February 4, 2009. Posted by Thurston Briscoe.
I love live music! It is invigorating to watch the musicians interact with one another as they play. It is as much fun to observe the audience get into the music as it is to listen myself. That is one the exciting parts about broadcasting live from J&R Music World. For the past six years we have showcased numerous musicians debut their new CDs. I have produced the whole series and this has given me the opportunity to get to know the regulars. That is one of the unique privileges of working at a radio station being in the community. You get to interact with the listeners. They tell you what they like and don’t like. The listeners also get to know the artists and each other.
The very first concert we presented 6 years ago featured Grammy nominated pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill. From the beginning, a young and eager 10 year-old named Travis Wolcott was one of two boys who would sit cross-legged on the floor in front of the stage. When the series first started, we held drawings for door prizes and Travis would help pull the winner’s names out of the box. His participation became a part of the show.
Travis and his brother Thomas, along with his dad Tom continued to attend the broadcasts and we became friends. My birthday or a holiday never came without a card from the Wolcotts. But the one constant reminder of how much a part of our lives this family has become was the sight of Travis each month in the front row as we presented artists at J&R.
Travis sat and watched and listened to every note and that he depended upon us made this all especially significant. Travis and Tom were on site early January 17 this year for our last scheduled broadcast from J&R, not coincidentally featuring Arturo’s sextet. Travis picked his familiar place on the floor and Tom and I reminisced about the drawing days.
People say you never think of the good time you are having as “the good old days”. But the Saturdays (and a few Tuesdays) we spent at J&R gave us wonderful memories, and a more great live music.
But then, the music ended. The series ended.
Our friends at J&R made it possible to bring the new music to our listeners and to special fans like Travis.
We won’t let him down. That’s why we ask for your support. Jazz88 is about giving our listeners music!
© 2009 WBGO
January 20, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Listen to the complete studio session:
Download a song created for Inauguration Day 2009.
(Right-click, then "save link as")
Check out an exclusive video of "Enoch's (Inaugural) Meditation" below:
© 2009 WBGO
January 12, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.
As if New York isn't culturally overloaded enough. Every year, when the conference sponsored by APAP - the Association of Performing Arts Presenters - hits New York, the senses of industry music professionals are bludgeoned by the world's finest talent. Throughout the conference's fanfare, there are two music events where critics line-up for in great anticipation - GlobalFEST, curated by Bill Bragin, and, Winter Jazz Fest, booked by Brice Rosenbloom. Click here to read the NY Times review of Winter Jazz Fest, which I unfortunately missed. There were two acts at GlobalFEST that caught my ear: The Brooklyn Qawwali Party and The Hot 8 Brass Band, which, in case you missed, is slated to perform in Queens College at the Kupferberg Center, February 14th. I was struck most by The Brooklyn Qawwali Party, a ten-piece orchestra, primarily comprised of jazz-trained musicians. They are devoted to the music of Pakistani Sufi legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. After hearing the group, I can't help but be reminded of Antibalas, another large jazz instrumental group that famously focuses its repertory on another overseas legend, Fela Kuti. The Brooklyn Qawwali Party would seem to be a perfect match for U.S. State Department's American Musicians Abroad program, where artists spread diplomacy and understanding through the common language of music. Can you imagine what Pakistanis would think of this Sufi-jazz group from Brooklyn? - Simon Rentner
© 2009 WBGO