WBGO Blog
  • In 'Latin American Songbook,' Edward Simon Rethinks The American Jazz Standard

    September 20, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

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    In his new album, Latin American Songbook, jazz pianist Edward Simon offers a new take on some of his favorite Latin standards. (Image Credit: Scott Chernis/Courtesy of the artist)

    Many jazz pianists play tunes from the Great American Songbook, that beloved canon of standards from the early 20th century. But pianist Edward Simon has chosen to focus on another great collection of American standards for his newest album, Latin American Songbook.

    Growing up in Venezuela, near the northern edge of South America, was an advantage for Simon. His early listening encompassed music from the north — Cuba and Puerto Rico — and also extended southward to the music of Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

    When Simon set out to record Latin American Songbook, he realized that the collection couldn't possibly represent every country in the region — that was too vast a scope. Instead, he settled on Latin American songs that he simply loves to play.

    Besides growing up in the geographic center of Latin America, Simon came up in a musical household. The song "Volver" is a famous tango that his father sang as a bolero — so it's something of a family tradition for Simon to bring his own character to the song. His use of mixed meter gives "Volver" the mood of memory — the unreliability only adds to its loveliness.

    Simon wisely chooses standards that lend themselves to fresh harmonies and inventive arrangements. Even more essentially, without a singer on hand, he knows when to bring an extravagant lyricism to his piano lines, as in "Alfonsina Y El Mar."

    The combination of Latin standards and a jazz sensibility is always rich, but this recording really works because an expert musician applies himself so sincerely to songs that were formative for him. Simon puts his head and heart into Latin American Songbook, and the album gives Latin standards a rightful and joyful place at the center of instrumental jazz.

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

  • Cyrus Chestnut Trio Live at Yamaha Piano Salon

    September 20, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Michael Bourne hosts the Cyrus Chestnut Trio for a live session and interview at the Yamaha Piano Salon. Featuring drummer Victor Lewis and bassist Buster Williams.

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  • Robert Glasper Talks 'ArtScience,' The Latest From His Adventurous Jazz Crew

    September 10, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

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    Robert Glasper's latest album with his group, The Robert Glasper Experiement, is called ArtScience. (Image Credit: Mathieu Bitton/Courtesy of the artist)

    Robert Glasper is always making music. Solo or with his quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, he's released 9 albums and collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Kendrick Lamar, investigating the sounds and rhythms of jazz and hip-hop in equal measure,

    The Robert Glasper Experiment includes Casey Benjamin on sax, Derrick Hodge on bass, and Mark Colenburg on drums — with occasional cameos on record from Glasper's young song Riley. Their new album is ArtScience, out next week, and Glasper joined NPR's Scott Simon to talk about it. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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

  • Vote Jazz 2016!

    September 6, 2016. Posted by .

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  • Full Concerts on Demand - it's WBGO's Labor Day Jazz Festival

    September 5, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    CPJF20160827-170Photo: Jack Vartoogian

    WBGO's Labor Day Jazz Festival gives you a front row seat to live performances from New York City's Summerstage 2016. Tune in from 4 to 8pm as we take you around the boroughs to hear live performances from Dianne Reeves, Randy Weston, Terence Blanchard, Jazzmeia Horn, and Allan Harris.

    Plus you can listen to the full concerts on demand right here on WBGO.org.

    Terence Blanchard and E-Collective

    Jazzmeia Horn

    Randy Weston

    Allan Harris

    WBGO's Labor Day Jazz Festival is produced in partnership with City Parks Foundation. Recordings mixed and engineered by David Tallacksen.

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