WBGO Blog
  • Juilliard Students perform live on WBGO

    April 13, 2013. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble performs live during
    WBGO's JAM Festival on April 16 at 2pm.

    The Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble
    The Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble

    Artist Diploma Ensemble is an elite group of emerging musicians who have already distinguished themselves as exceptional artists. They regularly perform at the Juilliard School, the Blue Note and Jazz at Lincoln Center, often with guest artists such as Christian McBride, Wycliffe Gordon and Ron Carter. An important aspect of their program at the Juilliard School is national and international touring. They have given workshops, master classes and concerts in Aiken, South Carolina, at the New Orleans and Detroit jazz festivals, as well as in Brazil, El Salvador, Costa Rica, South Korea and Australia among other places. While highlighting the historical connections, they create music that is on the forefront of today’s jazz sound.

    Performers’ bios:

    Chicago based saxophonist Rob Haight attended Interlochen Arts Academy, Western Michigan University and completed his degree in music at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Haight has studied saxophone, improvisation and composition with Bill Sears, Trent Kynaston, Rick Holland, Jerry DiMuzio, David Bloom, Scott Mason, Mike Smith, Tom Garling and Mark Colby.

    Rob Haight has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra featuring Patti Austin and Doc Severinsen, Chuchito Valdez, Michael Feinstein, Umphreys McGee, Ann Hampton Callaway, John Fedchock, Ron Hawking, the Elgin Symphony, and the Sabertooth Organ Quartet led by Cameron Pfiffner and Pat Mallinger. Rob is a member of Cameron Pfiffner's Marco Polo, Ian Torres Big Band, guest saxophonist with Spare Parts and performs frequently with Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra. Rob Haight has had the opportunity to perform with the incredible musicians of this group at various venues in Chicago as well as the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors.

    The winner of the 2011 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, pianist, composer, and arranger, Christopher Ziemba, is already receiving widespread critical acclaim. After Ziemba made his debut in March 2009 as a guest artist on Marian McPartland’s famed radio broadcast, Piano Jazz, David Lyon of National Public Radio reported: “Ziemba has developed the keen sensibilities and musical awareness of a great musician.” Most recently, in March 2011, Chris was chosen to participate in the Advancing Jazz Improvisation Master Classes with jazz icon Brad Mehldau. Presented in conjunction with the Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, Chris was the only pianist selected nationally, to perform in both the solo piano and trio classes in New York City. In May 2008, Chris was one of three jazz pianists chosen from the Eastman School, to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C and at the Carnegie Hall in New York City. A 2011 graduate of the esteemed Eastman School of Music, where he received both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, Chris has studied jazz piano with Fred Hersch, Frank Kimbrough, Harold Danko, Bill Dobbins, and Paul Hofmann.

    John Tate is a bassist residing in Brooklyn, NY. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance from Northern Illinois University and has studied with John Clayton, Rodney Whitaker, Kelly Sill, Marlene Rosenberg, and John Floeter. John has performed with Matt Wilson, Bill Carrothers, Von Freeman, Victor Goines, Vincent Herring, Scott Wendholt, and Sean Jones among many others. Currently, John is part of the Josh Moshier/Mike Lebrun Collective (2010 recipient of Chamber Music America’s New Works Grant), and is completing his Artist Diploma studies at The Juilliard School.

    Award-winning saxophonist and composer Michael Thomas has studied music from an early age, starting piano at 5 and saxophone at 10. Thomas’ focus shifted to jazz in high school, and during his senior year, he was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Miami (UM) as a Studio Music and Jazz Major. While at UM, Thomas was a member of the school’s top ensembles, including the Studio and Concert Jazz Bands, and the Frost Jazz Sextet. Upon earning his B.M. in 2008, Thomas moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory, where he received the jazz department’s Presidential Scholarship.

    Thomas’ career has taken him to venues throughout North and Central America, as well as Europe. In 2008, he participated in Betty Carter’s “Jazz Ahead” Workshop, and in 2010 was recognized by DownBeat Magazine in the 33rd Annual Student Music Awards as the winner of “Best Original Song” for his composition Refract.

