WBGO Blog
  • Seamus Blake Quartet: Live In Concert

    December 7, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    Seamus Blake performs live at Berklee College of Music. (Image Credit: Armeen Musa/Courtesy of Berklee College of Music)

    He's not quite a global icon, but a jury of his peers would surely judge the tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake one of the top improvisers working today. In fact, a jury of peer and elder saxophonists officially deemed it so in 2002, when he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Unofficially, he's long held the distinction — since landing in New York in the early 1990s, really — serving with Victor Lewis, Dave Douglas, John Scofield and the Mingus Big Band, among other headliners, all the while finding time to record and perform in multiple settings as a bandleader.

    He brought several of his trusted collaborators back to his alma mater for the next installment of The Checkout: Live At Berklee series, featuring alumni of the Berklee College of Music. In a live radio broadcast on WBGO and live online video webcast at NPR Music, the Seamus Blake Quartet performed live at Berklee's Cafe 939 on Wednesday, Dec. 7. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.

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  • Christian Scott Quintet: Live In Concert

    November 17, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    Christian Scott. (Image Credit: Kelly Davidson/Berklee College of Music)

    The trumpeter Christian Scott is a rare breed these days: A young musician who has earned mainstream attention for making modern jazz. He's only 28, but he's already put out four albums of original music. He's been cast in feature films, photographed as a fashion plate, called to play with Prince. His quintet has played on late-night talk shows — twice.

    That quintet, the one behind 2010's Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, has recently recorded material for a new album. It would be the next landmark for the New Orleans native, who grew up ingesting his hometown's musical traditions, but has refused to tailor his career arc exclusively within them. To wit, he's known for his distinctive tone — he sometimes employs what's been called "whisper technique" — and for the stylistic fusions of his bands.

    He and his current bandmates, most of them fellow alumni of Berklee College of Music, returned to their alma mater for the premiere installment of The Checkout: Live At Berklee. In a live radio broadcast on WBGO and live online video webcast at NPR Music, the Christian Scott Quintet performed live at Berklee's Cafe 939 on Thursday, Nov. 17. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.

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  • Warren Wolf + Lage Lund: Live From 92Y Tribeca

    November 16, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

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    Warren Wolf (left) and Lage Lund. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    A vibraphonist from down the turnpike in Baltimore; a guitarist from across the pond in Norway. Both have dedicated themselves to hard-swinging jazz of the highest order, and both journeyed to downtown Manhattan to lead bands in the next installment of The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca.

    Warren Wolf is best known as a vibraphonist — notably, on his 2011 self-titled album, and as the malletman in Christian McBride's Inside Straight band. Plenty of musicians know him also as a drummer or as a pianist; he's toured and recorded in both capacities. After studying, then teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he moved back to Baltimore — the place where he met several of the musicians joining him on stage here.

    Lage Lund came to New York City in 2002 — after a stint at Berklee — and he quickly found his way into the jazz scene. His chops and vision won him the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2005. He's been able to lead more bands lately; in 2010, he issued Unlikely Stories, a disc of original tunes, followed up with a live trio set this year called Small Club, Big City. He brings a band of first-call New York musicians to the date.

    On Wednesday, Nov. 16, The Checkout: Live series paired the bands of Lage Lund and Warren Wolf in a double bill, in performance at 92Y Tribeca. The concert was broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast at this page on NPR Music, with a live online chat. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.

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