• Interview: Brandon Wright by WBGO volunteer Cindy Ronson

    July 8, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.


    Jazz 88 Volunteers! We want you to contribute to our WBGO Blog: Jazz and Beyond.  Below is our first entry by Cindy Ronson, whose nephew, Brandon Wright, performs tomorrow night at the Kitano Hotel.  Ronson interviews Wright about his gig featuring drummer Matt Wilson.

    Cindy: Given the economy, it's amazing how much work you have as a young jazz musician. What’s been working for you?
    Brandon: Diversification is the key factor to my survival. When I moved to New York, I made sure to stay open-minded to all kinds of music, including learning how to play in Broadway shows and weddings. I took every gig that came my way and my network expanded rapidly. By not staying in just one scene ,work opportunities became more frequent and new doors opened. Now I could play for Chuck Mangione, the Mingus Big Band,  a swing dance event, and a wedding all in the same week.  Each gig requires different skills, but mixing things up keeps the music fresh and myself employed!

    Cindy: Now that you’ve been apart of the NY jazz scene for a few years, do you think your career would have accelerated faster if you attended a school near Manhattan, say for instance, William Paterson or the Manhattan School of Music?
    Brandon: I feel that going to the University of Miami was one of the best career decisions I ever made. It gave me the chance to work on my craft and be ready for the challenges of New York later on. Once you’ve made an impression it’s difficult to change someone’s opinion of you. Miami gave me all the tools I needed to come to NYC ready to work I’m very happy with how things have turned out so far.

    Cindy: Has playing with Chuck Mangione influenced your own music?
    Brandon: Playing with Chuck Mangione has made me realize the importance of melody! For years, I’ve been working on my technique and advanced theory but without a great melody in a song, the other stuff doesn’t matter. People come to hear Chuck Mangione because they want to hear “Feels So Good” and “Chase the Clouds Away” first. The lesson is to edit myself so I’m being as melodic as possible, especially in my solos.
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  • Excuses, Excuses

    July 8, 2009. Posted by Amy Niles.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Can you imagine going to a Tony Bennett concert and hearing him blame the fact that he is a little hoarse on how the Yankees are playing and that he was at the game yesterday screaming at them? Or Kurt Elling saying that he forgot the words to his song because he was up late last night bemoaning the end of the Sopranos?

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  • Fifty years of Time Out

    July 5, 2009. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Add new comment | Filed under: FIJM 2009

    This year Dave Brubeck celebrates 50 years of his landmark album "Time Out." The octogenarian has played 10 times at the Montreal Jazz Festival, including his performance to a packed, enthusiastic house last night. Michael Bourne spoke with with Dave about the album that changed the momentem of jazz forever. Listen below: