WBGO Blog
  • Juilliard Students perform live on WBGO

    April 13, 2013. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble performs live during
    WBGO's JAM Festival on April 16 at 2pm.

    The Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble
    The Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble

    Artist Diploma Ensemble is an elite group of emerging musicians who have already distinguished themselves as exceptional artists. They regularly perform at the Juilliard School, the Blue Note and Jazz at Lincoln Center, often with guest artists such as Christian McBride, Wycliffe Gordon and Ron Carter. An important aspect of their program at the Juilliard School is national and international touring. They have given workshops, master classes and concerts in Aiken, South Carolina, at the New Orleans and Detroit jazz festivals, as well as in Brazil, El Salvador, Costa Rica, South Korea and Australia among other places. While highlighting the historical connections, they create music that is on the forefront of today’s jazz sound.

    Performers’ bios:

    Chicago based saxophonist Rob Haight attended Interlochen Arts Academy, Western Michigan University and completed his degree in music at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Haight has studied saxophone, improvisation and composition with Bill Sears, Trent Kynaston, Rick Holland, Jerry DiMuzio, David Bloom, Scott Mason, Mike Smith, Tom Garling and Mark Colby.

    Rob Haight has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra featuring Patti Austin and Doc Severinsen, Chuchito Valdez, Michael Feinstein, Umphreys McGee, Ann Hampton Callaway, John Fedchock, Ron Hawking, the Elgin Symphony, and the Sabertooth Organ Quartet led by Cameron Pfiffner and Pat Mallinger. Rob is a member of Cameron Pfiffner's Marco Polo, Ian Torres Big Band, guest saxophonist with Spare Parts and performs frequently with Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra. Rob Haight has had the opportunity to perform with the incredible musicians of this group at various venues in Chicago as well as the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors.

    The winner of the 2011 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, pianist, composer, and arranger, Christopher Ziemba, is already receiving widespread critical acclaim. After Ziemba made his debut in March 2009 as a guest artist on Marian McPartland’s famed radio broadcast, Piano Jazz, David Lyon of National Public Radio reported: “Ziemba has developed the keen sensibilities and musical awareness of a great musician.” Most recently, in March 2011, Chris was chosen to participate in the Advancing Jazz Improvisation Master Classes with jazz icon Brad Mehldau. Presented in conjunction with the Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, Chris was the only pianist selected nationally, to perform in both the solo piano and trio classes in New York City. In May 2008, Chris was one of three jazz pianists chosen from the Eastman School, to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C and at the Carnegie Hall in New York City. A 2011 graduate of the esteemed Eastman School of Music, where he received both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, Chris has studied jazz piano with Fred Hersch, Frank Kimbrough, Harold Danko, Bill Dobbins, and Paul Hofmann.

    John Tate is a bassist residing in Brooklyn, NY. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance from Northern Illinois University and has studied with John Clayton, Rodney Whitaker, Kelly Sill, Marlene Rosenberg, and John Floeter. John has performed with Matt Wilson, Bill Carrothers, Von Freeman, Victor Goines, Vincent Herring, Scott Wendholt, and Sean Jones among many others. Currently, John is part of the Josh Moshier/Mike Lebrun Collective (2010 recipient of Chamber Music America’s New Works Grant), and is completing his Artist Diploma studies at The Juilliard School.

    Award-winning saxophonist and composer Michael Thomas has studied music from an early age, starting piano at 5 and saxophone at 10. Thomas’ focus shifted to jazz in high school, and during his senior year, he was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Miami (UM) as a Studio Music and Jazz Major. While at UM, Thomas was a member of the school’s top ensembles, including the Studio and Concert Jazz Bands, and the Frost Jazz Sextet. Upon earning his B.M. in 2008, Thomas moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory, where he received the jazz department’s Presidential Scholarship.

    Thomas’ career has taken him to venues throughout North and Central America, as well as Europe. In 2008, he participated in Betty Carter’s “Jazz Ahead” Workshop, and in 2010 was recognized by DownBeat Magazine in the 33rd Annual Student Music Awards as the winner of “Best Original Song” for his composition Refract.

    As a jazz drummer and world percussionist, Jeremy Noller represents both sides of a rare musical coin. Since his arrival in New York City in 2003, Jeremy has taken full advantage of the city’s diverse music scene, performing with many of the finest jazz musicians, contemporary percussionists, and West African drummers. Originally from Libertyville IL, he began studying percussion at the age of nine. He graduated with honors from the University of North Florida, and went on to complete his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Jeremy has been fortunate to have many great teachers and mentors, including Bunky Green, Kevin Bales, and John Riley. He has performed at many of New York City’s top jazz venues, and has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 2010, Jeremy released his debut album as a bandleader titled “Music Notes” featuring his original compositions that combine contemporary jazz and traditional West African rhythms. Also an experienced music educator, Jeremy has been actively teaching for over 14 years, and is on faculty at the Bloomingdale School of Music in Manhattan. Jeremy is currently finishing his studies as a Jazz Artist Diploma candidate at The Juilliard School.

  • Vocalese For Hurricane Sandy Relief in Red Bank

    April 3, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Two legendary vocal groups, The Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices, joined together with their musical
    godfather Jon Hendricks for an evening of vocalese at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on March 28th.

    I was there, as was WBGO'S John Abbott. The concert was a benefit to help rebuild the music and arts department of St. Rose High School in Belmar, alma mater of the Transfer's Tim Hauser.

    michael_the guys
    L-R: Michael Bourne, Alan Paul (TMT), Darmon Meader (NYV), and Peter Eldridge (NYV), photo by George Wirt

    That they were singing at a theatre named for Count Basie was historically meaningful for them all. Jon's most iconic recording was the Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross album "Sing a Song of Basie." Jon wrote all the lyrics for the Transfer's Grammy-winning album "Vocalese" that included tracks with the Count Basie Orchestra. NYV also won a Grammy for an album with the CBO.

    Photo by John Abbott
     The Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices together, photo by George Wirt

    Highlights of the concert in Basie's hometown included a friendly vocal battle of the sexes with the four girls singing "Charleston Alley" and the four boys singing "Caravan" in the style of the Mills Brothers. Jon, lively as ever at 92, inspired them all in their musical careers and lives. Jon joined them all for a climactic "Birdland" and an encore of Jon's lyrics to the Ray Charles classic "Rockhouse."

  • John Hollenbeck and Theo Bleckmann With Michael Bourne

    March 29, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Bandleader John Hollenbeck and singer Theo Bleckmann visited Michael Bourne's "Singers Unlimited" on WBGO-FM March 31 at noon. to talk about their new CD, Songs I Like A Lot.

    Hollenbeck and Bleckmann will peform at New York's Jazz Standard nightclub on April 2. Enjoy!

    hollenbeckNWP2
    John Hollenbeck photo by Tim Wilkins
    bleckmann1
    Theo Bleckmann photo by Tim Wilkins