• 17th Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival .. A Report from Tickets Winner Nicki Mathis

    May 17, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Nicki Mathis, a performer and presenter in Hartford, CT, won free tickets to all three nights of the Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center, May 10-12.  The Kennedy Center is 350 miles from Hartford, but if Nick even considered not making the trip, she never let on.  She and I sat in row H along with Mary Lou Williams's two sisters and other family members. Like royalty.

    Becca Pulliam and Nicki Mathis on the Kennedy Center Terrace

    Here is Nicki's report:

    To be able to attend the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival would not have happened for me without WBGO's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater sweepstakes tickets incentive! Thank you for making me feel welcome.

    Highlights for me were seeing so many of the jazz ladies -- Linda Oh and gentleman Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, phenomenal Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller, Mimi Jones I know and enjoy.  Carmen Lundy I have met. I picked up her CD. So much enjoyed meeting and hearing Dee Dee Bridgewater perform live again since The Wiz (Dee Dee won a Tony Award for her Wiz role in the 1970s -- BP). Always enjoy Ingrid Jensen. Good to finally see/hear Diane Monroe/Carla Cook. The biggest thrill was Candido, obviously touched by the creator.

    Overall, I missed hearing traditional jazz and seeing more jazzwomen bandmembers.

    Candido was the musical guest of Jane Bunnett, the Canadian flute/saxophonist, and pianist Hilario Duran from Cuba. Candido recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. He worked with both Billy Taylor (founder of this Fest) and Mary Lou Williams. There is nothing like his tuneful, percussive, hands-on-skins conga sound. We will have more pictures.

    Carla Cook performs during the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival on May 11, 2012 in the Terrace Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
    Carla Cook performs during the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival on May 11, 2012, in the Terrace Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.
  • JazzSet: The Keys to New Orleans

    November 12, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Henry Butler Photo
    JazzSet recorded the "Keys to New Orleans" concert, featuring pianists Jon Cleary, Henry Butler and Allen Toussaint, at the Kennedy Center on November 9. Mark Schramm was our onsite producer, Duke Markos at the recording console. Mark says the music was FANTASTIC, and more.

    "Jon Cleary got us off to great start with his fast-moving set of short tunes, a mix of originals and Bayou classics. He plays and sings with great spirit. Infectious!"

    "Henry Butler! Man, what an INCREDIBLE talent. He PLAYS the piano, the whole instrument -- what a left hand! He did a couple of his own tunes, and then (touchingly) one of Allen's compositions, 'Workin' in the Coal Mine.' Allen was and is an inspiration for Henry. They have a warm relationship on and off the stand. Henry sings in a deep, rich baritone."

    Listen to Henry Butler play "Workin' in the Coal Mine."

    "And then there was Allen. What can you say? The man is a legend for a reason. He opened both sets with two of his tunes, 'We are America' and 'Yes We Can,' which seemed appropriate given the setting and timing of this concert. Henry joined Allen for a little four-hand piano on Allen's tune 'Mr. Mardi Gras,' and Allen gave out some mardi gras presents to the audience while Henry played solo. Allen finished both his sets with extended versions of 'Southern Night' -- he painted a lovely picture of growing up in New Orleans, the people, the houses, the streets -- wonderful storytelling, and then the familiar song itself to finish up."

    Catch the full set on JazzSet in early 2009! In Surround Sound.

  • An Interview With Anat Cohen

    October 21, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Anat Cohen Press Photo
    Photo by Osnat Rom

    You'll be hearing a lot about Anat Cohen on WBGO this week.  Last year, she debuted at the Village Vanguard, the first female instrumental leader to do so.  This week, her quartet takes the stage at the Vanguard to celebrate her recent release, Notes From the Village.  We'll take you there.  Later this week, you can also hear Anat Cohen's recent performance from the Kennedy Center on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.  We hope you get a chance to discover an exciting new voice in music.
    So while you're waiting for all this excitement, listen to this recent conversation with Anat Cohen.  You can also listen to what's on her iPod, arranged by entropy.