September 20, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.In a conversation aired on WBGO, Jessye Norman credits the study of jazz with her understanding of song interpretation. (Image Credit: Carol Friedman/Courtesy of the artist)
Jessye Norman's commanding soprano voice makes her the quintessential operatic diva for many listeners. But she frequently draws inspirations from jazz: She ranks singers like Billie Holiday, Mabel Mercer and Sarah Vaughan high on her list of influences.
"I love singing jazz," Norman says. "I don't like the idea that classical music should be over here and jazz should be someplace else. It's all wonderful, and we should be open to enjoying it all."
Early in her career, Norman says, hearing singers like Holiday taught her that interpretation is as important as a written score. In her view, this applies to opera as much as it does to improvised music.
"One has to draw upon one's own musical thoughts, and one's own musical acumen, and not to be afraid to let that come into one's work," she says. "Perhaps that comes with more experience, but perhaps it also comes with daring, and believing that you should."
Norman sat down recently with WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton to play some of her favorite jazz records, and to discuss her musical inspirations.
"We singers have a different level of responsibility from other musicians," Norman says. "We have words that we must convey; we have meanings that we must convey through these lyrics."
Jessye Norman also hosts a special performance in New York on Sept. 24 of the musical Lady Day, which stars singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, to benefit WBGO. The musical opens at Broadway's Little Shubert Theater on Oct. 3.Read more
© 2013 WBGO
September 19, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO congratulates Melissa Aldana, the 2013 winner of the Thelonious Monk Institute's International Jazz Competition. A 24-year-old tenor saxophonist from Santiago, Chile, Aldana is the first woman and first South American to win the competition in its 26-year history.
WBGO will feature Aldana's group, The Crash Trio with Pablo Menares on bass and Francisco Mela on drums, in a live broadcast and webcast from Boston at the Berklee College of Music's Cafe 939 on October 9 at 8 p.m., the first in our fall series of live concerts from Berklee.
Can't wait? Aldana visited the WBGO studios in 2008, when she was a twenty-year-old member of Berklee's Blue Note Ensemble, and performed live in our Studio B as part of our annual in-studio festival of student ensembles for Jazz Appreciation Month every April.
Click here to hear Melissa's chat on that occasion with Midday Jazz host Rhonda Hamilton, in which she describes picking up an alto saxophone at age six to accompany her father, saxophonist Marcos Aldana:
Click here to hear Melissa perform with the Blue Note ensemble:
Congratulations Melissa, and see you in Boston on October 9!
© 2013 WBGO
September 12, 2013. Posted by Rachel Cantrell.
The Dave King Trio loves a good room. Since there is none finer than the 123-seat Village Vanguard, we hope you will enjoy our live broadcast of this group from the club on Wednesday, September 11 at 8:30 p.m. Click the link to hear this concert, and review the comments of listeners during the show. Enjoy!
More than a taste of High Lonesome infuses the trio’s moody renderings of jazz standards on their 2012 debut CD I’ve Been Ringing You. The disc was recorded, with a minimum of intervention, over an afternoon in a church choir loft off Highway 7 in Hopkins, Minnesota; all three musicians hail from the North Star State.
All of this atmospheric instrospection may surprise those who know King from his day job, as the emotionally direct drummer of The Bad Plus. King’s askew, genre-defying rhythms are the Tesla coil of that trio’s paint-peeling take on jazz, which has reached the ears of a post-rock generation, earning fans along the way.
You’ll hear none of that here. The Dave King Trio comes to play jazz, and plays it with quiet assurance. It features a mellower, almost ghostly sound from the drummer, as his ride cymbal floats above Bill Carrothers’ piano intro on Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman,” or in a swinging duet with with Billy Peterson’s bass on “Some Will Say We’re In Love.”
Yet as always with King, there are surprises: he opens Gordon Jenkins’ deep-blue classic “Goodbye” with the eerie, ethereal whine of something called a “waterphone,” then settles into a soft dialogue on wire brushes with Carrothers’ piano. These three musicians inhabit the heart of the jazz tradition, yet push expectations as they move their sound through a room.
The trio’s residency at Village Vanguard runs through Sunday, September 15th. WBGO and NPR Music featured this live concert by the band, broadcast on air and as a video webcast, on Wednesday, September 11th at 8:30 p.m.
Did King bring his waterphone? Tune in to find out.
© 2013 WBGO