WBGO Blog
  • Farewell to Annie Kuebler, Master Jazz Archivist

    August 16, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Tim Wilkins contributed to this post.

    WBGO's dear friend Annie Kuebler died on Monday, August 13, in Atlantic City. Annie had been an Archivist at the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, Newark, from 2000 until February of this year, when she resigned because of declining health. Before she came to the IJS, Annie worked with the Duke Ellington collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

    Annie had countless friends, and was “one of the best jazz archivists out there,” says Tad Hershorn, a colleague at the IJS. Annie was an excellent project manager, she read music, trained students and volunteers and – as we all sensed or knew – became very important to the day-to-day atmosphere at the Institute. “Brassy, funny, irreverent,” is how Tad describes her. Other words immediately spring to mind: generous, thoughtful and kind.

    To read Annie's story as written for the Institute of Jazz Studies by Hershorn, click here.

    Farewell, Annie, we will miss you! If you have memories of Annie you would like to share, please add them to our comments section, and we will be adding to this online tribute in coming days, so come back and visit us again.

    Annie Kuebler (right) with Lila Duckett on November 9, 2007, photo by Ed Berger

    Annie's position at Rutgers-Newark was first funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. She was so good that when the grant ran out, the Institute kept finding ways to keep her.

    Annie with visitors at the IJS
    Annie with visitors at the IJS

    Annie’s major project at the IJS was the Mary Lou Williams archive. Those of us who have seen it appreciate the scale. Williams saved everything for decades -- dresses and purses, albums, scores, countless penciled lists and  notes to herself,  even a hand-written letter to her from me in 1980.

    Cocktail napkins and notes from the Mary Lou Williams collection
    Cocktail napkins and notes from the Mary Lou Williams collection

    With Mary Lou's collection, as well as the James P. Johnson archive, Annie always turned "countless" into "catalogued" and knew the value, location, the story of each item. She did this with the help of devoted students and interns.

    People loved working with her. Her young colleague Joe Peterson says he is taking some "comfort in the fact that if Annie had any questions about Duke or Mary, she now has the answers from the source[s].”

    How she went from being a single mother of four and a part-time bartender to all of the above, I don’t know. She encountered a near fatal fire along the way, and it scarred her for life but did not seem to scar her spirit. She was upbeat and animated, smart.

    She is survived by her mother in Baltimore, four children (three sons and a daughter) and her Institute of Jazz Studies family, plus many admirers and friends.

    A Mass will be given to honor her memory at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 200 Ware Avenue, Towson, Maryland at 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 28, with another to be held at St. Bartholomew of the Apostle Church, 2032 Westfield Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 15.

  • John Abercrombie with WBGO's Michael Bourne

    August 9, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    John Abercrombie performs the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and others from the 1960s on his newest ECM release Within A Song. He shares selections from that recording, and talks about his about his upcoming performances at Birdland in his conversation with Michael Bourne.  Listen to the full interview.

    John Abercrombie

  • Master Drummer Michael Carvin with WBGO's Michael Bourne

    August 1, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive
    Michael Carvin
    Michael Carvin

    Don't miss Michael Carvin's final performance at New York City's Jazz Standard tonight.  And listen to his interview with WBGO's Michael Bourne.

  • JazzSet Will Be at the Caramoor Jazz Festival

    July 26, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    GretchenParlato
    Photo: R.J. DeLuke

    Saturday, July 28, we will be at Caramoor, the outdoor performing arts center near Katonah, New York, for the 19th Annual Caramoor Jazz Festival. Yes!! Please come by and say HELLO.

    Beginning at 3 o'clock with The Cookers, we're laying down tracks for a Labor Day special and future JazzSets .

    Trumpeters David Weiss and   Eddie Henderson and saxists Craig Handy and Billy Harper play that beautiful four-horn harmony of  The Cookers, “a supergroup,” just home from a tour of the Northwest. They open the day.

    The line-up features two winning voices – Gretchen Parlato (above), this year’s Jazz Journalists Association Female Singer of the Year, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, who received the award in 2011. Both Dee Dee and Gretchen spent July touring Europe, so stepping onto the Venetian Theater stage should ease the transition home for each.

    DeeDeeBridgewater
    Photo: Mark Higashino

    And not one but two NEA Jazz Masters are on the program. Kenny Barron plays solo piano , and drummer Roy Haynes leads his Fountain of Youth Band. Barron will probably wing it. As he told George Kanzler in this month’s New York City Jazz Record, "I rarely do set lists. It works out better for me. Every time I try and do one I’m always sorry I did it. . . . I like to read the audience, see who’s out there" and choose accordingly. "That’s not pandering, it’s just realizing who you’re playing for."

    Pianist to pianist, in a recent interview with Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus, Fred Hersch said, "Kenny Barron is like a combination of Tommy Flanagan and McCoy Tyner." Can't do better than that!

    And Roy Haynes is likely to get up and dance. We’ll make that a radio highlight. JazzSet’s Grammy Award winning Technical Director Duke Markos is recording and mixing in Surround Sound. We thank the Caramoor Jazz Festival for supporting WBGO and JazzSet programming from Caramoor.

    The Venetian Theater at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
    From the back of the audience toward the stage ihe Venetian Theater at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts .. Photo: Gabe Palacio
  • What Is Your Star Wars Identity?

    July 20, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    I visited the Star Wars Identities exhibition at Montreal's Science Center with two brilliant and witty musicians from the modern gospel band Irreverend James: Pianist Hereticus Monk and John the Bassist.  In the radio feature that aired on July 20, 2012  on The WBGO Journal,  we cast ourselves into George Lucas's creative universe.

    During our tour, we captured photos of our Star Wars character-building experience, thanks to Èrik Ayotte, who also so graciously set up the tour.

    Part of the museum experience includes having your Star Wars Profile saved for your friends and family to see.  You can see the details of all of our characters Benji the Bith (John the Bassist), Narnt the Blue Thing (Hereticus Monk), and Hairrok the Wookie (me) by clicking on the links.  Or, click on the images below, to see our full, riveting star wars profiles.

    WBGO's Simon Rentner/Hairrok the Wookie (click to see more)

    John the Bassist/Benji the Bith (click to see more)

    Hereticus Monk/Narnt the Blue Thing (click to see more)

    Note:  Narnt's skin color was originally blue and changed to yellow later in production.

    A quick note about the talent.  Irreverand James is a Montreal-based band that puts an irreverent twist on music from a black Mississipi-delta church.  Only, these musicians -- including Hereticus Monk and John the Bassist -- are secular, and preach about many social hot-button topics, such as their support for gay marriage.