• Members Night with Rhonda and Dianne

    December 23, 2008. Posted by Grey Johnson.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Members

    Rhonda Hamilton and Dianne ReevesLast Friday NJPAC was surrounded by snow, but inside the Victoria Theatre there was an awful lot of warmth. It was a Members Night and about 100 WBGO Members turned out in the bad weather to hear, see and feel what happens when McCoy Tyner and his trio, and then Dianne Reeves with a quartet, take over the stage. McCoy still plays with commanding strength and seemed on top of his game, but the night clearly belonged to Dianne.  She sang a little Brazilian, a nice grouping from her most recent CD and threw in some holiday classics, but always it is the warmth of her heart and the clarity of her emotional take on each lyric, each song that is so winning. Even trite Christmas songs you have heard so many times before, hit their mark. She can tell a good story too, sometimes around the edges of a song, sometimes right through the middle. You can tell how generous and gracious she is in her performances, so it was no surprise (but a nice one nonetheless) that she took the time to say hello to WBGO Members at the dessert reception at Theatre Square Grill after the show. Midday Jazz host Rhonda Hamilton introduced her to the members and then both Dianne and Rhonda spent time connecting with "these special people."  Together they made the point that the work that WBGO Members do to keep the station alive and thriving is crucial. Sure, we knew that. But it is nice to hear it from such beautiful hearts.  Go here if you would like to see photos of the reception.

  • The New Jazz Composers Octet Live at J & R Music World

    December 23, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    David Weiss
    The New Jazz Composers Octet performed a rousing set, live on our airwaves at J & R Music World in lower Manhattan on Saturday, December 20th.  WBGO's Monifa Brown interviewed the leaders of the band during the broadcast: trumpeter David Weiss (first composer in-command) and pianist Xavier Davis (recipient of Chamber Music America Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project).  They are a modest duo.  Listening to their quiet insights into their craft is a poor way to measure the power that bursts off their lead sheets through their instruments.  An Octet is a particularly opulent setting for a contemporary jazz composer.  It's difficult to keep a band like that on the road.  And when its manned with talents Craig Handy, Jimmy Greene, and Nasheet Waits, Weiss should have a lot to boast about. However, his soft-spoken nature reflects a great irony that confronts many of our great artists today.  The common dilemma of being under-appreciated as a modern composer seems to suit his temperament.  Weiss would rather have the music do the talking.  Once the set was finished, nothing was left unspoken.  Now that's music. - Simon Rentner

    Listen to the full concert and interview:

    Click here and check out their brilliant new CD The Turning Gate.