September 22, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.
WBGO says farewell to our dear friend Margarett Cooper, who passed away Friday at age 99. Margarett was a true member of the WBGO family, and lived so many things the rest of us can only read about. As we remember her, we'd like to share audio from the unforgettable hour she spent with us on the air in 2010. Farewell Margarett, we will miss you!
Margarett Cooper hosted an hour with me in the spring of 2010, a gift from WBGO supporter Gordon Davis. 96, she was, at the time. Everyone kept mentioning her age, but her spirit belied her age.
I especially enjoyed hearing stories about her hearing performances of Art Tatum and the other jazz greats she wanted to play as a guest DJ. She said she was nervous, but her hour was sweet and swinging -- like Margarett Cooper herself.
She was planning her next host-an-hour when she passed away. one month shy of her hundredth birthday. For us, she is ageless.
- Michael Bourne
© 2013 WBGO
September 20, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.In a conversation aired on WBGO, Jessye Norman credits the study of jazz with her understanding of song interpretation. (Image Credit: Carol Friedman/Courtesy of the artist)
Jessye Norman's commanding soprano voice makes her the quintessential operatic diva for many listeners. But she frequently draws inspirations from jazz: She ranks singers like Billie Holiday, Mabel Mercer and Sarah Vaughan high on her list of influences.
"I love singing jazz," Norman says. "I don't like the idea that classical music should be over here and jazz should be someplace else. It's all wonderful, and we should be open to enjoying it all."
Early in her career, Norman says, hearing singers like Holiday taught her that interpretation is as important as a written score. In her view, this applies to opera as much as it does to improvised music.
"One has to draw upon one's own musical thoughts, and one's own musical acumen, and not to be afraid to let that come into one's work," she says. "Perhaps that comes with more experience, but perhaps it also comes with daring, and believing that you should."
Norman sat down recently with WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton to play some of her favorite jazz records, and to discuss her musical inspirations.
"We singers have a different level of responsibility from other musicians," Norman says. "We have words that we must convey; we have meanings that we must convey through these lyrics."
Jessye Norman also hosts a special performance in New York on Sept. 24 of the musical Lady Day, which stars singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, to benefit WBGO. The musical opens at Broadway's Little Shubert Theater on Oct. 3.Read more
© 2013 WBGO
September 19, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO congratulates Melissa Aldana, the 2013 winner of the Thelonious Monk Institute's International Jazz Competition. A 24-year-old tenor saxophonist from Santiago, Chile, Aldana is the first woman and first South American to win the competition in its 26-year history.
WBGO will feature Aldana's group, The Crash Trio with Pablo Menares on bass and Francisco Mela on drums, in a live broadcast and webcast from Boston at the Berklee College of Music's Cafe 939 on October 9 at 8 p.m., the first in our fall series of live concerts from Berklee.
Can't wait? Aldana visited the WBGO studios in 2008, when she was a twenty-year-old member of Berklee's Blue Note Ensemble, and performed live in our Studio B as part of our annual in-studio festival of student ensembles for Jazz Appreciation Month every April.
Click here to hear Melissa's chat on that occasion with Midday Jazz host Rhonda Hamilton, in which she describes picking up an alto saxophone at age six to accompany her father, saxophonist Marcos Aldana:
Click here to hear Melissa perform with the Blue Note ensemble:
Congratulations Melissa, and see you in Boston on October 9!
© 2013 WBGO