WBGO Blog
  • WBGO in South Africa 2: Around Johannesburg

    March 25, 2015. Posted by Rhonda Hamilton.

    We make the most of our first full day in South Africa, visiting the sites and meeting the people of Johannesburg and Soweto.

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    Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum offers stark reminders of South Africa's racially divided past – starting at the front door.

    Visitors are randomly assigned tickets as “white” or “non-white,” then must enter through separate turnstiles, as was the practice under the now-defunct Apartheid laws.

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    The museum offers vivid and heart-wrenching details of Apartheid’s dehumanizing and violent history.   It also turns the page to the new era ushered in by Nelson Mandela in 1994. Mandela was a beloved leader and is the father of the “Rainbow Nation” we see today.

    There’s a wall where Apartheid Museum visitors are encouraged to write how they’re going to make a world a better place, in memory of Mandela.

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    WBGO's Simon Rentner asks Shirley Hatcher, a member of our group, what she wrote on the wall.  She emotionally responds that “She’s home” - and that she’ll share the museum’s lessons with her children.

    The memory of Mandela – or Madiba, as he was affectionately known - is everywhere. We visit the Soweto home he briefly shared with his wife Winnie after his release from prison in 1990. A few blocks away, there’s the home of another Nobel Peace Prize winner - Archbishop Desmond Tutu!

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    Mandela gave his first speech after his release from prison at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium.  In 2013, his memorial service was also held at this site.

    Completed in 1989, it is also known as Soccer City, and was renovated and expanded 20 years later to accommodate the World Cup.  Locals call it “The Calabash” because its shape resembles an African gourd.

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    You have to see this stadium in person to appreciate its massiveness. It’s the largest in Africa, and seats almost 100,000.

    As we drive by, one member of our group exclaims, “It’s ginormous!!!”

    Up next: the sights, sounds – and tastes – of Soweto, so stay tuned!

  • Ingrid Jensen And Steve Treseler Play Kenny Wheeler

    March 24, 2015

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    Steve Treseler and Ingrid Jensen. (Image Credit: Steve Korn/Courtesy of the artists)

    The late, distinctively melodic jazz composer Kenny Wheeler was also a great trumpet player, though, being famously self-effacing, often declined to toot his own horn about his talents. Many musicians sang his praises, though, and when he died in 2014, saxophonist Steve Treseler and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen were inspired to revisit his music. As they traded notes and arrangements, they realized they had to record these tunes which had been so influential to their growth as musicians. So Jensen, herself a Pacific Northwest native, brought herself and her top-notch rhythm section to Treseler's hometown of Seattle, Wash. to make an album — and play some of it for the public.

    Jazz Night In America flew to Seattle to capture Steve Treseler and Ingrid Jensen's tribute to Kenny Wheeler, live from the musician-owned Royal Room.

    Personnel

    Steve Treseler, tenor saxophone; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet/effects; Geoff Keezer, piano; Martin Wind, bass; Jon Wikan, drums; Katie Jacobson, voice.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • James Carter On James Moody Birthday Fest: Listen Now

    March 24, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Saxophonist James Carter talks with Michael Bourne about his performances this week in the four-day James Moody 90th Birthday Celebration to raise scholarship funds for Newark youth. Carter also performs at New York's Birdland April 14-18 with his organ trio. Enjoy!

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