WBGO Blog
  • Dan Morgenstern's Career: An Eyewitness to Jazz

    April 27, 2012. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Nobody doubts Dan Morgenstern’s storied life. His 8 Grammy awards, NEA Jazz Master honors, and other laurels back up this fact. But when we see him at WBGO – every time he co-hosts Jazz from The Archives – we witness his character. All of the awards and compliments in the world could never turn him into a blowhard. His friends and close peers all know about his sensitivity in his writings and compassion for his subjects, and they also rely on his insight and analysis.

    Dan Morgenstern
    Dan Morgenstern

    That lightness of being is reflected in WBGO’s recording studio, the way he smiles, bobs his head, and dances to the music he plays on the radio.  His enthusiasm for jazz is “Olympic” in its brightness and scope.  His work ethic -- unyielding.  The torch within just keeps burning, and he passes all of that fire and knowledge to the next person so effortlessly.

    As Morgenstern prepared to step down from his longtime role as director of the Instutitute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University-Newark's Dana Library, he sat down with me in our studios for an extended conversation. We talked about his childhood, growing up Jewish during World War II.  He hesitatingly talks about when he was saved by the Danish how that experience shaped him.

    He also talked about his early musical encounters, one with composer Albam Berg, who befriended Morgenstern’s father.  And, he shared the epiphanous moment that changed his life, the moment he saw Fats Waller.  He also spoke candidly about being the editor of Down Beat Magazine in the 1960s, when America was being torn apart by civil rights unrest, and how he, as “Mr. Whitey” – was perceived by some as a symbol of America’s institutional racism.

    His story, as rich as it is layered, is well worth telling and hearing. And it may be fully told one day.   Now that he’s stepped down from the IJS, he told me, he may find time to write that autobiography.

    In the meantime, Dan, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, so we can share them with our listeners here. We featured a segment of our conversation on Friday's WBGO Journal, and are happy to share our conversation in its entirety with you now. Enjoy! – Simon Rentner

  • WBGO JAM Live: New School Swingers

    April 23, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    The New School Swingers performed live in the WBGO studios today, the ninth and last in our series of student performances for Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Listen to audio from this broadcast here. A full set list and links to hear our other JAM broadcasts are below.

    The ensemble, which has members from South Africa and Sweden as well as the United States, performed "hot swing" classics from the 1930s, including Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues," Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing" and Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose."

    We hope you enjoy our Jazz Appreciation Month festival of student ensembles!

    Members of the New School Swingers

    Alto: Ross Harris
    Trumpet: Lesedi Ntsane
    Violin: Anna Fuerstenberg
    Piano and bandleader: Dinos San Pedro
    Bass: Ben Murphy

    Drums: Alex Kirkpatrick
    Guitar: Nelsen Hutchison

    New School Swingers Set List

    "C Jam Blues" - Duke Ellington

    "Dinah" - Harry Ackst, Sam L. Lewis and Joe Young

    "Minor Swing - Django Reinhardt

    "Funeral March" - Ben Murphy

    "Nuages" - Django Reinhardt

    "You're The One" - Dinos San Pedro

    "Honeysuckle Rose" - Fats Waller and Andy Razaf

    "Everybody Loves My Baby" - Spencer Williams, Jack Palmer

    "Thick And Thin" - Dinos San Pedro

    "I'll Fly Away" - Albert Brumley

    WBGO JAM Live Broadcasts 2012

    Click to hear the New Jersey City University Art Blakey Combo

    Click to hear the Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble

    Click to hear the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Quartet

    Click to hear the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble

    Click to hear the Berklee Global Jazz Institute

    Click to hear the SUNY Purchase Ornette Coleman Ensemble

    Click to hear the William Paterson Jazz Sextet

    Click to hear the La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band

    Click to hear the New School Swingers

  • WBGO JAM Live: LaGuardia High School Senior Jazz Band

    April 19, 2012. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    The LaGuardia High School Senior Jazz Band, directed by Kevin Blancq, performed live in the WBGO studios today in the seventh in our series of student performance for Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Listen to audio from this broadcast here. A full set list and links to all of our JAM broadcasts are below.

    The group performed eight songs including Duke Ellington's "Cotton Club Stomp" and Herbie Hancock's "One Finger Stomp," and were interviewed between songs by host Eulis Cathey.

    We hope you enjoy our Jazz Appreication Month festival of student ensembles!

    La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band Members

    REEDS

    Zach HIcks - alto sax, flute
    Alex Morano - alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet
    Jaedon Alvira - tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax
    Malcolm-Jamal Matthews - tenor sax
    Luis Garcia - bari sax, flute

    TRUMPETS

    Adam O'Farrill
    Abigail Stratton
    Jackson Mitchell
    Megan Odell

    TROMBONES

    Daniel Wenger
    Rex Bennett
    James Arno

    BASS TROMBONE

    D.J. Passey

    RHYTHM

    Eli Greenhoe, Nick Saia - guitar
    Adale Jackson, Isaac Sleator - piano
    Damon Korf - bass
    Russell Holzman, Corey Garcia - drums

    La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band Set List

    "Cotton Club Stomp"

    - Duke Elington feat. Adale Jackson, piano; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Luis Garcia, bari sax

    "Jambangle"

    - Gil Evans (transcribed by band member Rex Bennett) - feat. Adale Jackson, piano; Jaedon Alvira, soprano sax; Rex Bennett, bone

    "Sunset & The Mockingbird"

    - Duke Ellington, feat. Adale Jackson, piano; Alex Morano, clar; Zach Hicks, alto sax

    "One Finger Snap"

    - Herbie Hancock, arr. Bob Mintzer feat. Zach Hicks, flute; Nick Saia, guitar; Rex Bennett, bone; Adam O'Farrill, piano; Adale Jackson, piano

    "Mind Troubles"

    - Adam O'Farrill, Wednesday Combo (sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz) - Zach Hicks, reeds; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Eli Greenhoe, guitar, Isaac Sleator, piano; Damon Korf, bass; Russell Holzman, drums.

    "Black, Brown, & Beautiful"

    - Oliver Nelson feat. Zach Hicks, alto sax

    "It Ain't Necessarily So"

    - arr. Gil Evans, adaptation, Kevin Blancq feat. Eli Greenhoe & Nick Saia, guitars

    "Blues In Frankie's Flat"

    - Frank Foster feat. Malcolm-Jamal Matthews & Jaedon Alvira, tenor sax; Daniel Wenger, bone; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet; Luis Garcia, bari sax

    WBGO JAM Live Broadcasts 2012

    Click to hear the New Jersey City University Art Blakey Combo

    Click to hear the Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble

    Click to hear the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Quartet

    Click to hear the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble

    Click to hear the Berklee Global Jazz Institute

    Click to hear the SUNY Purchase Ornette Coleman Ensemble

    Click to hear the William Paterson Jazz Sextet

    Click to hear the La Guardia High School Senior Jazz Band

    Click to hear the New School Swingers