March 1, 2009. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Last week was book-ended by exhilarating concerts. On Sunday at Manhattan School of Music, I witnessed the first-ever Charles Mingus High School Jazz Band Competition (Northeast). The first contender, from Gates Chili HS in Rochester, was BIG (with girls too) - as wide as a subway car is long – and FIRED UP, and the intensity continued through five potential champions, playing for keeps. Rochester’s Eastman Youth Jazz Orch won. Mingus Dynasty played at the end. Helen Sung on piano! On Friday, IN MY MIND - a multi-media Thelonious Monk at Town Hall concert - was signed sealed & delivered by Jason Moran & his 8-piece Big Bandwagon. Nasheet Waits on drums! Above the stage, images of the Flower District (the neighborhood for the jazz loft scene circa 1960) were superimposed with words, in a closed-caption sort of way but beautifully designed. It was moving to experience music, visuals and typography together. Were others there? Please comment!
© 2009 WBGO
February 4, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Lionel Gilles Loueke (GIL), Ferenc Nemeth (FE) and Massimo Biolcati (MA) form the core of Gilfema, a cross-border collaboration with a jazz foundation. In our WBGO studio session, the band displays an egalitarian aesthetic rooted in finding common ground as musicians. Listen to the studio session on NPR Music.
© 2009 WBGO
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