WBGO Blog
  • Jazz At Lincoln Center Celebrates 'Big Band Holidays'

    December 18, 2015

    image
    Gregory Porter and René Marie perform with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    To ring in the holiday season, Jazz Night in America spends the hour with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as it performs highlights from its extensive holiday songbook. Recorded between 2012 and 2014, the music heard on this episode features appearances by guest vocalists Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gregory Porter and René Marie, and comes from the concerts that produced the new album Big Band Holidays.

    Jazz Night In America chats with members of the band about their original arrangements and favorite holiday moments. As a bonus, host Christian McBride talks with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about some of his favorite Christmas music, and we look back at some early blues Christmas tunes.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Christian McBride's Christmas Jazz Playlist

    December 17, 2015

    image
    Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' version of "We Three Kings" goes on Christian McBride's holiday playlist. (Image Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Brooks Brothers)

    Maybe you are one of those people who could listen to the umpteenth version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." A jazz bassist and host of Jazz Night In America, Christian McBride has a soft spot for the holiday music time forgot.

    "I'm at a point where I like to find the most obscure Christmas music I can find," McBride says. "I mean, I was hoping that Sun Ra had done a Christmas album, because I would play that in the house. I probably would get kicked out of the house, but I would play that."

    McBride recently spoke with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about some of his favorite picks, jazz and otherwise.

    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

    Read more
  • Jazz At Lincoln Center's Big Band Holidays Concert

    December 14, 2015

    image
    Vocalist Audrey Shakir will join the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for this year's holiday show. Her son, saxophonist Walter Blanding, is a long-time Orchestra member. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    When the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returns to the newly renovated Rose Theater, it'll bring one of its most popular traditions: its annual concerts of holiday music. The Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, will present new arrangements of favorite seasonal songs with guest vocalists Denzal Sinclaire and Audrey Shakir.

    NPR Music will stream a live performance of the JLCO's Big Band Holidays concert on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET.

    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • The Ladybugs Do Disney

    December 11, 2015

    image
    (Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist)

    The Ladybugs are a young band who draw on elements of hot swing, American folk music and blues. But their most salient features, the voices of dual frontwomen Martina DaSilva and Kate Davis, immediately recall an era when intricate vocal harmonies were more common in jazz. Appropriately enough, the quintet recently took on a program drawn from classic Walt Disney films at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola within Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Jazz Night in America dives into how the group developed on the New York "hot" jazz scene and what new things can be done with the Disney songbook.

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

  • The Guy Who Makes The Best Cowbells

    December 10, 2015

    In The Bronx, there's a man who builds instruments for the world's great Latin percussionists: Tito Puente, Eddie Montalvo, Giovanni Hidalgo, Bobby Sanabria. He has no signs, no storefront, no advertising of any kind, but people from around the world call him for work. After all, nothing sounds quite like one of his handmade cowbells.

    Calixto "Cali" Rivera's father was a guitar maker, and his son picked up the tradition of craftsmanship. But Cali gravitated to the drums — he's a timbale player — and made congas, bongos and other percussion instruments. These days, he specializes in high-quality cowbells of all sorts. He's in his late 70s, with only his wife for administrative support, yet he cranks out dozens a week.

    Jazz Night In America recently visited Rivera at his JCR Percussion workshop to find out how, for nearly 40 years, he's transformed strong metal into strong bells.

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