    As a jazz drummer and world percussionist, Jeremy Noller represents both sides of a rare musical coin. Since his arrival in New York City in 2003, Jeremy has taken full advantage of the city’s diverse music scene, performing with many of the finest jazz musicians, contemporary percussionists, and West African drummers. Originally from Libertyville IL, he began studying percussion at the age of nine. He graduated with honors from the University of North Florida, and went on to complete his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Jeremy has been fortunate to have many great teachers and mentors, including Bunky Green, Kevin Bales, and John Riley. He has performed at many of New York City’s top jazz venues, and has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 2010, Jeremy released his debut album as a bandleader titled “Music Notes” featuring his original compositions that combine contemporary jazz and traditional West African rhythms. Also an experienced music educator, Jeremy has been actively teaching for over 14 years, and is on faculty at the Bloomingdale School of Music in Manhattan. Jeremy is currently finishing his studies as a Jazz Artist Diploma candidate at The Juilliard School.

  • The Checkout – Live at Berklee with Jaleel Shaw February 7

    January 31, 2013. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    WBGO presents saxophonist Jaleel Shaw Live from the Red Room at Cafe 939, at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, on Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m. Shaw will be joined in the concert by fellow Berklee alumnus Lawrence Fields on piano, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Johnathan Blake.

    Watch the concert live right here or listen to our on-air stream with host Josh Jackson, and join the conversation below.

    Like WBGO's other live broadcasts every month, these shows live on in our video archive and at NPRmusic.org.

    If you like what you hear, tune in to WBGO's sister station, The Jazz Bee, to hear recordings by Shaw and other cutting-edge performers. Enjoy!

    The Checkout – Live at Berklee brings critically acclaimed, New York-based Berklee alumni back to their alma mater for concerts. Shaw is a member of the Roy Haynes Quartet and the Mingus Big Band, and has performed with Christian McBride, Jason Moran, Stefon Harris, Roy Hargrove, Dave Holland, Jimmy Cobb, and more.

    Upon graduating from high school in his native Philadelphia, Shaw received a full-tuition scholarship to attend Berklee, where he graduated with degrees in music education and performance. At Berklee, he received the Billboard Endowed Scholarship, two Woodwind Department Awards, the Outstanding Student Teacher Award, and the Boston Jazz Society Award. Shaw then earned a master's in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

  • Berklee, NPR Music, and WBGO to broadcast and webcast second season worldwide

    October 10, 2012. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    WBGO, NPR Music, and Berklee College of Music are teaming up to present a second year of The Checkout – Live at Berklee. The series brings critically acclaimed, New York-based Berklee alumni back to their alma mater for concerts in the Red Room @ Cafe 939. The shows will be webcast live worldwide in high definition over NPRmusic.org and in New York over WBGO-FM as a special edition of The Checkout, the acclaimed multimedia show featuring what’s new on New York’s jazz scene. They will also be archived, and available for on-demand listening, at NPRmusic.org, and WBGO.

    Chihiro Yamanaka
    Chihiro Yamanaka

    Year two of The Checkout – Live at Berklee will debut with pianist and composer Chihiro Yamanaka’98 on October 18. The series continues with saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens’01 on November 15, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw’00 on February 7, 2013, and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III ’02 on March 7, 2013. Concerts and broadcasts will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET. Tickets to the live performances at the Red Room @ Cafe 939 are $10 for the general public and $5 with a Berklee ID. Tickets are available at cafe939.com.

    “Boston is a major incubator for jazz, and this series aims to underline that fact,” said Josh Jackson, host and producer of The Checkout. “WBGO and The Checkout are delighted to return to Berklee. We look forward to showcasing these young talents as they pursue their artistry and inspire future generations.”

    Chihiro Yamanaka is one of the most exciting jazz pianists and composers of her generation, and is the leader of the Chihiro Yamanaka Trio. 2012 has been a milestone year: she performed in the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center, in a concert featured on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, at the Iridium Jazz Club and Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, at the Regattabar in Boston, and in a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. Yamanaka’s new CD, Reminiscence is her second U.S. release. Reminiscence reached the #1 spot on the Japanese jazz charts and won the Nissan Presents Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year.