WBGO Blog
  • Louis Armstrong House Trip

    July 24, 2009. Posted by David Rosenak.

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    Here's a preview of what we will be seeing tomorrow on our Members-only trip tomorrow morning to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum.  We'll also be lunching together afterward at the Pio Pio Restaurant in Queens.  Stay tuned for more details and photos of our trip.

  • Members Night a Success

    April 27, 2009. Posted by Grey Johnson.

    michel-and-rhonda1Nearly 100 WBGO Members piled into the Blue Note jazz club in New York City, Wednesday evening, April 22, for a set by the fiery Dominican jazz pianist, Michel Camilo and his trio. Midday Jazz host Rhonda Hamilton mingled and led the foot-stomping to Camilo’s incredible sound, and then jumped up onstage to interview the still-sweating pianist. Michel expressed his love for WBGO and talked about his non-stop touring schedule—Japan, Europe, the Canary Islands. Rhonda took questions from the audience. “Will Camilo have a big band album out?” “Soon,” said the pianist. “The band plays so tightly; how long have they been together?” “The bassist, Charles Flores, has been with me for 6 or 8 years, and the drummer, Cliff Almond, since 1989.” “Will you play just one more tune!?” “Yes,” and Camilo launched into an incredible solo that somehow combined all the melody, all the passion and all the syncopation shifts of the evening. Though you sometimes couldn’t actually SEE Michel’s hands on the piano, they were moving so fast, we could all FEEL what came out.

    Thanks to the Blue Note Staff who were so gracious and made it all seem easy, to WBGO staff—Assistant General Manager Amy Niles who got the deal rolling, Program Director Thurston Briscoe who made the Camilo connection, down to helping organize autograph seekers in Michel’s dressing room, to our Membership staff David Rosenak and Rita Keith without whom we simply would not be able to accomplish a Members Night. And thank you members for all of your support and for joining the fun on this night. More Members Nights ahead. Stay tuned.

    See Photo Gallery of Members Night

  • WBGO Jazz Leadership Society Brunch with Simone!

    April 21, 2009. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Simone sings at Theater Square Grill during WBGO's JLS burnch 4/19/09

    The crowd was enthusiastic and the performance fantastic on Sunday, April 19 when over 125 of WBGO’s most loyal and generous supporters turned out for the Singers Unlimited Brunch at NJPAC's Theater Square Grill. The annual event, which honors members of WBGO’s Jazz Leadership Society, featured a concert by Simone, the daughter of legendary singer Nina Simone. Backed up by her quintet of veteran jazz players, Simone sang for the delighted Jazz Leadership Society members in a concert broadcast worldwide through WBGO Jazz88 and via the internet on wbgo.org.

    Listen to the full broadcast here!

    WBGO’s weekday morning host, Gary Walker emceed, filling in for WBGO’s Michael Bourne, currently on the mend from knee surgery. Gary led the audience in a chorus of “Hurry Back Michael” chants to cheer up Michael, WBGO’s long-time weekday afternoon announcer and host of the popular Singers Unlimited program. Between songs, Gary and Simone bantered about her career and growing up as Nina Simone’s daughter. Simone was wonderfully gracious and patiently autographed her CD Simone on Simone for dozens of grateful Jazz Leadership Society members in attendance.

    Prior to the live broadcast, WBGO’s General Manager Cephas Bowles and Chairman of the Board of Directors Tim Porter welcomed the Jazz Leadership Society members and thanked them for their support.

    Jazz Leadership Society (JLS) members receive a number of exciting benefits including insider access to the world of jazz, such as the annual Singers Unlimited Brunch. Basic JLS membership begins at the $1,000 annual gift level, with additional benefits available at the Silver ($2,500) and Gold ($5,000+) levels. For example, on March 23rd, Silver and Gold members were invited to an intimate evening with legendary jazz impresario George Wein.

    For more information about how you can become a member of the Jazz Leadership Society, please contact Vincent Bochis at 973-624-8880, ext. 285 or at vbochis@wbgo.org, or visit the JLS page on WBGO.org.

  • George Wein Plays Solo and Speaks to Gary Walker

    March 25, 2009. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    WBGO Music Director, Gary Walker, interviews jazz impresario George Wein.

  • Members Night with Rhonda and Dianne

    December 23, 2008. Posted by Grey Johnson.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Members

    Rhonda Hamilton and Dianne ReevesLast Friday NJPAC was surrounded by snow, but inside the Victoria Theatre there was an awful lot of warmth. It was a Members Night and about 100 WBGO Members turned out in the bad weather to hear, see and feel what happens when McCoy Tyner and his trio, and then Dianne Reeves with a quartet, take over the stage. McCoy still plays with commanding strength and seemed on top of his game, but the night clearly belonged to Dianne.  She sang a little Brazilian, a nice grouping from her most recent CD and threw in some holiday classics, but always it is the warmth of her heart and the clarity of her emotional take on each lyric, each song that is so winning. Even trite Christmas songs you have heard so many times before, hit their mark. She can tell a good story too, sometimes around the edges of a song, sometimes right through the middle. You can tell how generous and gracious she is in her performances, so it was no surprise (but a nice one nonetheless) that she took the time to say hello to WBGO Members at the dessert reception at Theatre Square Grill after the show. Midday Jazz host Rhonda Hamilton introduced her to the members and then both Dianne and Rhonda spent time connecting with "these special people."  Together they made the point that the work that WBGO Members do to keep the station alive and thriving is crucial. Sure, we knew that. But it is nice to hear it from such beautiful hearts.  Go here if you would like to see photos of the reception.