WBGO Blog
  • The audacity of Jazz

    February 25, 2008

    While we celebrate Jazz every day here for its energy and complexity, and relish in the swing of it, and nod our heads in approval at a monster solo, it can be easy to forget that Jazz has been at the forefront of social change movements and African-American history and culture for more than a century, supporting freedom movements abroad, civil rights struggles at home and fighting against war and racial injustice both here and abroad.

    To celebrate that, we've launched a new podcast series called "We Insist!: Jazz Speaks Out." Over the four half-hour episodes, host Angelika Beener talks to some of the brightest lights in Jazz about how the music influenced them and how they influenced the music. Guests include USC Professor Dr. Robin D. G. Kelly,  pianist Randy Weston; trumpeter Terence Blanchard; saxophonist Marcus Strickland and others.

    Some of the featured music includes: Max Roach's "We Insist;" Miles Davis' "Jack Johnson;" Randy Weston's "Uhuru Afrika;" John Coltrane's "Alabama;" Sonny Rollins' "Freedom Suite;" and many more. The series launched Friday and we'll add epsodes weekly.

    Listen (and subscribe) to the first episode here.  - David Cruz

  • "DIGGIN' THE CLASSICS": YUSEF LATEEF EDITION

    February 20, 2008. Posted by Stevan Smith.

    What's going on all! Welcome to my blog series "DIGGIN' THE CLASSICS"! When new releases in the music world get slow, we all tend to dig into our collections for some vintage pleasure. Join me for my weekly (or whenever I feel like it) quest for soundtrack satisfaction. This is a blog for music lovers! "Walk With Me".

    This edition celebrates: Yusef Lateef- The Gentle Giant (1972)

    Tracklisting:
    1. Nubian Lady
    2. Lowland Lullabye
    3. Hey Jude
    4. Jungle Plum
    5. The Poor Fishermen
    6. African Song
    7. Queen of the Night
    8. Below Yellow Bell

    Now I will admit, I am really picky when it comes to instrumental recordings. There has to be something powerful about a rhythm that speaks without words. Yusef Lateef is most definitely gifted in this area. Lateef defines his brand of music as "-insert here-", but don't call it jazz. "The Gentle Giant" is evidence of his unique talents. With Lateef playing various instruments (flute, tenor, and oboe) and a 9-minute cover of "Hey Jude" (?), there is enough variety on this album to prevent it from boring the "A.D.D." listener. One stand out track is, "Nubian Lady". The title say's it all. With it's melodic rhythms and ultra cool vibes, songs like these leave no room for words. That would just mess things up.
    "I'm smiling, but don't call it jazz fool!"

    Another track that stands out is "Queen of the Night" (must be something about the ladies). A funky track that has a bass line tailor made for hip-hop. It is this variety that makes this album one of his most interesting works. This Lp speaks to generations, and most likely opened the door for world music. Some refer to this album as being erratic compared to his prior works. I feel this is just a classic display of any artists' journey to evolve. This album is a honest contribution to the foundation of jaz......I mean "-insert here-". It dares to be different. ...And it is the "different" that makes it an instant classic.
    "What do you mean by different?"

  • WBGO WINS BIG AT NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS AWARDS

    February 19, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

    nyabj-for-angelika.jpgThe WBGO News Department was awarded six honors in the 2008 New York Association of Black Journalists Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner.  NYABJ recognizes the best in Print, New Media, Radio, Magazine and Television reporting of issues that affect the Black Diaspora.  WBGO News Director Doug Doyle led the way for the station's talented department, which received more radio awards than any other radio station.

    Doug Doyle wins in the Spot News/General Category for story CorpsGriot

    David Cruz, Adele Oltman, Andrew Meyer and D. Doyle win in the Public Affairs Category for WBGO Journal: 40 Years After the Riots

    Doug Doyle wins in the Arts and Entertainment Category for Glee Club

    Doug Doyle wins the International Category for Going to Ghana

    Doug Doyle and Jen Poyant win in the Sports Category for Ring of Honor

    Doug Doyle, wins 2nd place in the General Features-Long Category for The Clubhouse

    The WBGO News Department has more 35 NYABJ Awards since Doyle took over the news department in 1998.

    Special honorees included TV anchorwoman Roz Abrams, the late Gerald Boyd, Alphonso Van Marsh of CNN and Wilbert Tatum of The Amsterdam  News. Also honored was Eric Tait, former ABC News and freelance documentary producer and WBGO major donor.  Mr. Tait won in the Documentary Category for his program Lift Every Voice & Sing: The Choral Music Legacy of the Historical Black Colleges and Universities.

    Way to go, WBGO!