WBGO Blog
  • Jazz At Lincoln Center Opening Night

    October 15, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Dreiser Durruthy Bambolé (left) and Yesenia Fernandez Selier dance in front of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Building on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's recent trip to Cuba, managing and artistic director Wynton Marsalis presents his newest large-scale work: Ochas, a suite for big band and Afro-Cuban percussion. He calls upon young superstar Pedrito Martinez, who brought along a trio of fellow hand percussionists, to execute the chants and rhythms of the batá drums specific to Santería religious practice. And he called upon virtuoso Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés to ignite the proceedings.

    The performance launches Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2014-15 calendar and highlights its season-long theme "Jazz Across The Americas."

    Set List

    All compositions by Wynton Marsalis.

    • "Moyuba"
    • "Elegua"
    • "Ogún"
    • "Ochosi"
    • "Obatalá"
    • "Oshún"
    • "Oyá"
    • "Yemayá"
    • "Agayú Sola"
    • "Changó"

    Personnel

    Wynton Marsalis, trumpet/music director; Pedrito Martinez, batá/vocals; Chucho Valdés, piano. With the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Kenny Rampton, trumpet; Marcus Printup, trumpet; Greg Gisbert, trumpet; Vincent Gardner, trombone; Chris Crenshaw, trombone; Elliot Mason, trombone; Sherman Irby, alto saxophone; Ted Nash, alto saxophone; Victor Goines, tenor saxophone; Walter Blanding, tenor saxophone; Paul Nedzela, baritone saxophone; Dan Nimmer, piano; Carlos Henriquez, bass; Ali Jackson, drums. Featuring Román Diaz, batá/vocals; Clemente Medina, batá/vocals; Dreiser Durruthy Bambolé, dance; Yesenia Fernandez Selier, dance; Denise DeJean, vocals; Amma Dawn McKen, vocals.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Behind Wynton Marsalis' Afro-Cuban 'Ochas' Suite

    October 9, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Percussionists Clemente Medina, Román Diaz and Pedrito Martinez perform with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    To open its 2014-15 season, Jazz At Lincoln Center welcomes the world premiere of a work by managing and artistic director Wynton Marsalis. Ochas, for big band and Afro-Cuban percussion, features special guests in the commanding pianist Chucho Valdés and percussionist, vocalist and Santería priest Pedrito Martinez. With the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, they blend jazz with the traditional folkloric and religious music of Cuba.

    Jazz Night In America explores how the new suite of music came to be.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • 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.