• Wayne Horvitz: The Pianist And The Poet

    December 3, 2015

    The last time we went to Seattle, we met a piano player and bandleader named Wayne Horvitz. Among other things, he books a club called the Royal Room, teaches at Cornish College of the Arts, directs a high-school ensemble, and writes and performs many different sorts of music. Jazz and improvised music frames a lot of what he does, but as an artist, it's certainly not the only language he speaks.

    "I'm an American composer, not a jazz composer," he says. "My whole life, I've [never] thought of myself as a jazz composer. I've always been in this weird gray area where jazz musicians were the only people who don't consider me a jazz musician. Everybody else does."

    Ever since he moved westward from New York in 1988 — he's still remembered by some as the keyboardist in John Zorn's band Naked City — Horvitz has integrated himself deep into Seattle's music community. Fittingly, one of his latest projects was inspired by a Seattle-born poet named Richard Hugo, who wrote often about the American West (and the small-town bars he found therein). The songs based on the poems are collected in a new album called Some places are forever afternoon — a line taken from a poem about the working-class Seattle neighborhood of White Center.

    That music takes two of Horvitz's bands — a chamber-music group called the Gravitas Quartet and an Americana-tinged outfit called Sweeter That The Day — and melds them into a larger ensemble. Jazz Night In America recently went to the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle to catch a performance of this music, and to learn how exactly the poet triggered the pianist.


    Wayne Horvitz, piano; Ron Miles, cornet; Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon; Peggy Lee, cello; Tim Young, guitar; Keith Lowe, bass; Eric Eagle, drums.

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

  • Stafford Hunter and Johnathan Blake with Sheila Anderson

    December 3, 2015. Posted by Josh Landes.

    Philadelphians Johnathan Blake (drums) and Stafford Hunter (trombone) swing  by WBGO to talk Thanksgiving, Maria Schneider, and jazz with Sheila Anderson.


  • WBGO Celebrates Rosa Parks

    December 1, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    60 years ago today, on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Following her arrest, a 381 day bus boycott began. The boycott brought a focal point to the Civil Rights movement, and a young pastor, Marin Luther King, Jr. emerged as a national leader in the wake of the action.

    Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. - Creative Commons License
    Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. - Creative Commons License

    Rosa Parks' visit to East Orange, New Jersey school covered on WBGO Journal (1999)