WBGO Blog
  • This Week in JazzSet History: Bill Frisell and Ella + Stevie Spread Sunshine

    April 25, 2012. Posted by Alex Ariff.

    Alexander Ariff is a Master's Degree student in Jazz History & Research at Rutgers University . In celebration of 20 years, he digs up and shares special gems from the JazzSet archive.

    There is something definitively “American” about the two clips this week. JazzSet offers not only music that swings, but jazz's many overlapping elements (world, Latin, funk, soul, etc.) Today is Ella Fitzgerald's birthday so I thought I'd share a special clip featuring two icons, Ella and Stevie Wonder, in one seriously soulful duet. These two icons presented careers to the world of music that certainly bent, if not broke, genre boundaries.

    First, let’s have a dose of one of my favorite guitarists/composers, Bill Frisell.  A personal favorite of mine was his recent release with strings entitled Sign of Life and later this year (August), he’ll be interpreting the music of John Lennon with longtime collaborator and violinist Jenny Scheinman (who just released her own project, Mischief and Mayhem). Also, we'd like to extend a special congratulations to Bill Frisell for being selected as a 2012  Doris Duke Charitable Foundation recipient. In this clip, he is performing near the bluffs above the Iowa River in downtown Iowa City for the 2000 Iowa City Jazz Festival. JazzSet is proud to be a part of this great treasure of the Midwestern jazz scene.  Each year, the festival falls on Fourth of July weekend. Becca Pulliam remembers smelling a storm rolling in during Frisell's set as audience members occupied the street and nearby fire escapes. It must have been a magical Independence Day from the heartland. Frisell was joined by Greg Leisz, slide guitar; David Piltch, bass; Kelly Wolleson, drums. Here is a the full live audio performance of “Egg Radio,” first released in 1998 on Frisell's album Gone, Just Like a Train.

    Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder, 1977, (c) Michael P. Smith Photography

    The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicks off this weekend! This clip is in honor of one of the most authentic festivals and jazz vocalists) in the world. The 1977 festival was a particularly special year. New Orleans native and legendary brass band leader Ernest “Doc” Paulin performed, and a certain 94-year-old pianist called Eubie Blake gave one of his final performances aboard the SS President river boat. But one dream collaboration continues to warm the hearts of many (including JazzSet producer Becca Pulliam): Ella Fitzgerald invited Stevie Wonder on stage during her set to sing Stevie's "You Are The Sunshine of My Life." NPR's Jazz Alive! recorded this performance. It was unheard for decades until JazzSet aired it. And this performance was later released on We Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song. Listen closely to how the two masters trade back and forth and you can distinctively hear Ella's influence on Stevie.

  • WBGO JAM Live: New School Swingers

    April 23, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    The New School Swingers performed live in the WBGO studios today, the ninth and last in our series of student performances for Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Listen to audio from this broadcast here. A full set list and links to hear our other JAM broadcasts are below.

    The ensemble, which has members from South Africa and Sweden as well as the United States, performed "hot swing" classics from the 1930s, including Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues," Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing" and Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose."

    We hope you enjoy our Jazz Appreciation Month festival of student ensembles!

    Members of the New School Swingers

    Alto: Ross Harris
    Trumpet: Lesedi Ntsane
    Violin: Anna Fuerstenberg
    Piano and bandleader: Dinos San Pedro
    Bass: Ben Murphy

    Drums: Alex Kirkpatrick
    Guitar: Nelsen Hutchison

    New School Swingers Set List

    "C Jam Blues" - Duke Ellington

    "Dinah" - Harry Ackst, Sam L. Lewis and Joe Young

    "Minor Swing - Django Reinhardt

    "Funeral March" - Ben Murphy

    "Nuages" - Django Reinhardt

    "You're The One" - Dinos San Pedro

    "Honeysuckle Rose" - Fats Waller and Andy Razaf

    "Everybody Loves My Baby" - Spencer Williams, Jack Palmer

    "Thick And Thin" - Dinos San Pedro

    "I'll Fly Away" - Albert Brumley

    WBGO JAM Live Broadcasts 2012

    Click to hear the New Jersey City University Art Blakey Combo

    Click to hear the Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble

    Click to hear the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Quartet

    Click to hear the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble

    Click to hear the Berklee Global Jazz Institute

    Click to hear the SUNY Purchase Ornette Coleman Ensemble

    Click to hear the William Paterson Jazz Sextet

    Click to hear the La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band

    Click to hear the New School Swingers

  • WBGO JAM Live: LaGuardia High School Senior Jazz Band

    April 19, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    The LaGuardia High School Senior Jazz Band, directed by Kevin Blancq, performed live in the WBGO studios today in the seventh in our series of student performance for Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Listen to audio from this broadcast here. A full set list and links to all of our JAM broadcasts are below.

