WBGO Blog
  • The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

    August 5, 2016

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    Cover art to The Great Kai and J.J., 1960. (Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist)

    The trombone virtuoso J.J. Johnson was among the first to adapt the challenge laid down by bebop saxophonists and trumpeters to his more ungainly instrument. Among the recordings he left as evidence was a series of albums partnering with fellow trombonist Kai Winding. In a concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trombonist Vincent Gardner recently took on that "Jay and Kai" repertoire, joined by sectionmate Elliot Mason, other members of the JLCO and special guests.

    Jazz Night in America hears the music of J.J. Johnson, as heard through Vincent Gardner, and pulls back the curtain on the trombone pioneer with biographer Joshua Berrett and widow Carolyn Johnson.

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Herbie Hancock On His Next Album, Flying Lotus And Jupiter's Satellite

    August 4, 2016. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Herbie Hancock premieres a new band lineup in concert Aug. 11 in Brooklyn. (Image Credit: Douglas Kirkland/Courtesy of the artist)

    The pianist, composer and music ambassador Herbie Hancock is working on new music with a new band, and he's about to present the first taste of it in live performance.

    Next Thursday, Aug. 11, Hancock brings a new lineup to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., for an outdoor concert. (He's to be joined by Terrace Martin on saxophone and keyboards, Lionel Loueke on guitar, James Genus on bass and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums.) Hancock says he expects to play some ideas that he's been working on for a new record, which he's hoping to release next year. NPR Music and WBGO will record and film the show for a later broadcast on Jazz Night In America.

    In advance of that concert, Simon Rentner, who hosts a program called The Checkout on WBGO, sat down to interview Hancock. Their conversation touched upon the connection between Flying Lotus and Miles Davis, some special guests on the forthcoming album and what he's doing with NASA. Here's an excerpted transcript of their conversation, which you can hear in full via WBGO. Rentner started by playing an excerpt of an interview with Flying Lotus.

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  • Celebrate Herbie Fest with WBGO

    July 22, 2016. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Photo by Douglas Kirkland

    Welcome to the Herbie Hancock Festival, here at WBGO.  All this week, we are celebrating the music and influence of an American icon.  On Thursday, August 11th at Prospect Park Bandshell, the pianist debuts a new project featuring Lionel Loueke (guitar), Terrace Martin (alto sax), Trevor Lawrence Jr. (drums), and James Genus (bass). This formation will be the foundation of new Herbie Hancock recording, featuring special guests phenom Jacob Collier, tabla master Zakir Hussain, pianist Robert Glasper, and more.  As we ramp up for this historic concert, we asked some of today’s hottest artists plus our own DJs – Terrace Martin, Lionel Loueke, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ron Carter, Flying Lotus, Gary Walker, Michael Bourne, and more -- to share their favorite Herbie Hancock music and stories.

    Bassist Ron Carter, as he recently discussed with WBGO's Gary Walker, famously recorded with Miles Davis’s second quintet featuring Herbie Hancock.  For the upcoming concert in Brooklyn, Carter plans to be “second in line” and says the piano master never sounded better.

    You may know Terrace Martin's not-so-modest musical achievements by way of hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar. But one might argue his true devotion is jazz.  He sports a Jackie McLean tattoo on his arm.  Hear his favorite Herbie Hancock tune. Listen to the full Terrace Martin interview on The Checkout here.

    I interviewed Lionel Loueke at the 2016 Montreal International Jazz Festival, mostly about his new recording Gaia (that segment will soon be archived online at checkoutjazz.org).  During the fun conversation, topics that range from genesis of his unique singing style to his secret love-affair with rock music, he shares his all-time favorite Herbie Hancock composition.

    WBGO's Gary Walker got the chance to interview Herbie Hancock soon after Dexter Gordon passed away.  As we search for that reel-to-reel tape here at Newark Public Radio, Gary recounts a story from that interview about Herbie Hancock's first recording Takin’ Off from Blue Note Records.

    Listen for more as Herbie Fest continues.

  • Toronzo Cannon Brings the Chicago Way to the Blues Break

    July 20, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Chicago native Toronzo Cannon joins Michael Bourne to talk about his hometown's particular approach to the blues and, with his guitar in tow, shares a few songs live in our studio.

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  • Roni Ben Hur Talks "Our Thing" With Nicole Sweeney

    July 15, 2016. Posted by Josh Landes.

    Israeli guitarist Roni Ben Hur talks with Afternoon Jazz host Nicole Sweeney about his new record, "Our Thing", and the unique cultural crossroads of his homeland on WBGO.

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