• Pianist Kenny Werner on "Effortless Mastery": Listen Now

    April 20, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pianist Kenny Werner talks with Rhonda Hamilton about the "Effortless Mastery" institute and ensemble he leads at the Berklee College of Music. The group performs at New York's Blue Note Monday, April 20th at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Enjoy!


  • WBGO JAM Live 2015: SUNY Purchase Johnny Hartman Ensemble

    April 20, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    The SUNY Purchase Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane Ensemble performs live at WBGO for Jazz Appreciation Month, with vocalists Juno Arreglado. Click below to hear this concert, and tune in to 88.3 FM to hear this group featured on air during the third week of April. A full set list is below.

    Every week in April, WBGO-FM will showcase a different student ensemble with vocalists who performed live in our studios for Jazz Appreciation Month. All of these full sets will be available online. Enjoy!

    Click on the image below to see a slideshow from this live in-studio performance.


    SUNY Purchase Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane Ensemble

    live at WBGO

    March 16th, 2015

    1) You Are Too Beautiful (Rodgers & Hart)
    2) Autumn Serenade (DeRose)
    3) My One and Only Love (Wood & Mellin)
    4) Dedicated To You (Cahn-Chaplin-Zaret)
    5) Lush Life (Stayhorn)
    6) They Say It’s Wonderful (Berlin)

    Juno Arreglado, Voice, from Rockland County, NY
    Jaedon Alvira, Tenor Saxophone, from Brooklyn, NY
    Ben Rice, Piano, from San Francisco, CA
    Drummond Dominguez/Kincaid, Guitar, from Croton-on-Hudson, NY
    Michael Roninson, Bass, from Latham, NY
    Zach Berns, Drums, from Boulder, CO

  • WBGO's Monifa Brown: The Fearless Betty Carter

    April 17, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    I love Betty Carter.  Four simple words, straight from my heart, and undoubtedly true.

    As a musician and woman, Betty Carter embodied a spirit, strength and uncompromising vision I deeply admire.  Her take-no-prisoners-attitude demanded excellence at every turn. She was fearless.

    Betty Carter in Prague, 1986; photo by Gampe

    Betty had an unerring and unwavering commitment to present her music – her way. In an industry dominated by men, she paved her own road, staying true to her artistic vision and poured her love for this music into generations of musicians.

    She was also an entrepreneur. When the industry was not living up to her expectations, she founded her own label, Bet-Car Records, to bring her music to the people.

    Betty also gave me some of the best advice I  ever received. Anyone who knew her, knows she was never one to mince words.

    One evening, here’s what she said to this once timid teenage girl:

    “Never be afraid to do or ask for what you want.”


    These words were imparted to me at the now defunct Bottom Line, where we sat in the audience listening to Carmen McRae.  They are words that I find myself coming back to, time and time again.

    In the 90s, I got to tour with Betty as the publicist on an educational program sponsored by Harmon International. That experience and others confirmed for me her genuine desire to mentor and cultivate new talent.

    Betty “schooled” many of the baddest musicians on the jazz scene today. Betty’s bands nurtured the talents of Harold Mabern, Eric Harland, Kenny Washington, Curtis Lundy, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Winard Harper…  the list goes on.

    Need I say more?!

    Betty Carter
    Betty Carter in San Francisco, 1979; photo by Brian McMillen

    Betty’s voice is instantly recognizable. “It’s not about the melody,” she once said, and in listening to her sing a single phrase you understand why.

    Betty's otherworldly improvisatory explorations, keen sense of harmonics and remarkable ability to swoop in and sing the notes in between  notes are pure magic.

    Her rhythmic fluidity coupled by her ability to connect with her audience and create intense and theatrical drama, are unparallel.

    When Betty Carter took the stage she came to work and she made the cats in her band get down to business too!

    There will never be another Betty Carter.   Thank you for your spirit, your wisdom and courageous musical spirit!

    -Monifa Brown, host of WBGO's Saturday Afternoon Jazz

    Follow on twitter @Globaljazzqueen