April 30, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
International Jazz Day kicks off WBGO's monthlong celebration of global jazz, and you can join the celebration by watching video from UNESCO’s April 30 concert in Istanbul, Turkey and listening to earwitness reports from Istanbul by WBGO producer Josh Jackson.
Jazz is increasingly embraced and played around the world. Last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) partnered with the Thelonious Monk Institute to celebrate the contributions of jazz to world culture, staging concerts in Paris, New Orleans and at the United Nations in New York.
This year's UNESCO concert in Istanbul featured more than 40 musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, George Duke, Esperanza Spalding, Pedrito Martinez and dozens of others.
WBGO's celebration of global jazz continues on The Checkout, which airs Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., showcases new music from this year's Jazzahead! festival in Bremen, Germany on May 7 and 14, and from South Africa on the 21st and 28th. We also have special reports on South Africa on The WBGO Journal by producer Simon Rentner, who just returned from the Cape Town Jazz Festival.
And WBGO's brand-new Travel & Events series offers behind-the-scenes tours to the Montreal Jazz Festival in June, and to Perugia and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy in July.
Happy International Jazz Day - and join us every day to celebrate this music we love, in every part of the globe - at WBGO!
© 2013 WBGO
April 26, 2013. Posted by Simon Rentner.
I just returned from the 14th annual The Cape Town International Jazz Festival -- the largest music festival of its kind on the continent. Find out why the organizers call it "Africa's grandest gathering" on our weekly news show, The WBGO Journal.
Later this month, WBGO will feature a variety of my special reports from South Africa, including this piece on NPRMusic's A Blog Supreme,where I showcased five jazz artists at this year's festival, including South African pianist Ebrahim Kalil Shihab.
Coming up on the next edition of The WBGO Journal, I tell the story of the Maboneng Precinct, which means "place of light" in Sotho. This rapidly developing neighborhood is being built by one optimist developer and a team of young entrepreneurs and artists in the heart of Johannesburg. Learn about these "Freedom Children" on May 3rd at 7:30p.m.
Finally, the May 21 and 28 editions of WBGO's The Checkout, a weekly new music magazine, will feature two hours of special programming dedicated to South Africa's swing scene and the Cape Town Jazz Festival. Mark your calendars!
© 2013 WBGO
April 26, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.Turkish-German vocalist Esra Dalfidan sings in several languages with her band FIDAN. (Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist)
Bremen may be best known for its love of soccer and Beck's beer, but every April, its Jazzahead! festival turns the German port town into a capital city of jazz for a weekend
What began as a small trade fair and showcase for German jazz nine years ago has grown into a four-day festival with more than 80 concerts and 600 exhibits, attracting 20,000 jazz fans and professionals. What sets Jazzahead! apart from other festivals — and makes it a magnet for young performers and industry insiders — is its focus on artist development. Organizers host matchmaking sessions that pair musicians with bookers, agents and the media.
"Everybody who comes gets that positive energy, because they meet, network and make plans about how to improve the situation for jazz together," says Peter Schulze, the festival's artistic director.
Jazzahead! has a European focus, but more and more visitors come from around the world. Many artists premiere new projects — and come from as far away as Finland, Albania and Brazil. A dozen acts are coming from the festival's partner country this year, Israel.
Since many of these artists aren't well-known in the U.S., I've been exploring the Jazzahead! roster at the jazz bee, WBGO's HD2 stream for emerging artists. WBGO is hosting an around-the-clock showcase of recordings by groups at this year's festival, and will broadcast concert highlights on producer Josh Jackson's weekly music magazine, The Checkout, on May 7 and 14. Here's a sneak peek at five acts which surprised me, and may surprise you.Read more
© 2013 WBGO