July 27, 2009. Posted by Grey Johnson.
Take a look at what fun we had when 60 WBGO Members visited the Louis Armstrong House Museum last Saturday. We were welcomed both by Michael Cogswell the Director of the Museum and by 86 year old Selma Heraldo, Louis and Lucille's next door neighbor! We snacked in the Armstrong's Japanese Garden (Louis convalesced there at the end of his life), saw an amazing exhibit of Louis's collages on recording tape boxes, and learned about the humility of this world-renowned star who was very happy in his Queens neighborhood and didn't need a fancy mansion on Long Island. After a wonderful tour (if you haven't been you really should go) we went off to Pio Pio Peruvian Chicken Restaurant nearby to stuff ourselves. Thanks to everyone who came and all who made this such a terrific day. If you were there, or would like to have been, leave a comment and record of what you saw or would like to see, on this blog.
© 2009 WBGO
July 24, 2009. Posted by Brandy Wood.
At the WBGO gallery reception for artist Chris Osborne, there were great friends, great performances, and a great treat in a surprise visit from the artist's friend...Tony Bennett!
Mr. Bennett said a few words, and Ms. Osborne presented everyone in attendance with a gift of one her posters. Her art work features jazz and blues legends with the classic automobiles of their era.
Chris Osborne's paintings will hang in the WBGO gallery until the end of July, then Hank O'Neals photos will go up.
Sign up for jazz-e-news so you can stay tuned for the next gallery reception. You never know who you'll see!
© 2009 WBGO
July 8, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.
Jazz 88 Volunteers! We want you to contribute to our WBGO Blog: Jazz and Beyond. Below is our first entry by Cindy Ronson, whose nephew, Brandon Wright, performs tomorrow night at the Kitano Hotel. Ronson interviews Wright about his gig featuring drummer Matt Wilson.
Cindy: Given the economy, it's amazing how much work you have as a young jazz musician. What’s been working for you?
Brandon: Diversification is the key factor to my survival. When I moved to New York, I made sure to stay open-minded to all kinds of music, including learning how to play in Broadway shows and weddings. I took every gig that came my way and my network expanded rapidly. By not staying in just one scene ,work opportunities became more frequent and new doors opened. Now I could play for Chuck Mangione, the Mingus Big Band, a swing dance event, and a wedding all in the same week. Each gig requires different skills, but mixing things up keeps the music fresh and myself employed!
Cindy: Now that you’ve been apart of the NY jazz scene for a few years, do you think your career would have accelerated faster if you attended a school near Manhattan, say for instance, William Paterson or the Manhattan School of Music?
Brandon: I feel that going to the University of Miami was one of the best career decisions I ever made. It gave me the chance to work on my craft and be ready for the challenges of New York later on. Once you’ve made an impression it’s difficult to change someone’s opinion of you. Miami gave me all the tools I needed to come to NYC ready to work I’m very happy with how things have turned out so far.
Cindy: Has playing with Chuck Mangione influenced your own music?
Brandon: Playing with Chuck Mangione has made me realize the importance of melody! For years, I’ve been working on my technique and advanced theory but without a great melody in a song, the other stuff doesn’t matter. People come to hear Chuck Mangione because they want to hear “Feels So Good” and “Chase the Clouds Away” first. The lesson is to edit myself so I’m being as melodic as possible, especially in my solos.
© 2009 WBGO