WBGO Blog
  • Winter Jazzfest 2014: Tips Of The Iceberg

    January 13, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

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    Rene Marie. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    The logo for the 2014 Winter Jazzfest, marking the festival's 10th anniversary, is a giant iceberg floating into New York harbor. Like the iceberg, this year's edition was both big — 90-plus groups over five nights, representing just a small portion of a larger scene — and cold and wet, in that it rained both nights of the music marathon last Friday and Saturday evening. But Winter Jazzfest was hot on the inside, as we soaked up great music like a sponge.

    It's a lot to process. So on Sunday, after some strong coffee and sleep — more coffee than sleep — we compared notes via online chat with WBGO colleague Alex Ariff and fellow travelers David Adler, Derrick Lucas and Brad Farberman — who covered the fest for the Village Voice, Jazz 90.1 FM in Rochester, N.Y., and Time Out New York, respectively.

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  • 5 Must-See Projects At Winter Jazzfest

    January 8, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

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    Lionel Loueke (left) and Miguel Zenon (right) join Jeff Ballard in the drummer's rhythm-oriented trio. (Image Credit: Andrea Boccalini/Courtesy of the artist)

    This year's Winter Jazzfest seems to be a kind of turning point — for the festival, and maybe for jazz in New York City. What started 10 years ago as a one-night showcase under one roof has expanded to five days at 10 venues, featuring more than 90 groups in a vast array of styles.

    The underground edge is still there, but this year's acts include multiple Grammy winners, beyond-jazz acts such as singer Keren Ann, and three midweek marquee concerts. One teams star pianists Robert Glasper and Jason Moran to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records.

    Still, much of the festival's excitement still resides in its signature two-night marathon, where acts perform in quick succession in neighboring Greenwich Village nightclubs. For the price of a single ticket, concertgoers can choose — or try to choose — between groups, which range from Balkan and New Orleans brass to Latin and straight-ahead jazz. The 18-piece orchestral pop ensemble Mother Falcon, with cello and glockenspiel, will also appear.

    At WBGO HD2 we'll stream a mix of all 92 groups at this year's Winter Jazzfest around the clock to prepare for these new sounds. (For more insights, check out the conversation between WBGO's Josh Jackson and NPR Music's Patrick Jarenwattananon on our weekly new-music magazine, The Checkout.) Here are five of the acts performing in this year's WJF marathon, and a rundown of what they plan to perform.

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  • Brian Blade And The Fellowship Band: Live At The Village Vanguard

    December 10, 2013. Posted by WBGO.

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    (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    A Brian Blade Fellowship concert feels a bit like a family reunion. Its core — drummer Blade, pianist Jon Cowherd and bassist Chris Thomas — has played together for more than 20 years, and its horn players have stayed loyal to the operation, too. Its repertoire feels rooted in a deep emotional well where sacred abuts secular and jazz meets its Southern folk cousins. Sparks always seem to fly when it gathers for an infrequent recording or string of tour dates. (It helps that it's led by one of the world's great drummers; Blade is prone to violent, furious punctuation and gentle time management alike.)

    With a new album, Landmarks, in the works, the band reunites for a week in New York. WBGO and NPR Music will broadcast and video webcast the Brian Blade Fellowship live at the Village Vanguard on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

    Set List

    • "Landmarks" (Cowherd)
    • Mercy Suite: Part 1 (Cowherd)
    • Mercy Suite: Part 2 [Grace] (Cowherd)
    • Mercy Suite: Part 3 [Mercy Wind] (Cowherd)
    • "Shenandoah" (Traditional)
    • "Farewell Bluebird" (Blade)

    Personnel

    • Brian Blade, drums
    • Melvin Butler, alto saxophone
    • Myron Walden, tenor saxophone
    • Steve Cardenas, guitar
    • Jon Cowherd, piano
    • Chris Thomas, bass
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