WBGO Blog
  • Piano notes

    June 10, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    10 06 10 Queen to MarianNote #1: On June 8, the Queen's official birthday, at a reception at Her Majesty's Consul General's Residence (near the UN), the Queen (not present) bestowed the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire upon Margaret Marian McPartland, who was present and seated under a good-sized Andy Warhol portrait of the Queen. Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz was noted in the presentation.

    Note #2: Sunday June13 at 6pm and Wednesday June 16 at 6:30 in a broadcast premiere on JazzSet, pianist Edward Simon - now a Guggenheim Fellow and member of the SF JAZZ Collective - presents his piece Sorrows and Triumphs . The performance by the septet Afinidad comes from the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR. David Binney is co-leader. The entire concert is really neat! Mystical and musical.

    David Binney at Afinidad rehearsal in Fayetteville
    David Binney at Afinidad rehearsal in Fayetteville

    The web extra piece at jazzset.npr.org is Simon's "Impossible Dream." Here's an excerpt with Gretchen Parlato vocals, Adam Rogers guitar, Scott Colley bass, Antonio Sanchez drums, Rogerio Boccato pc.

    Scott Colley
    Scott Colley

    Sorrows and Triumphs was created with support from Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation & Presentation Program, funded generously through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

  • Mary Lou Williams Centennial Is May 8

    May 6, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    This weekend marks 100 years since the birth in Atlanta of Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981), one of the greatest musicians and first women in jazz. Creative, profound, productive from her teens in Kansas City through her teaching at Duke University, her life inspired Duke Ellington to write “Mary Lou Williams is perpetually contemporary. Her music retains a standard of quality that is timeless. She is like Soul on Soul.”

    10 05 06 MLW lioness27
    Photo courtesy Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers Newark

    The Institute of Jazz Studies website is your quickest way to learn about her, just a click away. The online exhibit is thorough and beautifully done. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes with this multimedia biography. It comes from material in the Mary Lou Williams Collection (she was a saver and left everything to the IJS).

    This Sunday at 6pm, JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater features MLW in performances from more than 30 years ago, as she rocked the houses at the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin. She tells and plays the history of jazz from spirituals through ragtime, blues, the “swingin left hand” a/k/a stride, and modern sounds. Only MLW could say "This music doesn't have anything to do with New Orleans or Africa. It's American music." And then she chuckles. Ronnie Boykins (1935-1980, veteran of the Sun Ra Arkestra) is on bass, Charli Persip on drums. (At Jazz Standard Tues night, when Mulgrew Miller played “Ev'ry Day I Have the Blues,” he paralleled MLW's Basie-like treatment of “Bag’s Groove” that closes the JazzSet.) Rebroadcast Wednesday at 6:30 or on demand any time.

    KEEP READING FOR A LIST OF MLW CELEBRATIONS . . .

    Read more

  • Umbria Jazz Fest line-up announced .. link to the JazzSet Summer Festival Calendar

    May 4, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    10 05 02 Allan Harris 2cropped

    Allan Harris sang and hosts from the Umbria Festival -- July 9-18 in Perugia, Italy -- announced the schedule at a press party in NY on Monday evening. Harris, Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Manhattan Transfer, Melody Gardot, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani and many other artists are on the Umbria line-up.  To savor dates and details, click here and check out the the JazzSet Festival Calendar.

  • Randy Weston's Birthday Celebration Weekend Is Now

    April 9, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Randy WestonIt's Randy Weston's 84th birthday, and the celebration is at the Jazz Standard. Last night, I enjoyed the first set. For the opening minutes (at least five minutes), Weston's hands didn't venture above the middle of the keyboard. That powerful low piano goes straight to your center. The vibration is strong enough to make you a resonator! As Randy Weston says, "In the African tradition, we are all musicians. Your heart is your drum and your voice is your sound."

    As the set unfolded from the processional "Blues to Africa" through "Saucer Eyes," "African Sunrise" for Dizzy Gillespie and Machito, "Hi Fly" and "Berkshire Blues," I felt as if I'd died and gone to heaven (or Sunside, a Paris club which for some reason came to mind). Love yourself. Go see Randy Weston.

    Here's a clip of "African Sunrise" from the same quintet, as heard on JazzSet in 2004.

  • Remembering June Kim (1933-2010)

    April 1, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    June Kim
    June Kim
    With the death of June Kim, WBGO has lost a great volunteer and friend.  June was born in Harlem, raised in the Bronx ("Miss Paradise Farms" 1953), worked her full career at New York Telephone Co., and resided for many years in Teaneck.  June always spoke with pleasure of her close and extended family and friends, and -- as expressed in her Obituary, in capital letters -- JUNE LOVED JAZZ.  Long before young Jeremy Pelt came to New York, June was telling us about her trumpet-playing nephew.   We at WBGO who knew June are very fortunate, and share in the sadness of losing her.  In Volunteer Co-ordinator Sylvia Brewer's words, "June was a wonderful, classy lady – her smile, and love for the music will always be remembered."