WBGO Blog
  • WBGO's Michael Bourne Remembers B.B. King

    May 16, 2015. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    BB was actually named King.  He was born Riley B. King on a cotton plantation in 1925.  He grew up around Indianola, Mississippi, and he first became known in Memphis — where he worked as a singer and DJ on radio station WDIA.

    That's when his nickname Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy, and then to BB.

    Photo by Dave Stryker
    Photo by Dave Stryker

    T-Bone Walker was an early inspiration, and I always remember the look on his face when I quoted something he’d said about how much he loved listening to Django Reinhardt.

    With his eyes closed and his face beaming, he smiled and he said only “Django …”

    BB’s own sound on the guitar he called Lucille was magisterial.  When he played a note, a finger of his left hand quivered on the string, so that every note sounded like a bell, echoing.
    BB loved listening to Frank Sinatra sing, and his own voice was as down-to-earth and heartful.  When he was singing, he didn’t play.  When he was playing, Lucille was singing.

    No blues artist popularized the blues around the world like BB King.  No blues artist ever sang or played the guitar like BB King.

    He was — and always will be — the King of the Blues.

    Guitarist Dave Stryker sent me this picture of of his "prized possession" - a Red clear vinyl Crown Records 195.

    Pretty much says it all. For Dave, for me, and for all of us.

    Thank you, BB.

  • Join WBGO for Michael Bourne's 17th Year at Jazz on the Mountain

    May 11, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    For our sixth consecutive year, WBGO is pleased to extend to you an invitation to Jazz on the Mountain at the historic Mohonk Mountain House, January 15-18, 2016 in the scenic Catskills.

    Mohonk Mountain House

    Celebrating 17 years at Mohonk, WBGO’s Michael Bourne will host this stellar program – a four-day musical extravaganza over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. See photos from the 2015 trip.

    [Performance schedule will be posted soon.]

    Also included:

    • welcome reception on Friday evening
    • private dinner with Michael Bourne, musicians and WBGO guests on Saturday
    • WBGO/Mohonk Mountain House scavenger hunt on Sunday afternoon

    Location: Mohonk Mountain House is a National Historic Landmark located just 90 miles north of New York City at 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY 12561

    Rates*:
    Three (3) nights Single Occupancy: $1,585
    Three (3) nights Double Occupancy: $2,285

    Additional guest nightly rate: Under 4 – Stay Free; 4-12 yrs. old - $110.00; 13 & over - $196.00

    *These rates are inclusive of a 12% service charge. Tax is excluded for WBGO guests only.

    Whether you are planning a family outing, a romantic retreat, a weekend with friends or a self-exploration getaway, the Mountain House has activities for all! The WBGO package includes: bountiful breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets – or dinner as a traditional served meal, afternoon tea and cookies and all associated gratuities. Guests receive amenities such as wireless internet access, ice-skating, skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing and use of the indoor heated swimming pool and comprehensive fitness center.

    Reservations: Please call WBGO Travel & Events at 1-973-624-8882 or events@wbgo.org. A $500 deposit is requested upon booking. Check payable to WBGO/Newark Public Radio, Attn: Travel & Events, 54 Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102, or by credit card. Full payment will be due November 20.

    Cancellation policy:

    Please note there is a 14 day advance notice of cancellation in order to receive a full refund, less a $125 fee per room, non-refundable.

    Cancellations within 14 days will result in a forfeiture of one night’s stay.