• WBGO News Team Wins 9 Radio News Awards

    June 30, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    “A good story is a good story. It’s our job to tell them.” – Doug Doyle

    Doug Doyle has been telling stories as the WBGO News Director for seventeen years. With nine new awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), it seems like he’s found a way to tell them right.

    WBGO News Director Doug Doyle, PRNDI emcee and Planet Money host Robert Smith, and former WBGO Assistant News Director Andrew Meyer

    Under Doyle’s leadership, the WBGO news team was celebrated by PRNDI at its June 2015 conference in categories from sports to arts and commentary to continuing news coverage.

    Doyle is particularly proud that everyone from full-time staffers to interns are recognized by the awards. “Everyone here contributes to shared knowledge,” he says. Doyle gets input from the entire staff to keep WBGO News topical, diverse and thorough. “Reporters help select stories they want to cover. If all of our news came from this fifty-three year old’s mind, it would be too narrow to be news.”

    "When you work as a team, you can do some great things" - Doyle

    This year’s round of national awards confirms WBGO’s mastery of local news. Corporate stations may have whittled down their coverage of local issues, but Doyle continues to tap into his genuine interest in people to fuel WBGO’s reputation for great coverage of the most pressing stories in Newark and Essex County. “When I walk down Broad Street, I almost always end up having a conversation with someone. My daughter yells at me because I take too much time talking with everyone from grocery clerks to passersby on the street. I can’t help it. I’m curious. I want to know who people are and what got them to this point.”

    One top example of a staff-driven lean for a story came from intern Maxine Macias’ coverage of LBGTQ issues in Newark from the 1960s to today – a story from the WBGO Journal that garnered one of the nine awards.

    WBGO was also recognized for Phil Gregory and Doyle’s coverage of “Bridgegate,” and Alexandra Hill’s coverage of the controversial One Newark Plan.

    Doyle will continue to seek out stories that are thought provoking for listeners – a quality that’s getting harder to find in the privately-owned mediascape. “Commerical stations cover things that shock. WBGO covers those stories if there is news behind it – but also stories that make us think, cry or smile. And especially stories that connect to jazz, rhythm and blues, of course!”

    -Josh Landes


    June 30, 2015. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM, FIJM 2015

    11AM...Festival day begins with the presentation of the FIJM audiovisual archives, including 2660 videos from 30 years of concerts, interviews, and much more from the festival,  to the Biblioteque et archive nationales de Quebec...a.k.a. the BAnQ.  Includes the performance of the first featured artist in 1980, Ray Charles.  Also the first filmed concerts of Diana Krall, Pat Metheny, and the Marsalis Brothers.  Festival legends Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Dave Brubeck.  Montreal jazz icons Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, and Vic Vogel.  Not only is the collection a history of this wonderful jazzfest, it's also a wonderful history of this musical art.

    NOON ... overcast -- but blue sky is breaking through!  And down below the window, the musical day begins with the Jazzfest des Jeunes (Jazzfest of Kids).   Today's "jeunes" come from the high school of Neufchatel, Quebec.   It's a jazz big band but they play plenty of R&B.  "Pick Up the Pieces" picks me up.

    1PM ... drizzle -- and the break of blue sky is swallowed by grey clouds ... umbrellas below, but a New Orleans marching band band plays on.

    2PM ... drizzle done, clouds turning white, sun shining through ... time for a pizza.

    I am a creature of ritual, especially in Montreal.  One of my first (and favorite) rituals for several years has been to immediately have a pizza with Vincent Lefebvre, FIJM wrangler of the international media and a good friend.  We always have gone to one of my favorite pizza joints in the world, each somewhat different, all called Pizzedelic.  They used to have four around town, but the one on St. Laurent and the one on St. Denis closed last year, and now the one across from the Notre Dame basilica, the one where the WBGO trippers have gone with me, the one Vincent and I considered our Pizzedelic is gone!  Only open now is the one farthest away from the jazzfest, the one on Montroyal Est -- and we couldn't get there when I got here!

