WBGO Blog
  • WBGO JAM 2016: Berklee College of Music Rainbow All-Stars

    April 26, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    The Berklee College of Music Rainbow All-Stars are joined by their director, Tia Fuller, for a live performance and interview with Eulis Cathey, featuring their original compositions as well as their take on a jazz standard.

    Hear this group and other top student ensembles featured on 88.3 FM throughout the month of April.

    Keep watching the blog for more complete JAM sessions all month long.

    berklee jam 2016Berklee College of Music Rainbow All-Stars, Tia Fuller, Director

    1) Cascade (Tabari Lake)
    2) Decisive Steps (Tia Fuller)
    3) Pristine Mist (Michael Wooten)
    4) Juice and Candy (Arnetta Johnson)
    5) Minority (Gigi Gryce)

    Ryan Linvill,  Tenor Saxophone
    Arnetta Johnson, Trumpet
    Michael Wooten,  Piano
    Tabari Lake,  Bass
    Jongkuk Kim,  Drums
    Tia Fuller, Alto Saxophone / Director


  • WBGO JAM 2016: William Paterson University Jazz Septet

    April 25, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    William Paterson University's Jazz Septet stops in for a live session and interview as WBGO continues its Jazz Appreciation Month celebration.

    Hear this group and other top student ensembles featured on 88.3 FM throughout the month of April.

    Keep watching the blog for more complete JAM sessions all month long.

    wp jam 2016William Paterson University Jazz Septet, Bill Charlap, director

    1) Dance of the Infidels (Bud Powell, arr. Rene Rosnes)
    2) Search for Peace (McCoy Tyner)
    3) Dolphin Dance (Herbie Hancock)

    Tom Killackey, trumpet
    Danny Raycraft, alto saxophone
    Abel Mireles, tenor saxophone
    Nick Masters, piano
    Yongsun Hyun, guitar
    Connor Koch, bass
    Matt Niedbalski, drums

  • Beyond 'Mrs. Jones': Billy Paul's Music You Might Not Have Heard

    April 25, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    image
    Billy Paul, the singer of "Me and Mrs. Jones" and other soul ballads, has died. He's seen here in 2006. (Image Credit: John M. Heller/Getty Images)

    Billy Paul, the soul singer whose smooth voice and impeccable phrasing made "Me and Mrs. Jones" into a classic, has died at age 80. A Philadelphia native whose name at birth was Paul Williams, the singer had reportedly suffered from cancer.

    Paul's manager, Beverly Gay, tells NBC10 in Philadelphia that the singer died Sunday morning. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was hospitalized last week, Gay says. She says Paul died at his home in Blackwood, N.J., southeast of Philadelphia.

    A message on Paul's website confirmed his death:

    "We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife Blanche and family for their loss, as they and the world grieves the loss of another musical icon that helped pioneered today's R&B music. Billy will be truly missed."

    In 1972, Paul won a Grammy Award and topped the charts with "Me and Mrs. Jones," a plaintive ballad about an affair. Thanks in large part to his vocal range and silky delivery, the confessional song became a hit for the ages.

    Two things help explain Paul's unique vocal style: his early dreams of playing saxophone ("I took my uniqueness and treated it like a horn," he once said), and his emulation of female jazz singers such as Billie Holiday.

    "I think the reason behind that is because of my high range," he said on his website. "The male singers who had the same range I did, when I was growing up, didn't do much for me. But put on Nina Simone, Carmen McRae or Nancy Wilson, and I'd be in seventh heaven. Female vocalists just did more with their voices, and that's why I paid more attention to them."

    While he's most famous for singing about love, Paul made music that focused on many topics and drew on wide influences. Fellow Philadelphia native Questlove of The Roots has called Paul "one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution '60s civil rights music."

    That quote comes from Paul's website, which posted a video clip in which Questlove compares Paul to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

    "Nothing against those brothers," the drummer says, "but Billy Paul, in every aspect of his presentation, is really the first person to bring reality."

    Paul recorded more than a dozen albums; a list of highlight songs from those records could start with "Am I Black Enough For You" from 1972, when he sang:

    "We're gonna move on up
    Six by six; I gotta use my mind
    Instead of my fists"

    In 1976, Paul created a kind of mashup version of Paul McCartney's "Let Em In" that recast the song as a civil rights anthem, complete with samples from speeches by Malcolm X and other leaders.

    As part of the Philadelphia International All Stars, Paul sang alongside other soul legends — Lou Rawls and the O'Jays, among them — to record "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto."

    In 1979, he styled a plea for social harmony and stability into an upbeat disco number, with "Bring The Family Back."

    As a young talent, Paul studied at the West Philadelphia Music School and the Granoff School of Music. He was just 16 when he shared a bill with jazz legend Charlie Parker at a club in Philadelphia.

    "He died later that year," Paul said on his website. "I was there with him for a week and I learned what it would normally take two years to pick up. Bird told me if I kept struggling I'd go a long way, and I've never forgotten his words."

    In the 1950s, while serving in the Army in post-World War II Germany, Paul shared a post with Elvis Presley. But he said Presley wasn't interested in joining the jazz band he formed with Gary Crosby (Bing's son).

    "We were in Germany and we said we're going to start a band, so we didn't have to do any hard work in the service," he said on his website. "We tried to get Elvis to join but he wanted to be a jeep driver."

    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • WBGO Airs Two Tributes to Prince This Weekend

    April 22, 2016. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    WBGO remembers The Purple One, The Artist – Prince - with two tribute programs this weekend, Saturday on Rhythm Revue with Felix Hernandez (10AM-2PM) and Sunday on The Checkout (7-8PM).

    In describing Prince’s influence, Rhythm Revue host Hernandez said, “The impact of Prince's artistry on popular music is immeasurable. Early in his career, Prince blurred the lines between rock and R&B at a time when the divide between the genres seemed ever widening. He earned the respect and praise of musicians from every field, to say nothing of critics and the public, with sales of over one hundred million recordings to his credit. Like his genre-bending predecessors Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, David Bowie, to mention a few, Prince brought together elements of all types of music to create art that was always fresh, daring and popular, a rare accomplishment.”

    This Sunday at 7PM, The Checkout will pay tribute to Prince, by featuring a variety of jazz artists performing Prince’s music, as well as presenting an interview with Thelonious Monk Institute Award winning bassist Ben Williams. In December, Williams presented a program of new arrangements of Prince songs at Harlem Stage. Williams discovered Prince as a kid by way of the very adult film Purple Rain. On Sunday’s episode, he tells that story plus shares one of his favorite Prince compositions.

  • The Legacy Of The Benny Goodman Quartet

    April 21, 2016

    In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands. In a special stage show written by Geoffrey Ward and narrated by Wendell Pierce, a young band (Christian Sands, piano; Joel Ross, vibraphone; Sammy Miller, drums) with a rotating cast of clarinetists (Will Anderson, Peter Anderson, Patrick Bartley and Janelle Reichman) tells the whole story at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Jazz Night In America learns about the history of the Benny Goodman Quartet onstage from The Appel Room.

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