November 14, 2008. Posted by Michael Bourne.
The Town Hall was built in the 1920's for orators, and musicians also discovered that the acoustics are superb. None of today's audio tech existed back then, but no mics are ever needed there. "Broadway Unplugged" is an annual concert that gathers some of Broadway's best singers performing without mics and sounding that much more real. I've attended the last two years and I've been thrilled hearing (and feeling) all these beautiful voices, not amplified through speakers, but directly from the throats (and the hearts) of the singers.
Scott Siegel is the producer and host. In this interview, we talked about the upcoming 5th annual "Broadway Unplugged" -- Monday the 17th at 8 at Town Hall -- for tonight's WBGO Journal. And we kept on talking, including listening to highlights from last year's show: Max von Essen and Sarah Jane McMahon singing "Tonight" from West Side Story, Lorinda Lisitza singing a heartbreaking "Surabaya Johnny" from Happy End, Marc Kudisch singing "I'm Still Here" from The Glorious Ones, and Bill Daugherty singing a show-stopping "Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat" from Guys and Dolls.
© 2008 WBGO
August 27, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.
A preeminent violinist stopped by our studios yesterday. The breadth of Mark O'Connor's work is nothing short of astonishing, yet one wonders how he remains so humble and approachable. He leaps from one idiom to another in effortless fashion, as you will encounter after listening to his interview with WBGO's Bill O'Donnell. He's one of the original cross-over musicians, equally adept at playing in classical, country, world, or jazz styles. He talks about his new orchestral work "Americana" being recorded this month by The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Marin Alsop, his fondness of for bluegrass fiddler Benny Thomasson, and his upcoming performance with his "Hot Swing Trio" at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival this Labor Day Weekend. - Simon Rentner
© 2008 WBGO
July 3, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Notice anything unusual about this bass?
Take another look at the fretboard. You'll see five strings on the Jean Auray bass, a French-made instrument. But that's not the only difference. This bass is played by Renaud Garcia-Fons, who plays the instrument and makes it sound like a cello, a drum, a Brazilian berimbau, even a flamenco guitar. His pizzicato, or plucking style, sounds most like flamenco. Renaud uses the tips of his fingers, rather than the sides (like most jazz players). He has a flawless bowing technique, no doubt developed under the tutelage of the master of the contrebasse, Francois Rabbath. Garcia-Fons can execute a sequence on the double bass that would send most musicians back to the woodshed. He looks like he's doing these pyrotechnics with little effort.
But enough about technique. What makes Renaud Garcia-Fons so interesting is that he plays some amazing music. In Montreal, he performed with a trio (guitar, percussion) at the Salle de Gesu.
© 2008 WBGO