    Michael's enjoys Pizzadelic/credit: Michael Bourne
    Michael enjoys Pizzadelic/credit: Michael Bourne

    After four days without, at last I taxi'd there and was happier than all the little kids at tables around me coloring cartoons on the menu.   Years ago, when I first discovered the Pizzedelic up the hill from the jazzfest on St. Laurent, they didn't have a menu.  Menu items were printed on several strips of plastic, including one with all the stuff you can have on your pizza.  Back then, you could get a pizza with snails!  Since then, they've offered a variety of mixed and matched toppings, not including snails anymore.  You can get a square and thin pie crust now that's gluten-free.  I care only that I can get just the right gathering of toppings.  I sometimes start with a basic pepperoni Americain, or maybe chevre et noix (goat cheese and walnuts).  I opted as my first pizza of 2015 to start with black olives, mozzarella and feta cheese, plus my favorite extra, saucisson Calabrese, a wide-sliced spicy salami.  I added also even spicier chorizo and artichokes.   All the better with a pint of red ale, Boreale rousse.

    Not to forget, music also was happening at Festival international de JAZZ de Montreal.

    5PM: judging at the "Casino" -- a trombone/bass/drums trio.

    Michael Bourne, in floral, at the judging table/credit: Victor Diaz Lamich
    Michael Bourne, in floral, at the judging table/credit: Victor Diaz Lamich

    5:30: a group called Swing Connection, kids  that teach swing dancing with a band every week, dancing in the street again to Pops and Basie's "Every Tub."

    6PM: guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel at the Gesu with a quartet: Aaron Parks on piano, Eric Revis on bass, Allan Mednard on drums.  They played some of the most pure and powerful melodies I've heard.  Not so much the usual song forms, Rosenwinkel's melodies sound romantic but often with a rock intensity, melodies that I scribbled in the dark "rush like a river."  Rosenwinkel creates that much more of a unique sound scatting his voice electronically with his strings ringing.  "Samba" by Rosenwinkel blew the roof off.  "Ballade" by Parks was exquisite.   Rosenwinkel is playing one of this year's FIJM "Invitation" series of concerts, tomorrow playing solo.

    7:30: folks bouncing to a klezmer band in the beer tent, folks cheering with a circus band in the street.

    Music in the streets/credit: Benoit Rousseau
    Music in the streets/credit: Benoit Rousseau

    8PM: John Scofield and Joe Lovano at the Maisoneuve, reunited after more than a decade.  Larry Grenadier on bass.  Bill Stewart on drums.  I've always heard the DNA of Ornette Coleman when Sco and Joe have played together, and I could hear it right away as they came out ramblin' -- Joe's "Cymbalism" indeed reminds me of Ornette's "Ramblin'."  Joe's sound on the tenor sax is always big and soulful.  So is his presence on the stage.  When he solos, he dances.  John's sound on the guitar is uniquely lyrical.  In each note that he plays, you can hear the very steel of his strings singing.  They played Joe's tribute to Ornette and tunes they've recorded on an album that comes out in October,  called "Past and Present."  They climaxed with Bill Stewart exploding (felt like rhythmic shrapnel) on Sco's barndance-on-acid romper "Chap Dance."  They encored with the blues.

    10PM:  I missed another master of the guitar, Bill Frisell.  Always so much happening in Montreal.  Often all at once at FIJM.  Sorry to have missed saxophonist Jane Bunnett with the Cuban singers called Maqueque.  Alex Pangman, called in the jazzfest program "the darling of Canadian swing, " was s(w)inging on the big RTA free stage.  I heard only "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise."

    credit: Denis Alix
    Heads of State/credit: Denis Alix

    10:30:  Heads of State at the Gesu, masters all.  Gary Bartz on soprano & alto sax.  Larry Willis, piano.  Buster Williams, bass.  Al Foster, drums.  Bartz, playing by himself, opened with a quietly enthralling "I Wish I Knew."   Bartz, as a charming MC, was delighted that the Montreal audience is so enthusiastic.   "I feel like we're in church," he said -- which the Gesu (French for Jesus) indeed is.   They played McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance" and (title track on the new album, added just today at wbgo.org/radar) "Search For Peace,"  John Coltrane's "Impressions," Bartz's "Uncle Bubba," and one of Buster's hip re-arrangements of a standard, Cole Porter's "All of You."  These cats know how.

  • Montreal Jazzfest 2015, Day 3

    June 29, 2015. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM, FIJM 2015

    RAIN ...

    credit: Frederique Menard-Aubin


    credit: Victor Diaz Lamich
    credit: Victor Diaz Lamich


    credit: Victor Diaz Lamich

    Most of the outdoor concerts were cancelled. Only groups on stages with canopies were playing. Only festgoers huddled under umbrellas were listening. But the music kept them smiling.

    credit: Frederique Menard-Aubin
    credit: Frederique Menard-Aubin