WBGO Blog
  • WBGO Says Farewell To NEA Jazz Master Frank Wess

    October 31, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO says goodbye to our friend, flute and saxophone master Frank Wess, who died yesterday from kidney failure at age 91. We were fortunate to enjoy many moments with Frank over the years, and would like to share some of these with you now.

    Photo by Paul Slaughter
    Photo by Paul Slaughter

    Frank was "Magic" to his friends and fellow musicians, and rightly so. His devotion to, and mastery of, music were second to none.

    In this interview with Michael Bourne from 2008, he explains how after honing his craft in Count Basie's Orchestra, he became one of New York's busiest and most successful studio musicians, and co-led bands large and small with his Basie sax section partner Frank Foster, who we said goodbye to in 2011.

    A striver who believed in progress through music, Wess could in be found in recent years playing - in top form - in New York clubs such as Dizzy's at Lincoln Center, Small's and Smoke, where he unstintingly shared his wisdom and experience with younger players.

    90th Birthday at Dizzy's Club, photo by Fran Kaufman
    90th Birthday at Dizzy's Club, photo by Fran Kaufman

    We last presented him in concert in April, at 54 Below in Manhattan, as part of the nightclub's WBGO jazz series with guitarist Peter Bernstein.

    WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton celebrated with Frank in January of 2007, when he was named a NEA Jazz Master, the nation's highest honor for a jazz musician:

    F-frankwessflute

    Frank sat down with Rhonda once again in October of 2010 for another hourlong conversation, when he was the guest of honor at the annual All-Night Soul concert at St. Peter's Church in Manhattan:

    Rest easy Frank, and thank you from all of us at WBGO!

    Photo by Tom Marcello
    Photo by Tom Marcello
  • The Cookers' David Weiss & Billy Harper With Bourne

    October 28, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Trumpeter David Weiss and saxophonist Billy Harper talk with WBGO's Michael Bourne about their Oct. 29 appearance at 54 Below in New York as part of the nighclub's WBGO Jazz Series, and 2012 CD, Believe. Enjoy!

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  • Singer Ian Shaw With Michael Bourne

    October 21, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Singer Ian Shaw talks with Michael Bourne about his tribute to Joni Mitchell at 54 Below in New York on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The concert is part of the nightclub's WBGO Jazz series. Click below to listen to this interview.

    Shaw, originally from North Wales in the United Kingdom, first made his mark in jazz with the 1992 Concord album Ghostsongs. In 2005, he recorded  Drawn to All Things, an album of compositions by Joni Mitchell, for Linn Records. His most recent project, A Ghost In Every Bar, is based on lyrics written by poet Fran Landesman.

    ianshaw2