• Homesick

    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.


  • At Home With An Urban Cowboy

    June 4, 2008. Posted by Andrew Meyer.

    Urban Cowboy
    I recently stopped by the Piscataway home of Miles Dean to talk about a little trip he just got back from. The Newark teacher spent six months crossing the country on horseback.
    It's a remarkable story which you can hear more about in the WBGO Journal archives. After I was done with the interview, we continued to talk on tape about this and that, including his love of horses and, in particular, the horse he relied on during his cross-country journey. I also brought along my camera to get some shots and video of Miles and his horses which you can check out in a short film I produced.
    -Andrew Meyer

  • Some of the Best Stories...

    May 9, 2008. Posted by Amy Niles.

    Another post from Pledge Central. Don't shoot me, but I love pledge drives. Or Member drives, or what ever you want to call them. Some of the volunteers come for the food ( I have suggested that we weigh everyone before and after the drive), but most of us love to speak directly to you. To hear why WBGO is so important to you. You brighten our day and some of you make me laugh out loud!

    In the next few weeks, you will be hearing more about "My Source"- but in the meanwhile, I wanted to share some of the stories that contributors have told me- and was hoping that some of you would include some of your own personal tales.

    For instance- on the first morning of the drive, someone called and told me that he works for an auto insurance company. He listens to WBGO because we don't play the competitors "hairy commercials"! ( I think that he was referring to that caveman advertiser).

    Or the guy who listens faithfully to Michael and Andrew on his way home, hoping that they will talk about food. Every time that they do, he gets so hungry so that by the time that he comes home, his wife's cooking doesn't taste as bad as it really is.

    Someone told me a story today about how he was introduced to WBGO- he was a bartender at a rock club in the 80s. The men's room attendent was a crotchety guy who had WBGO playing on his transistor radio in the washroom. He kept telling the staff that one day they would wise up and come to appreciate WBGO- and he would make them sit in the bathroom and listen! 25 years later, we are still here and the caller finally became a member. He felt like he had finally grown up- you never know where you will be turned on to jazz.

    Share some of your stories in the comment section! Hopefully, I will have some time to read them on the air this weekend when I share the mike with Eulis Cathey from 9-11p ET on Saturday night.


  • SportsJam: Michael Bourne = Dr. Death?

    April 11, 2008. Posted by Doug Doyle.

    BourneDr. Death

    When Dr. Michael Bourne talks baseball he's serious, really serious. The St. Louis Cardinals fan tell all in a recent session of SportsJam. I learned things I never knew about Michael, especially his opportunity to become involved in professional wrestling as a manager. Not hard to imagine if you think about it. Michael probably would have gone around the ring shouting "YOU, YOU" like he does during Jazz 88 membership drives!!
    Listen to Michael Bourne on SportsJam.
    -Doug Doyle

  • Jazz on the Brain

    March 5, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Improvising Brain

    People who know me will tell you I always have jazz on the brain. Guilty as charged. Recently, scientists studied improvising musicians, hoping to unlock the underlying neurological functions of high and low level musical improvisation. A summation of the study is here.
    Turns out all you have to do is turn off your prefrontal cortex (can an Idiot's Guide to Turning Off Your Prefrontal Cortex be far behind?).
    This study reminds me of a conversation I had with the New Orleans writer, performer, and creator Kalamu Ya Salaam. One night on Rampart Street, at a club called The Funky Butt, I watched in awe as Kalamu performed an original poem in a style similar to the way that pianist Cecil Taylor played his music. Kalamu and I worked together at WWOZ in New Orleans. One night, during his Thursday evening Kitchen Sink show, I asked him how he could do such things.
    He said, "There's an invisible button located on your forehead. It controls the part of your brain that says you cannot do something. Turn it off."