McPherson has been with Pocket Brass for "the last couple of years," Anderson says, adding, "It's a sho-nuff band!"

Also from the Harbor Stage at Newport, Rez Abbasi's trio plays a movement from Suno Suno, commissioned by Chamber Music America. Like Anderson, Abbasi weaves music from his childhood together with jazz. But in Abbasi's case, it's Qawwali music from his birth country of Pakistan. The piece is titled "Overseas," and the players are Abbasi on guitar, John Hebert on bass and drummer Dan Weiss.

Set List

  • "Chicago Greys"
  • "High School"
  • "Magnificent Mistifiyo"
  • "Going To Maxwell Street"/"Get To It"
  • "Some Day"

All music by Ray Anderson.

Personnel

  • Ray Anderson, trombone
  • Lew Soloff, trumpet
  • Matt Perrine, sousaphone
  • Eric McPherson, drums

Credits

Sweet Chicago Suite is made possible with support from Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which also funds JazzSet. There's a recent CD version on the Intuition Records label.

Recordings and Abbasi mix by Antonio Oliart, WGBH. Pocket Brass mix by Duke Markos. Thanks to the WBGO/The Checkout team, including Joshua Jackson and Simon Rentner.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Bassist Christian McBride (left) and Blues artist Joey DeFrancesco (right). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

A Reunion Of Brotherly Love: Joey DeFrancesco Traces His Roots

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Christian McBride interviews one of his oldest friends, organist Joey DeFrancesco, in their hometown of Philadelphia.

A Reunion Of Brotherly Love: Joey DeFrancesco Traces His Roots

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/687886485/688249013" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove passed away at age 49. Courtesy of The Roy Hargrove Estate hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of The Roy Hargrove Estate

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2018

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Friends of the show offer memories and music of pianist Cecil Taylor, Village Vanguard owner Lorraine Gordon, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/678136954/678160463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform new arrangements of holiday classics in New York City. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Performs Big Band Holiday Classics

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

New arrangements, old Yuletide classics. Watch the annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Big Band Holidays concert live on Wed., December 19th at 7:30 p.m. ET.

This episode of Jazz Night in America features tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Dorothy Darr/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Dorothy Darr/Courtesy of the artist

At 80, Saxophonist Charles Lloyd Finds Enlightenment in the Groove

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

In this episode of Jazz Night in America, we get a taste of Lloyd's collaboration with Lucinda Williams, along with choice moments from his recent appearances at Lincoln Center.

At 80, Saxophonist Charles Lloyd Finds Enlightenment in the Groove

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/673799006/674218582" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joey Alexander performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 6, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Joey Alexander

No one in the NPR offices could have imagined how remarkable this 15-year old pianist would be at the Tiny Desk.

The Nicholas Payton Trio performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 10, 2018. (Cameron Pollack/NPR) Cameron Pollack/NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR/NPR

Nicholas Payton Trio

After back-to-back performances in South Africa, Argentina, Chile and New York, Payton hit the Tiny Desk, where he dazzled the audience, simultaneously playing his trumpet and a Fender Rhodes.

Nico van der Stam/Octave Music

Into the Vault: Erroll Garner Uncovered

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Take an essential and unprecedented glimpse into the music and life of the groundbreaking pianist-composer.

Into the Vault: Erroll Garner Uncovered

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/656189856/656604367" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top