WBGO Blog
  • Chorale For Horns And iPad App, In The Pouring Rain

    August 14, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

    Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band. L-R: Blade, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd. (Image Credit: NPR Music)

    We had hoped to get the great drummer Brian Blade to give us a little private exhibition after his set at the Newport Jazz Festival this year. The weather, however, was proving much less generous than he and his band were. Early that morning, a steady all-day rain settled in over coastal Rhode Island, making it difficult to transport dry instruments anywhere. On top of that, a last-minute change to travel plans meant that Blade needed to get out of town quickly — to an airport over four hours away.

    But he and the Fellowship Band — the group of guys Blade has been making music with for the better part of two decades or more — were game to figure out something for us. So we herded them into the shelter of a quiet tunnel in Fort Adams State Park. Myron Walden and Melvin Butler put their horns together, and pianist Jon Cowherd realized he could use the synthesizer app on his iPad. The three of them played for us one of Cowherd's many serene melodies — this one called "Landmarks," the title track of their new album.

    One of the great things about Blade's work with the Fellowship Band is that it's not all about the drummer and his proven technical wizardry. It's also about beautiful harmonies, slow-developing pieces, earnest entreaty to make you feel something other than distanced admiration. And though Blade himself doesn't play, this brief moment of zen under heavy skies — this pretty li'l chorale for horns and iPad app — it also gets at why this band is special.

    Set List

    • "Landmarks"

    Credits

    Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Patrick Jarenwattananon; Event Manager: Saidah Blount; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Editor: Colin Marshall; Special Thanks: Newport Jazz Festival, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund, The Wyncote Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Josh Jackson of WBGO; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

    Copyright 2014 Newark Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.wbgo.org.

  • Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors With David Sanchez: Newport Jazz 2014

    August 7, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    David Sanchez and the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors perform at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: Adam Kissick for NPR)

    Boston's Berklee College of Music was already one of the premier conservatories for jazz when it launched a new program designed to push a select group of students beyond the classroom. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute assembles a small international ensemble to create works on the bandstand and explore connections to culture, nature and other art forms.

    That band acts as a de facto emissary for Berklee and jazz across the U.S. and around the world. Appropriately, for its Newport-opening set, the group's current lineup was paired with the accomplished Puerto Rican tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, who led the ensemble in a performance of his own compositions.

    Set List

    • "Morning Mist"
    • "Mirage"
    • "Endless Wait"
    • "A Thousand Yesterdays"

    Personnel

    David Sanchez, tenor saxophone; Mao Sone, trumpet; Leandro Pellegrino, guitar; Takafumi Suenaga, piano; Jared Henderson, bass; Jharis Yokley, drums

    Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Gregory Porter: Newport Jazz 2014

    August 6, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    (Image Credit: Adam Kissick for NPR)

    The commanding singer Gregory Porter likes a good aqueous metaphor. He named his first album Water and led off with the title track. Then he called his latest album Liquid Spirit, which he released following last year's ecstatic Newport show. (He sang that title track, too, with its bouncy hand-clap exhortations.)

    Porter returned to Newport this year on the festival's main stage, delivering a triumphant set that spanned his whole repertoire. And, appropriately enough, he cut through day-long rain showers during his performance on Saturday, August 2.

    Set List

    • "Water"
    • "On My Way To Harlem"
    • "No Love Dying"
    • "Liquid Spirit"
    • "Wolfcry"
    • "Work Song"
    • "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"/"You Send Me"
    • "1960 What?"

    Personnel

    Gregory Porter, voice; Tivon Pennicott, tenor saxophone; Chip Crawford, piano; Aaron James, bass; Emanuel Harrold, drums

    Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.