• Live Webcast: The 2016 NEA Jazz Masters Concert

    April 4, 2016. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    In a tribute concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the National Endowment for the Arts recognized its 2016 class of NEA Jazz Masters — the highest honor the U.S. gives to a jazz musician or advocate.

    Click here for Captions

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  • WBGO JAM 2016: NJ City University Tenor Conclave Combo

    April 4, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    NJ City University's Tenor Conclave Combo continues WBGO's celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month with a live performance and interview with our own Nicole Sweeney.

    Hear them and other top student ensembles featured on 88.3 FM throughout the month of April.

    Keep watching the blog for more complete JAM sessions all month long.

    jam2016 njcu

    NJCU Tenor Conclave Combo, directed by Walt Weiskopf

    1) Like Sonny (composed by John Coltrane)
    2) Moose the Mooche (composed by Charlie Parker)
    3) Resolution (composed by John Coltrane)

    Diego Ferreira - Tenor Sax
    Cristiano Ludwig - Tenor Sax
    Cesar Haas - Guitar
    Anthony Bianco - Bass
    Michael Yaw – Drums

  • Women in Jazz (and Beyond) at Cape Town Jazz Fest

    April 3, 2016. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    A close associate to this year's Cape Town International Jazz Festival says this year's concert programming had a strong focus on women in music.

    Abigail Kubeka and Dorothy Masuka
    Abigail Kubeka and Dorothy Masuka

    No one would argue that the two most "Legendary Ladies In Song" at this year's festival (as they are also co-billed), are Dorothy Masuka and Abigail Kubeka.

    Dorothy Masuka
    Dorothy Masuka

    Like South African jazz mega-stars Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim these two singers should also be commonly known among jazz appreciators in America. But that never happened. One theory, I suppose, is that neither left Africa in exile during apartheid. Thus, their artistry was never recognized internationally like their male counterparts. Nevertheless, their mark on South African music history should be noted. Masuka penned “Pata-Pata” – yes, that “Pata-Pata,” made famous by Miriam Makeba, whom she was close with.

    Abigail Kubeka
    Abigail Kubeka

    Abigail Kubeka played in some of her country’s most historic jazz ensembles – the Malombo Jazz Makers, the Elite Swingers, and the Jazz Dazzlers. Kubeka even shared the stage with Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) and Kippie Moeketsi, known as the “Charlie Parker” of South Africa. Stay tuned for our upcoming feature with both “legendary ladies” on WBGO’s The Checkout.

    Nhlanhla Nciza
    Nhlanhla Nciza

    Many of today’s South African women in music are less informed by jazz but embrace a more pro-Africa sound like Nhlanhla Nciza, the other half of Zulu-influenced pop duo Mafikizolo. Her music fits her like a glove, or, perhaps more accurately, her own clothing line: sleek, modern, and as vibrant as her rainbow nation.

    Tribute “Birdie” Mboweni
    Tribute “Birdie” Mboweni

    Singer/songwriter/songbird Tribute “Birdie” Mboweni, born near Kruger National Park, is new voice in South Africa’s soundscape. Don’t let her tiny body fool you. Her booming voice advocates for the preservation of Africa’s endangered environment. And, bird-watching is one of her hobbies.

    Lizz Wright
    Lizz Wright

    And then there were the many American female vocalists who appeared this year –- Cassandra Wilson, Angie Stone, Sheila E., and SWV. Look out for The Checkout’s ongoing coverage of this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival with our exclusive interviews with Lizz Wright, and the brilliant Meshell N’dgeocello.

    Meshell N’dgeocello
    Meshell N’dgeocello
  • A "Born-Free" Jazz Singer: Vuyo Sotashe

    April 2, 2016. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Vuyo Sotashe
    Vuyo Sotashe

    The South African born, Manhattan-based Vuyo Sotashe placed second place in last year's Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition. For our continued coverage of the 17th Cape Town International Jazz Festival this week, we speak to the jazz singer/songwriter from the Cape Flats about the complexities of being a "Born-Free," part of the generation born in South Africa after the era of apartheid. He also shares an original song written in his native Xhosa language dedicated to his mother.

  • WBGO JAM 2016: Rutgers Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble Performs Live

    April 1, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Rutgers Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble kicks off WBGO's Jazz Appreciation Month celebration. Hear their live in-studio performance and interview with Nicole Sweeney and tune in to 88.3 FM to hear them and other student ensembles featured throughout April.

    Keep watching our blog all month long for more complete JAM sessions showcasing the next generation of jazz stars.

    RU JAM2016

    Rutgers Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble, directed by Bill O’Connell

    1) Hot Jambalaya (composed by Bill O'Connell)
    2) Picadillo (composed by Tito Puente, arranged by Bill O'Connell)

    Yunior Terry Cabrera, Bass
    James Nascimento, Bass
    Dom Palombi, Drums/Percussion
    Benjamin Cureton, Drums/Percussion
    Greg Riss, Percussion
    Michael Berry, Piano
    John Donathan,Tenor Sax
    Mike Benson, Tenor Sax
    Stephen Justice, Trombone
    Anthony Fazio, Trumpet