• Christian McBride On Ray Brown's Bass And James Brown's Appeal

    November 18, 2015

    Christian McBride performs at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I. earlier in 2015. (Image Credit: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images)

    Every month on All Things Considered, Christian McBride sits down with host Audie Cornish to discuss, dissect and deconstruct just about everything in jazz.

    From the interplay between the drum and the bass to the holy temples of jazz venues, they've talked about the greatest, the oldest, the youngest. They've even talked about jazz as a family affair.

    But this conversation turns the focus around: It's about McBride himself.

    Born and raised in Philadelphia, McBride is one of the premier bassists in jazz, and the leader of several bands. He's worked with Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock — but also Sting, Queen Latifah, James Brown, Chaka Khan, the Sonos Quartet. He's a public radio host himself now; his voice narrates the radio program and video series Jazz Night In America.

    McBride recently brought his bass to the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., where he spoke with Cornish in front of a live audience. An edited and condensed version airs on All Things Considered. Here's the full transcript of their conversation.

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  • Michael Mwenso And The Late Night All-Stars

    November 17, 2015

    Michael Mwenso (left) leads tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman and a cast of Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola regulars in concert. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    After the headliners and their crowds have left for the evening, a community of up-and-coming artists assembles in a corner of Jazz at Lincoln Center. It's a scene driven in large part by Michael Mwenso, a irrepressible vocalist and natural ringleader who curates the Late Night Sessions at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. But it also came together in off-campus listening sessions, and by the shared experience of being young and eager (and quite talented) musicians in the big city. As it turns out, all the time spent together away from the club translates directly to how Mwenso and the "family" make music on stage.

    Jazz Night in America hangs out with this family as it prepares for and seizes an opportunity to present its own music. Hear a performance at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola featuring Michael Mwenso and fellow vocalists Brianna Thomas and Vuyo Sotashe.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/series/347139849/jazz-night-in-america.

  • The Making Of Marquis Hill

    November 5, 2015. Posted by WBGO.

    Marquis Hill. (Image Credit: NPR)

    About a year ago, trumpeter Marquis Hill, now 28, traveled to Los Angeles, played five tunes for a panel of judges, and won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. You can think of it as a sort of Heisman Trophy for young jazz artists, meaning that a lot more people discovered his talent in a hurry.

    Hill's profile may have risen suddenly, but talent like that doesn't spontaneously emerge from nowhere. It takes a village of mentors, peers, opportunities and other educational infrastructure to enable a musician to grow. That's especially true with jazz, an inherently social music historically conveyed through the oral tradition. Besides, in his hometown of Chicago, folks had already known about Hill for some time: That's the "village" that raised him, after all.

    Marquis Hill now splits his time between the Windy City and New York City, but still maintains a snappy working band full of catchy melodic ideas — a five-piece outfit he calls the Marquis Hill Blacktet. On one of his trips back home this summer, we asked him to show us "his" Chicago, culminating in a Blacktet performance downtown at one of the city's premier clubs: the Jazz Showcase.

    Jazz Night In America travels to one of the great jazz cities to meet some of the people and places which transformed a young trumpeter from the South Side of Chicago into Marquis Hill.


    Marquis Hill, trumpet; Christopher McBride, alto saxophone; Justefan (Justin Thomas), vibraphone; Joshua Ramos, bass; Makaya McCraven, drums

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/series/347139849/jazz-night-in-america.