WBGO Blog
  • Guillermo Klein Live From Berklee 1/29: Watch Now

    February 3, 2014. Posted by Chris Dennison.

    Argentine composer Guillermo Klein’s stateside visits have been rare treats since 2000, when he left New York for his homeland and beyond. Klein is back – enjoy this video of Klein's performance, from our live audio and video broadcast of the event on January 29.

    Klein peformed music he wrote to perform for this homecoming with members of his signature large ensemble, Los Guachos, which includes fellow Berklee alums trumpeter Richard Nant and bassist Fernando Huergo, as well as saxophonist Bill McHenry and drummer Jeff Ballard. They were joined by current Berklee students, whom Klein coached over Skype, to form a 14-piece group.

    Klein combines elements of Argentinean folk traditions with contemporary jazz and an attitude that embraces freedom. He draws from a sonic palette which may surprise the jazz ear: these include effects-laden guitars, unexpected combinations of human voices, and even whistling, as on his piece “Fiu” from his 2005 album Una Nave.

    Klein’s ability to compose fluid pieces with changing time signatures is particularly striking: he utilizes unpredictable rhythmic elements and odd meters, which he traces in part to his childhood in Argentina, where the hemiola, or “3 against 2” pattern, is a common element.

    This tension in time can be heard on “El Rio” from Una Nave, and also on “Miula,” from the 2008 album Filtros. Even when a piece has a straightforward organization of beats, Klein’s interlocking polyrhythmic phrases create emotive tensions and releases. However, his pieces generally maintain consistent grooves, making them sound natural and highly accessible despite their rhythmic complexity.

    While the rhythmic elegance of Klein’s music is remarkable,  his range in melody and harmony are equally impressive: he composes energetic, jagged, angular piano lines, as on “Argentina” from Una Nave, as well as passages of rich, subtle beauty, as in the restrained melody of “Yesu” and the  harmony of “Louange à l'éternité de Jésus,” both from Filtros.

    With so few performances stateside in recent years, Guillermo’s Berklee homecoming this Wednesday is not to be missed. Enjoy, and join us for our live broadcasts of the best new jazz from Berklee's Café 939 in Boston every month!

  • Nicholas Payton's "Sketches Of Spain:" Listen Now

    January 22, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Trumpeter Nicholas Payton talks with WBGO's Awilda Rivera about his new recording of Miles Davis's "Sketches of Spain and performances at New York's Birdland Jazz Club this week. Enjoy!

    Photo by Michael Wilson
    Photo by Michael Wilson
  • Darrell Grant On NY Premiere Of "The Territory:" Listen Now

    January 15, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pianist and composer Darrell Grant talks with Gary Walker about "The Territory," a CMA New Jazz Works ensemble composition he premieres at New York's Jazz Standard on Wed., Jan. 15. The performance features Brian Blade on drums, Joe Locke, vibraphone, Steve Wilson, saxophones, Clark Sommers on bass, Marilyn Keller, voice, Charles Pillow, bass clarinet, Terell Stafford, trumpet, and Dorothy Lawson, cello. Enjoy!

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  • NEA Jazz Masters Webcast Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

    January 10, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO is proud to webcast the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters on Monday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m., live from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Join us to watch video of this ceremony and concert.

    This year's honorees are alto saxophonist and educator Jamey Aebersold, multi-reedist and composer Anthony Braxton, bassist Richard Davis and pianist Keith Jarrett.

    Join us as we honor this year's class of jazz greats!

    Every year since 1982, the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts has honored 132 Jazz Masters - less than the number that have traveled into space or scaled Mount Everest.

    It is the nation's highest honor for a jazz musician, and also honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to jazz through their work as educators and advocates.

    This year's celebration includes performances by NEA Jazz Masters Kenny Barron, Jimmy Heath, Dave Liebman and Jimmy Owens, as well as winners of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition including Melissa Aldana and Kris Bowers, and others including pianist Jason Moran, saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Bill Frisell.

  • Glasper & Moran On Blue Note Anniversary: Listen Now

    January 5, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Listen now to pianists Robert Glasper and Jason Moran talk with Josh Jackson about their Jan. 8 concert at New York's Town Hall to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Blue Note Records, part of the 2014 New York Winter Jazz Festival.

    Jackson will host the Jan. 8 concert, and got the party started early with a hilarious conversation that touched on everything from double octaves to how to play jazz for the hip-hop generation.

    "Just thinking outside the box and saying, 'Ok, this is who we are, and this is our sound,'" says Glasper, "it's opening the doors for so many other artists to do what they naturally want to do."

    They also talked about and played some of their favorite recordings by Sam Rivers, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard.

    Click here to hear Jackson's full hour-long conversation with Moran and Glasper. Enjoy!

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    Glasper and Moran braved the mountains of snow dumped on the tri-state area by Super Storm Hercules, with their three young sons in tow, to reach the WBGO studios in Newark for the interview on Friday.

    The Jan. 8 concert commemorates Blue Note's first recording session, held Jan. 6, 1939, with boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. The pianists will be joined at Town Hall by drummer Eric Harland, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, vocalist Bilal and Alan Hampton on bass.

    The show kicks off a year of celebrations by Blue Note, which over eight decades has recorded artists ranging from from Sidney Bechet and Thelonious Monk to Norah Jones, as well as Moran, who has been with Blue Note since his first recording for the label fifteen years ago, and Glasper, who released his sixth Blue Note album in October.

    "There's not really many labels that will just let you be who you are," says Moran. "They have continued to say, 'Oh, we see where you're going, here's your open canvas, your open palette, and go ahead and make something.' "

    Moran and Glasper both graduated from Houston's High School For Performing And Visual Arts - several years apart - and performed together in January of 2011 as part of WBGO's "Houstonians in NYC" concert at the 92Y Tribeca.

    Click here to hear the full audio of the "Houstonians in NYC" concert.