July 13, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.
Excuse me, but I am about to step up on my soapbox.
I was at a dinner party the other night, and I said that I don't really get out much, My days are long between WBGO and my kids. But then someone at the table mentioned a performer who I had just seen, and then another one and yet another one. . . OK, maybe I get out more than I realized. How lucky am I to live in NY. I just pulled out a list of the events that our marketing crew will be attending this summer- I started to hyperventilate looking over the schedule. Add that to all of the ones that we had to pass on because we simply didn't have enough staff, it is mindboggling. So many great artists- and so much of it is FREE. Simone and Regina Carter FREE thanks to Lincoln Center Out of Doors, James Moody, Cyrus Chestnut, TS Monk FREE at Lincoln Park, Felix Hernandez and Rhythm Revue FREE in Prospect Park as part of a partnership with the Park, Heart of Brooklyn and us here at WBGO on September 27th. The list goes on. Do I take it for granted?
Sound of me climbing onto my soapbox- I write this from a weekend away in another time zone where people whiz by in cars and I seem to go to the movies everytime I visit because that is what art is. That's not a dig to my movie loving/making friends, its just a statement about the lack of choices available here. We metro area NY/NJers sometimes forget just how arts rich are lives are. Even though I work in the arts, I forget too.This is my thank you to all of us who make it our business to insure that the arts are supported. The corporations who despite stock prices tumbling still find room in the budget to underwrite a concert that they know will introduce kids to great music. And that's where WBGO fits into the picture- we make as much of this accessible to those outside of the area with the live broadcasts and interviews that we do, and the blogging too.
So one big group hug- to all who produce, present, and support this great art of live performance- and for those of you who can attend, keep doing your part and support these events.And for those of you in Japan, and California, and Montreal and Korea and London and Texas who read this blog and listen to WBGO- keep your radio on and keep supporting the arts.
Thanks for listening.
© 2008 WBGO
July 11, 2008. Posted by .
Sadly, I will not be attending next week's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. But I did get to experience the DHL All-Star FanFest the day before it opened, and it was sweet. I mean let' be serious - with exhibits including Hall of Fame artifacts, batting cages (some being virtual), and the world's largest baseball, what more could a baseball fan ask for? How about being an arm's length away from the World Series Trophy?
Yes, and to be honest, it's a lot smaller than what George Costanza dragged in the parking lot. If you are a baseball fan, visit the Jacob Javits Center before Tuesday. You can thank me afterward.
© 2008 WBGO
July 4, 2008. Posted by Thurston Briscoe.
My birthday gifts started last night when I went to a concert by Aretha Franklin here at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Backed by a big band, four singers, and two tambourine players (that's right), the Queen of Soul opened dramatically with a salute to Sly Stone. First it was the classic "I Want to Take you Higher" then "Dance to the Music". We were all on our feet.
Next came a string of Aretha hits: "Natural Woman," "Think," "Chain of Fools." She introduced her son Teddy, featured on guitar at the beginning of "Chain of Fools." She finished the first half of her show with "Ain't No Way" and the soul and feminist anthem, "Respect".
The second half of the show opened with Montreal Jazz Festival co-founder Andre Menard, who presented Aretha with the festival's prestigious Ella Fitzgerald Award, "in recognition of the range, versatility, originality of improvisation and quality of repertoire of an internationally recognized jazz singer."
Aretha accepted the award with a version of an Ella favorite, "Somewhere Beyond the Sea".
When she sat at the piano, Aretha moved the Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to the church with a spirited call and response that moved us into another of her hits, "Spirit in the Dark".
Aretha talked to the audience during her show and said she hoped she had given us everything we wanted to hear. Then she treated us to a new gospel tinged ballad. I was not able to hear the name of the song, but the way she "SANG" made me think it might be her next hit. As the applause died down, someone in the crowd shouted "Long Live the Queen!" Aretha returned the gesture with her finale ... "Believe (in yourself)" ... from the musical "The Wiz".
© 2008 WBGO