• The Blues of The River

    February 5, 2010. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Baaba Maal produces a music festival – The Blues of the River – every year in his hometown, Podor, a small village on the northern tip of Senegal, West Africa.  For the opportunity to meet Maal, I traveled over 10 hours by car from Dakar, and then waited an entire day for the chance to speak with him.  My interview was only 20 minutes, but it was well worth it.  My feature about his Blues of the River Festival aired on WBGO's Journal.  If you missed it, click below.   – Simon Rentner

  • Christian McBride: The Movement Revisited at Juilliard

    February 5, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

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    Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- each is a voice in the Christian McBride oratorio The Movement Revisited.  I saw the performance on February 2 with the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra with Choir, McBride on bass and leading the orch, and arranger J. D. Steele conducting the choir. They are charismatic and so are the Juilliard performers who stirred the room (full house at The Peter J. Sharp Theater). And sent me running home to track down a couple of quotes. One is from Ali -- "better to be in jail fed than to be in Vietnam dead" (1966). And the other is the phrase "by any means necessary" from Malcolm X in 1965. In The Mvt Rev, the phrase is in the context of the clearly-reasoned Malcolm X speech. Yet the way I remember the 60s, that phrase stood on its own. Christian's music shifted from gospel for Parks to Coltrane-inspired for Malcolm to funk for Ali (where CMcB's bass & the orchestra took off) to a climactic anthem with a riff for King. The young man who recited the "I Have A Dream" speech truly shone. I think he is Corey Hawkins. Someone confirm that please. J. D. Steele, the prolific vocal arranger, is out of Minnesota and a great asset. There will be two pfmnces in Michigan -- February 13 in Ann Arbor with the U of M Jazz Ensemble, Christian McBride Band and Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra under the direction of Dennis Wilson, and February 14 at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit, produced by the Detroit Jazz Festival.

  • See WBGO on NJN this Thursday

    January 25, 2010. Posted by Brandy Wood.

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    Celia Cruz painting by Erich Padilla
    Celia Cruz painting by Erich Padilla

    Erich Lugo Padilla recently exhibited his work in the WBGO Gallery, and NJN was there.  Tune in to NJN this Thursday at 7pm to see the story

    Don Francisco, Art & Report Card on Latinos in the Media
    Thursday, January 28, 2010, at 7 pm;
    Sunday, January 31 at 8 am

    Don Francisco, international star of the highly celebrated and longest running Spanish language program “Sabado Gigante” brings over 40 years of broadcasting experience to television executives and advertisers on how best to reach the Latino community. Also, get the latest report card on the major networks and their efforts to hire more Latino actors, directors, writers, cameramen and executives following the tenth anniversary of a major challenge and demand by local and national Latino organizations across the country to see more Latinos in positive roles both on and off the screen. Who do you think has done the best job of giving Latinos an opportunity to succeed on television? Is it ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or the cable networks? While you make your decision, you can witness the outstanding art work of Erich Padilla, painter of famous Jazz and Latino stars in a wonderful setting at Newark’s WBGO Jazz radio station.