• Terrance McKnight On Finding His Musical Language

    May 10, 2016. Posted by Josh Landes.

    WQXR host Terrance McKnight joins Sheila Anderson's Salon Sessions for a discussion of Hazel Scott, growing up in Cleveland, and why his experience with public radio began with him screaming at it.

    terrance for WBGO

  • Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: 50 Years Of Mondays

    May 5, 2016

    In 1965, the trumpeter, composer and arranger Thad Jones and the drummer Mel Lewis found themselves with a book of big-band music originally intended for the Count Basie Orchestra — and nobody to perform it. So they made their own. They handpicked some of New York's top talent and called rehearsals on Monday nights, when the studio musicians could actually make it. And by the time they debuted on a Monday in February 1966 at the famed Village Vanguard, they were already a force to be reckoned with — soon to become the most influential big band of the last 50 years. The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, still plays every Monday night.

    Jazz Night In America heads to the basement jazz shrine to see the band's 50th anniversary show in February 2016, full of cuts from the original Thad Jones songbook. Our radio program tells the story of how the band came to be.


    Mat Jodrell, trumpet; Jon Owens, trumpet; Terell Stafford, trumpet; Scott Wendholt, trumpet; Luis Bonilla, trombone; Jason Jackson, trombone; John Mosca, trombone; Douglas Purviance, bass trombone; Dick Oatts, alto sax/winds; Billy Drewes, alto sax/soprano sax/winds; Rich Perry, tenor sax/winds; Ralph Lalama, tenor sax/winds; Gary Smulyan, baritone sax; Michael Weiss, piano; David Wong, bass; John Riley, drums with Jerry Dodgion, alto sax.

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • International Jazz Day at the White House

    May 3, 2016. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Saturday, April 30, International Jazz Day brought the music home to the US to celebrate at the White House in Washington, DC. It was a full day of celebrations, with on site interviews by Jazz Night in America host, Christian McBride, workshops, panel discussions, film screenings, and a star-studded concert both inside the White House and on the lawn.


  • Songs We Love: Bill Evans Trio, 'You're Gonna Hear From Me [Alternate Take]'

    April 30, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    The Bill Evans Trio (Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette and Bill Evans) in 1968. (Image Credit: Giuseppe Pino/Courtesy of Resonance Records)

    Today is International Jazz Day, which you can celebrate with five great jazz performances at the Tiny Desk and a list from Christian McBride — plus a newly unearthed studio recording by a short-lived version of the Bill Evans Trio.

    There are two basic structures that inform the majority of performances by the Bill Evans Trio. The first kind are simple vehicles for Evans to build and flesh out his ideas — pretty standard fare for any jazz ensemble. The second kind, the kind that Evans' fame as one of jazz's greatest improvisers and bandleaders is built on, are less like vehicles and more like conversations. This take on "You're Gonna Hear From Me," a hit for crooner Andy Williams in 1966, is an example of just how fervent the trio's conversations could be.

    The Bill Evans Trio went through countless lineup changes over Evans' 23 years as a bandleader. This particular configuration, featuring Evans' longtime collaborator Eddie Gomez and future fusion titan Jack DeJohnette, is probably the least known. Though Gomez joined Evans in the fall of 1966 and would stay with him for 11 years, DeJohnette's tenure lasted only a few short months. What they did in that time was previously only documented on the Bill Evans At The Montreux Jazz Festival LP. Recorded during that same period in 1968, Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest is a new two-disc set that captures this trio's potency in its only studio appearance.

    At times the performance can feel quite spontaneous, as if the musicians came up with every single note on the spot. There's a great deal of truth in that, according to the trio's bassist, Eddie Gomez. "We didn't have too much set-up," Gomez tells NPR. "We were kind of just playing through them. I mean, we hadn't played a lot of these tunes ... we hadn't formulated a real pattern as to how to go about it — who would play first, etc. — so all of it was pretty much off the top of our heads. Which was good, and it made it kind of all the more fun, because we were improvising, totally improvising."

    It feels appropriate that the alternate take of "You're Gonna Hear From Me" closes out disc two, considering the first of the disc's 10 tracks is the "primary" take. What's captured between the opening of the primary take and the closing notes of the alternate is the range that this configuration had as it evolved as a unit in the studio. You hear the results of the players continuing to listen to each other. You hear them grow into each other's grooves and begin to communicate on a level that is closer to pure instinct than simple, shared language. Each man puts forth the same level of intensity and musicality with every note, every stroke, to the point where three distinct improvisations merge into a unified whole. It's the sound of true equals.

    Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest is out now on Resonance.

    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid

    April 28, 2016

    Carlos Henriquez in The Bronx. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Carlos Henriquez spends a lot of time these days in midtown Manhattan as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's bassist — a post he's held since he was a teen. But his roots are uptown in the Bronx. In The Bronx Pyramid, his debut album released last year by JALC's Blue Engine Records, Henriquez acknowledges the neighborhood where he was born and raised. In songs like "Joshua's Dream" and "Brook Ave," the young Nuyorican composer brings together Afro-Latin traditions and his jazz pedigree to pay tribute to the family and community that raised him.

    Jazz Night In America takes in a performance led by Carlos Henriquez at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, inside Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.