WBGO Blog
  • WBGO & 2 GATEWAY FREE CONCERT SERIES: ANTOINETTE MONTAGUE ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMEBER 3, 2014 AT 12PM

    August 27, 2014. Posted by Carmen Balentine.

    WBGO and the Gateway Center invite you to its FREE concert series occurring once a month during lunch time. Come celebrate summer and WBGO's 35th Anniversary with jazz vocalist Antoinette Montague on Wednesday, September 3 at 2 Gateway Center Plaza, Newark, NJ at 12pm.

    Antoinette

    Born and raised in Newark, Antoinette Montague has a love of humanity and music to bring joy to people. She has played most of the major jazz clubs in New York, and has performed abroad including Israel with the 46-piece Ashdod Orchestra and with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia.Montague has a smooth sound with a soulful edge. She never gets tied up with vocal excesses, emphatic when she needs to be, and tender at the appropriate moments.

    WBGO is excited to present one of Newark's finest talents and welcome all to this wonderful event. Connect with your jazz source for a festive afternoon.

  • WBGO & 2 GATEWAY FREE CONCERT SERIES: The Claire Daly Quartet, Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 12pm

    June 19, 2014. Posted by Carmen Balentine.

    WBGO and 2 Gateway Center invite you to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of WBGO 88.3 FM at the monthly free concert series featuring The Claire Daly Quartet on Wednesday, July 2 at 12pm.

    Baritone saxophonist and composer Claire Daly has established herself as one of the most compelling and creative voices on the baritone saxophone. She is a a six time winner of the Down Beat Critics' Poll "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" and winner of the 2005 Jazz Journalists Association's "Baritione Saxophonist of the Year".

    As a very (very) young girl, playing saxophone for 3 months, Daly heard a big band concert at the Westchester County Center. The saxophone section stood up for a soli, and Claire was on her chair screaming. She says "...when I was a kid, I was drawn to music. I chose it because it spoke to me. I felt that it was a calling early on." And when you listen to her, you'll be glad she answered the call.

    TRIBECASTAN by Paul Hoelen & Mandarine Montgomery_MG_5309-2

    Her recording Baritone Monk has been described as a "marvelous tribute to Monk's music. His music is notoriously difficult, though you wouldn't know it from this recording. Daly's superb quartet combines a mastery of Monk's less-recorded repertoire with the casual joy of a jam session. Her pianist avoids Monkish cliches, displaying his own unique style to great effect and her bass player plays with a profound sense of melody, swing, and harmonic imagination. Daly's breadth of styles, enormous tone, and distinctive phrasing place her among the very best of contemporary baritone players."

    Bring your food, family and friends for an afternoon of wonderful music.

  • A Celebration of the Life and Music of Dave Brubeck

    May 12, 2013. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Just before 4:00 Saturday afternoon, thunder clapped outside St. John the Divine on Amsterdam and 113th St. Inside, Dave's widow Iola Brubeck spoke, her voice steady, strong and lower pitched than I expected. She and Dave were married for 70 years. Since her husband's death, Mrs. Brubeck and her family have received and read hundreds of letters, she said, and the word JOY kept popping up. They planned this celebration to capture some of that joy.

    She went on to say (paraphrasing) that she and Dave first entered this cathedral on Duke Ellington's birthday, April 29, 1976 - two years after his death. The event was called Ellington Forever. The Duke Ellington Orchestra played, Mercer Ellington directing, with the Youth Symphony Orchestra and a choir, a constellation of guest artists, a United Nations of diplomats, and First Lady Betty Ford in attendance.

    Brubeck_croppedAn arc from Duke through Dave touched down on us yesterday in this, the world's largest cathedral, full of people from stem to stern. We gathered for stories and music. Sirius XM's Mark Ruffin hosted. Twenty-eight musicians performed, sharing the Brubeck impulses toward justice and joy.

    Dave and Iola's daughter Cathy told us how she would dance, crash and twirl around the living room as her dad and brothers played. She introduced  Matthew, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck on cello, piano, bass and drums and "Cathy's Waltz." Then in a smooth sequence varied groups offered a Japanese melody, a blues with lyric by Iola, piano duet on "The Duke," "The Golden Horn" composed on the Turkish phrase for "Thank you" featuring exceptional moments from Renee Rosnes and trumpeter Randy Brecker, and a movement from Dave's ballet Glances. Chris and Dan Brubeck were recurrent players on bass and drums.

    In letters read by Dave's producer Russell Gloyd, Mayor Bloomberg and President Clinton both noted that the first jazz concerts they ever saw were Dave Brubeck concerts. (Me too. Milwaukee. 1965?) Clinton wrote that - at age 15 - after he persuaded a dear friend to drive him 50 miles to see Brubeck, "I went home and practiced until my lips bled." In 1994 Clinton presented Brubeck with a National Medal of the Arts.

    Eugene Wright, the bassist and sole survivor of the Dave Brubeck Quartet of 1958-67, played "King For A Day" with Darius Brubeck on piano. Dave was quoted as saying that Wright had a "Jackie Robinson kind of dignity." Wright's full, round tone is still a joy, 45 years later. In 1962 President Kennedy invited the Brubeck Quartet to play at a party for White House interns. Tony Bennett joined them with no rehearsal on four tunes. Columbia Records recently discovered the tapes, misfiled, and on May 28 will release this momento from Camelot. From it we heard "There Will Never Be Another You," fast and swinging and present, and Tony Bennett stepped up to say that when he sang with Dave at Newport, the New Orleans Festival and Montreal, it was always spontaneous and unexpected.

    Branford Marsalis interpreted "For Iola" on soprano, a beautiful reading. Chick Corea was the only pianist to play alone, "Strange Meadowlark." Young graduates of the Brubeck Institute in California played "Blue Rondo a la Turk," and there was a great short session on "Blues for Newport" with the tick tock of a clock built into the melody.

    St. John the Divine is so reverberant that Iola - in her welcome - suggested that music from the 1985 performance of Dave's Mass to Hope might still be present in the space. I hope it is true of yesterday's shared joy as well.