WBGO Blog
  • Rhonda's Detroit Journal - Friday 9.4.09

    September 5, 2009. Posted by Rhonda Hamilton.

    It’s late Friday night, well, early Saturday morning and I’ve just returned from the opening concerts of the Detroit International Jazz Festival! When I first arrived in the Motor City on Monday there was no indication of the grand event that was soon to overtake the downtown area save for a small flashing marquee near our hotel. Within 24 hours the hard working crews began the process of putting up tents and vendor booths, laying cables, barricading streets, erecting stages and testing sound equipment.

    When I interviewed Festival Executive Director Terri Pontremoli yesterday, I asked her what distinguishes the Detroit Fest from other jazz festivals, and she told me it was the special vibe and the people. The fans who come to the Detroit Jazz Festival know and really appreciate the music. As Terri said, “They come to listen.” This is a sentiment I’ve heard echoed several times by long time DJF devotees. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the festival is showcasing Detroit’s rich jazz legacy and lineage…welcoming home such area natives as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Geri Allen, Bennie Maupin, Louis Hayes and Sheila Jordan.

    Keep reading for the details on the rest of the day and a concert photo of Hank Jones. Read more

  • Roberta Gambarini: Live In-Studio Performance

    August 28, 2009. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Live Music

    Roberta Gambarini performed live in our studio, the first of two groups to fill the space today! Check out the photos above, and take a listen below:

  • Impressions of Rashied Ali

    August 13, 2009. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    rashiedali

    Sad news to report.  Rashied Ali has died.  Information is spare, but it has been confirmed on his website.

    I can remember first hearing Rashied like many jazz lovers - by consuming vast amounts of the recorded legacy of John Coltrane.  I followed Trane to the end, including every note that followed the dissolution of the famous quartet with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones.  Rashied Ali joined the group, and Elvin Jones was quick to depart.  That made Rashied the go-to guy for Trane, and they really created some amazing music together.  I  wore out the Coltrane/Ali duet recording, Interstellar Space when I was in college.  I simply could not fathom how two people created so much sound.

    Fast forward to June 24, 2004.  I was the producer for a live broadcast from Sounds of the City, an outdoor concert series presented by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  The first of three acts we recorded that day was a duet with saxophonist Sonny Fortune and drummer Rashied Ali.  Meeting them both for the first time was one thing, but it's the concert that I'll never forget.  It's one song - Coltrane's "Impressions," and it lasts for 55 minutes.  We broadcast it live on WBGO.  Click the button above to hear it.  It was 5pm, right at the beginning of our drivetime.  I think that if I had a car that day, I would have driven around the city until the song was over, because both of these gentlemen were so heavily invested in the music.  That's something I hope anyone can appreciate - a life dedicated to music.  I'll miss you, Rashied.