WBGO Blog
  • WBGO's Love For Moody Week

    December 23, 2010. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    WBGO Executive Director Cephas Bowles (left) showing some love for James Moody

    WBGO dedicates this week of programming to the memory of Newark native and jazz luminary James Moody, who passed away Thursday, December 9 at the age of 85.

    UPDATE: The final segment of our James Moody tribute airs tonight at 8 p.m., 88.3 on your fm dial. Or, have a listen to it here:

    As Becca and Brandy have mentioned previously, this week will feature some of our favorite Moody memories as we close out the 2010 broadcasting year (and look forward to Toast of the Nation.)

    Tonight at 6:00 p.m., we will air a special edition of JazzSet, recorded for Moody's 80th birthday at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2005. It features some other heavy hitters, too, including Slide Hampton, Paquito D'Rivera, Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller. The show will re-air on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

    Tomorrow at noon (right after the news) we will follow up with Piano Jazz, featuring an interview with Moody and the show's always-lovely host, Marian McPartland.

    On Thursday, we close out our special coverage with a compilation of Moody interviews from our extensive archives, edited by Simon Rentner. The hour-long feature begins at 8:00 p.m.

    Follow the links below for more WBGO coverage celebrating the life and music of James Moody:

    Doug Doyle remembers Moody for the WBGO Journal

    Becca Pulliam pulls some Moody music from the WBGO archives

    Eulus Cathey interviews Moody in 2009:

    Josh Jackson pays homage to Moody on The Checkout

    Finally, a video produced by Josh Jackson and Dan Karcher:

    WBGO has been truly blessed by Moody's presence for many years -- we're sad to see him go, yet so fortunate to be able to honor his legacy. Join us this week as we celebrate the life of one of one of New Jersey's greatest contributions to jazz history. Please, feel free to share your favorite Moody memories in the comment section below.

  • Mary Lou Williams Centennial Celebrations Rise Again!

    October 6, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Mary Lou Williams Centennial CelebrationI'm just back from the Mary Lou Williams Centennial Celebration in Madison, WI (where I lived from 1969-82). Mary Lou was briefly an Artist-in-Residence at UW Madison in 1976. Meeting/interviewing her then and immersing myself in her residency put me on my track. Thirty-some years later, it was my honor to participate in this celebration. Madison, by the way, remains one of the all-time hospitable cities - centered on an isthmus between two beautiful lakes - and the home of a dedicated jazz community.

    From Fri through Sun, Howard Landsman and his committee hosted events around town, featuring the UW Hiphop Ensemble, The Music of Mary Lou Wms from 1929-78 presented by her mgr and the Director of the MLW Foundation - Fr Peter O'Brien, and a symposium with Profs Sherrie Tucker, Guy Ramsey, Ted Buehrer and Farrah Griffin. Both MLW biographers - Linda Dahl and Dr. Tammy Kernodle - were in town. On Saturday night at the Capitol Theater, the MLW Collective featuring Madison Poet Laureate Fabu, the magnificent Geri Allen on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, Kassa Overall (the nephew of the current WI Gov and his wife!) on drums, and guest vocalist Carmen Lundy. Everyone was great and all hail Geri. In the first half they presented MLW's Zodiac Suite from the 1940s, but what I loved most was "Peter's Blues" in the second half, animated by Geri's elbows.

    On Sunday morning 8am at Mt Zion Baptist Church, the awesome Leotha Stanley (a committee member) conducted Mary Lou's Mass - a Catholic mass in a Baptist church. After briefly noting that slight mismatch, Stanley launched the choir into an excellent performance, not one bit less stunning than the celebratory May 2010 pfmnces at St. Francis Xavier in Greenwich Village and The Kennedy Center. WOW. Carmen Lundy's singing of the Lazarus story makes time stop for me. Professor George Shirley from the U of MI was the baritone soloist. Sitting in the balcony of this med sized, straightforward sanctuary and facing the choir and a single, modern stained glass window behind it, I had a slightly elevated perspective and felt the joy rising.

    Prof Jimmy Cheatham of the UW Experimental Black Music Ensemble (1972-77) brought MLW to campus in '76. He has passed away, but his wife Jeannie Cheatham came from San Diego to enjoy and be honored by the City of Madison. On Sat night, some of the musicians (older now, like me) gathered to jam in Jimmy and Jeannie's honor. (That link leads you to the Jimmy & Jeannie Cheatham Collection, now online from the Marr Sound Archive at  Univ of Missouri in Kansas City.) It was small with a lot of love. You could not ask for more.

  • 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.