• Kenya Revisited

    April 7, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    After listening to WBGO for years as a fan, I now find myself selling underwriting spots for the station as a Senior Account Executive. Not only do I have the unique opportunity to do something I enjoy for living, but working with underwriters to get their messages on air has its unexpected benefits. There are some great perks to my job. For instance, I talk to underwriters who "get it" when it comes to WBGO and the "Jazz lifestyle" on a daily basis.

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    One of these occurrences happened on April Fool's day, when my client from the Manhattan School of Music invited me to the John C. Borden Auditorium for the 50th anniversary concert celebrating Kenya, the landmark recording by Machito and his Afro-Cuban's Jazz Orchestra. Bobby Sanabria led the MSM orchestra in a recreation of the music from that incredible album.

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    The joint was jumping! It is rare to attend an event where young and old; black and white; Jews and gentile get together and get down! By the the second encore -- when Bobby put on his porkpie hat and danced around -- I felt like I was transported back to the Palladium in its heyday!

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    But the highlight of the evening occurred when NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero took the stage with the young pros of the MSM Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra. Candido performed on the original Kenya recording and will be celebrating his 87th birthday this month. It's remarkable that this was the first time Kenya was played for the public. The whole experience was incredible, a once in a lifetime event that makes me proud to be part of WBGO and the jazz community! By the way, PBS and the BBC filmed the show for a special broadcast in January and February of 2009. - Randy Moore

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