October 16, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO says goodbye to singer Gloria Lynne, who passed away in Newark Oct. 15 at age 81. Best known for her 1964 hit "I Wish You Love," Gloria won first prize in the "Amateur Night" at Harlem's Apollo Theater at age fifteen. She also wrote lyrics to Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" and performed with, among others, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte Billy Eckstine, Quincy Jones and Ella Fitzgerald. Among her many honors, she received an International Women in Jazz Award and a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 1995, New York City proclaimed July 25 "Gloria Lynne Day."
A memorial service for Gloria will be held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 Odell Clark Place (138th Street) in Harlem, on Monday, October 28th at 1pm.
Last month, Lynne sat down with with WBGO's Michael Bourne to talk about about her career and performances at 54 Below in New York on August 27 as part of the nightclub's WBGO Jazz Series. We would like to share this interview with you again now. Farewell, Gloria, we will miss you!
© 2013 WBGO
September 22, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.
WBGO says farewell to our dear friend Margarett Cooper, who passed away Friday at age 99. Margarett was a true member of the WBGO family, and lived so many things the rest of us can only read about. As we remember her, we'd like to share audio from the unforgettable hour she spent with us on the air in 2010. Farewell Margarett, we will miss you!
Margarett Cooper hosted an hour with me in the spring of 2010, a gift from WBGO supporter Gordon Davis. 96, she was, at the time. Everyone kept mentioning her age, but her spirit belied her age.
I especially enjoyed hearing stories about her hearing performances of Art Tatum and the other jazz greats she wanted to play as a guest DJ. She said she was nervous, but her hour was sweet and swinging -- like Margarett Cooper herself.
She was planning her next host-an-hour when she passed away. one month shy of her hundredth birthday. For us, she is ageless.
- Michael Bourne
© 2013 WBGO
August 22, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.
WBGO's celebration of Marian McPartland continues with these memories shared by host Michael Bourne:
Marian McPartland ought to have been honored as Dame Marian by the Queen. She was instead in 2010 appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. O.B.E. -- one step above Ringo.
She was certainly a great player, a great broadcaster, a great lady, and a great Dame to all of us in the jazz world. Smart, sweet, witty, with two of the most open ears in the jazz world, always curious, always swinging, never suffered fools, said what she meant, always with that enchanting voice and accent, and always with a twinkle -- no, a sparkle -- no, a bright star of light flashing in her eyes.
I knew Marian ever since she called me decades ago. 3:30AM, it was. "Hi," she said. "This is Marian McPartland," she said -- which I already knew immediately when she said hello. "I met a friend of yours," she said with that voice, that accent. "He said you play my records. He said you were up all night and I should call you."
I remembered that call every time Marian called me when I was jocking on WBGO. She was always listening. "Who is that?" she'd ask, and she'd tell me what was remarkable about the musician. "I should have (whoever-it-was) on the show."
One talk with Marian I'll never forget ...
I was working on a feature for DownBeat when Marian was being honored for all her extraordinary work in jazz education. I'd included her birth date, but Marian didn't want the date included. She didn't want anyone to know how old she was -- turning 70 around then. When she celebrated her 75th birthday with a concert at Town Hall, I remembered when she didn't want anyone to know her age. "I didn't," she said, "but now that I'm 75, the hell with it."
When we were talking for the DownBeat story, from something she said I realized that, after living so many decades in America, Marian was nonetheless a citizen of Great Britain. She'd met and married cornetist Jimmy McPartland when they were playing for soldiers around Europe at the end of WWII. Together, they settled first in Chicago, then in New York.
"You didn't become an American when you married Jimmy?" I asked.
And she said the most wonderful thing I've ever heard anyone say about a loved one.
"I didn't marry Jimmy to become an American," she said. "I married Jimmy for love."
I was dumbstruck by the passion in her voice. I could only think to ask about children.
"No," she said. "We didn't have children."
"No," said Marian. "We only had bass players and drummers."
© 2013 WBGO