WBGO Blog
  • Farewell to Trumpeter Clark Terry

    February 22, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: RIP

    WBGO says goodbye to trumpeter, educator and NEA Jazz Master Clark Terry, who died from complications of diabetes Feb. 21, 2015.

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    Born Dec. 14, 1920 in St. Louis, Terry was a key player in the ensembles of Duke Ellington and Count Basie in the 1950s, and he broke barriers by becoming the first African-American staff musician for the NBC television network, and was a longtime member of the Tonight Show Band.

    Terry was an exceptional educator, and shared unstintingly of his knowledge with younger trumpeters, including Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. Most recently, Terry took Justin Kauflin, a young, blind piano player, under his wing - Terry's teaching methods and mentorship of Kauflin inspired the 2014 documentary film Keep On Keepin' On, directed by Alan Hicks, which Jones produced.

    Jones spoke with WBGO's Gary Walker last year about the film and Terry's legacy. We'd like to share the conversation again with you now:

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    Kauflin visited WBGO just last month, and also spoke with Gary about what Terry meant to him. Here's that conversation:

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    Thank you Clark, for your indomitable spirit, which shone like a beacon through your teaching and your music!

    Reverend Calvin Butts will lead the service for Clark Terry, Saturday, February 28 at 10am at Abyssinian Baptist Church, located at 132 W 138th St, New York, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America which has helped over the years to make sure that Clark's needs were met.  Please note when making donations online that they be noted "In Honor of Clark Terry" to help them continue this lifesaving work: http://jazzfoundation.org/memory_honor

  • Farewell to NEA Jazz Master Gerald Wilson

    September 9, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO says goodbye to Gerald Wilson, who died Sept. 8 at his home in Los Angeles, four days after his 94th birthday.

    The trumpeter, bandleader and arranger played a key role in the development of West Coast and orchestral jazz over his 75 years as a professional musician. Fresh out of Detroit's Cass Technical High School in 1939, he joined Jimmie Lunceford's band and never looked back.

    Based in Los Angeles, Wilson arranged for Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and dozens of others, as well as his own large and small ensembles. In 1990, he was named an NEA Jazz Master, the nation's highest honor for a jazz musician.

    Wilson visited WBGO many times over the years, and stopped by in 2003 for a heartfelt chat with Morning Jazz host Gary Walker, which we'd like to share with you again now.

    Thank you, Gerald, we will miss you!

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  • WBGO Says Goodbye To Violinist John Blake, Jr.

    August 19, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: RIP

    WBGO says goodbye to  master violinist, teacher, folklorist, and dear friend John Blake, Jr., who passed away Aug. 15 at age 67 from the complications of multiple myeloma.

    He is survived by his wife Barbara Blake, son Johnathan, daughters Beverly Blake Woodson and Jennifer Blake Watson, his two sisters Vivian Carson and Charlotte Blake-Alston, his two brothers Alan and Elliot Blake, and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws and grandchildren.

    The family thanks John's extended family of friends, students and admirers for their prayers and kind words.

    John visited WBGO in 2010 to play and talk about his recording Motherless Child, which celebrated the history of African-American spirituals. We'd like to share this conversation and solo performance with you again now:

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    There will be a public viewing in Philadelphia on Sunday, August 24th at:

    Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
    7112 N. Broad St.
    Philadelphia, PA 19126
    (215) 549-4700
    1pm-3:30 p.m.

    This will be followed by Going Home Services on Monday, August 25th at:

    Sharon Baptist Church
    3955 Conshohocken Ave.
    Philadelphia, PA. 19131
    (215) 473-3000
    Viewing: 9-11 a.m.
    Service: 11 a.m.