    The group performed eight songs including Duke Ellington's "Cotton Club Stomp" and Herbie Hancock's "One Finger Stomp," and were interviewed between songs by host Eulis Cathey.

    We hope you enjoy our Jazz Appreication Month festival of student ensembles!

    La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band Members

    REEDS

    Zach HIcks - alto sax, flute
    Alex Morano - alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet
    Jaedon Alvira - tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax
    Malcolm-Jamal Matthews - tenor sax
    Luis Garcia - bari sax, flute

    TRUMPETS

    Adam O'Farrill
    Abigail Stratton
    Jackson Mitchell
    Megan Odell

    TROMBONES

    Daniel Wenger
    Rex Bennett
    James Arno

    BASS TROMBONE

    D.J. Passey

    RHYTHM

    Eli Greenhoe, Nick Saia - guitar
    Adale Jackson, Isaac Sleator - piano
    Damon Korf - bass
    Russell Holzman, Corey Garcia - drums

    La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band Set List

    "Cotton Club Stomp"

    - Duke Elington feat. Adale Jackson, piano; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Luis Garcia, bari sax

    "Jambangle"

    - Gil Evans (transcribed by band member Rex Bennett) - feat. Adale Jackson, piano; Jaedon Alvira, soprano sax; Rex Bennett, bone

    "Sunset & The Mockingbird"

    - Duke Ellington, feat. Adale Jackson, piano; Alex Morano, clar; Zach Hicks, alto sax

    "One Finger Snap"

    - Herbie Hancock, arr. Bob Mintzer feat. Zach Hicks, flute; Nick Saia, guitar; Rex Bennett, bone; Adam O'Farrill, piano; Adale Jackson, piano

    "Mind Troubles"

    - Adam O'Farrill, Wednesday Combo (sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz) - Zach Hicks, reeds; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Eli Greenhoe, guitar, Isaac Sleator, piano; Damon Korf, bass; Russell Holzman, drums.

    "Black, Brown, & Beautiful"

    - Oliver Nelson feat. Zach Hicks, alto sax

    "It Ain't Necessarily So"

    - arr. Gil Evans, adaptation, Kevin Blancq feat. Eli Greenhoe & Nick Saia, guitars

    "Blues In Frankie's Flat"

    - Frank Foster feat. Malcolm-Jamal Matthews & Jaedon Alvira, tenor sax; Daniel Wenger, bone; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Luis Garcia, bari sax

    WBGO JAM Live Broadcasts 2012

    Click to hear the New Jersey City University Art Blakey Combo

    Click to hear the Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble

    Click to hear the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Quartet

    Click to hear the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble

    Click to hear the Berklee Global Jazz Institute

    Click to hear the SUNY Purchase Ornette Coleman Ensemble

    Click to hear the William Paterson Jazz Sextet

    Click to hear the La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band

    Click to hear the New School Swingers

  • WBGO News' Monica Miller Wins Ippie

    April 16, 2012. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    The Ippies Awards are given to the ethnic and community press by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. It is the only New York-area competition that recognizes excellence amongst journalists, photographers, graphic artists, editors, and publishers from the ethnic and community media. Since 2002, the awards program has served as a vehicle to honor outstanding work, to promote coalition building within this media sector, and to attract mainstream media attention.

    Veteran TV reporter and anchor Connie Chung was the keynote speaker. Errol Lewis from NY1's Inside City Hall was the Master of Ceremonies. The entries were judged by faculty and adjuncts at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, as well as professional journalists. The 2012 competition attracted 240 entries across 10 categories from 46 community and ethnic news organizations.

    Errol Louis, Monica Miller, Connie Chung at 2012 Ippie Awards Ceremony
    Errol Louis, Monica Miller, Connie Chung at 2012 Ippie Awards Ceremony

    The winner of the best use of audio in reporting was Monica Miller, for her story, “Newark Roll Call,” which aired on WBGO on July 29, 2011. In the radio piece, Miller detailed the growing tension between community members and Newark’s police force.

    Congratulations, Monica!

  • The Blue Whale in Los Angeles on A Blog Supreme

    April 15, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    This past New Year's Eve, Toast of the Nation broadcast live over more than 200 NPR stations from The Blue Whale in downtown LA. We featured the Billy Childs Quartet and Dee Dee Bridgewater MC'd from the stage. The club was a dream venue with Joon Lee and Rocco Somazzi presenting the music. Come 2012, it was hard to say goodbye. The Blue Whale had great music lined up for January, BTW, just in case we decided to stay an extra month.

    Here's more about The Blue Whale and Joon, as written by Alex Rodriguez.

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