WBGO Blog
  • Marcus & Joan Belgrave On Detroit Jazz & Motown

    July 22, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and singer Joan Belgrave talk with WBGO's Awilda Rivera about their experiences performing jazz and R&B in Detroit. They perform with a quintet at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York June 22 and 23.

    Marcus Belgrave was an original member of Ray Charles's horn section and of Motown Records' house band, and performed with Marvin Gaye, Martha & The Vandellas, and The Four Tops. Enjoy!

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  • Saxophonist Lenny Pickett: "The Prescription"

    July 22, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Saxophonist Lenny Pickett talks with WBGO's Gary Walker about The Prescription, his album with Finland's UMO Jazz Orchestra, and experiences playing with Tower Of Power and the Saturday Night Live band. Pickett performs June 22 at New York's Jazz Standard. Enjoy!

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  • Bourne's Montreal: Pink Martini Dreams

    July 22, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pink Martini is a frequent pleasure for me at the Montreal jazzfest. What they play is an elegant confection of pop songs and what used to be called “light classics,” chosen from across time and from around the world.

    I caught up with Pink Martini after their Sunday matinee performance at FIJM this year. Listen to our conversation here:

    Dressed in a scarlet gown for the concert with (what looked like, or sparkled like) a tiara, Forbes sang with her usual bounty of charms and chops.  And in umpteen languages, including Farsi.

    Photo by Marie-Claire Denis
    Photo by Marie-Claire Denis

    "Amado Mio," sung by Rita Hayworth in the movie Gilda, is almost always the opener.   "Aquarela do Brasil," with the audience dancing, is almost always the finale. And in betwixt, they played a … "variety" does not fully encompass it.   More like a variegated cornucopia.

    Like one very obscure song they discovered from a very obscure movie, a torch song originally sung by sex kitten Mamie van Doren in a - not kidding - German western.  Or a song they adapted from a theme by French modern classical composer Francis Poulenc.

    Photo by Marie-Claire Denis
    Photo by Marie-Claire Denis

    These days, Pink Martini are joined by the Von Trapps, three girls and a boy, all 20-something, all cute, and all grandchildren – not kidding - of the youngest of the singing Von Trapp siblings who inspired Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.

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    This generation of Von Trapps sing "Edelweiss" and "The Lonely Goatherd,” both from the musical inspired by their great-grandparents - the captain and the nun who fell in love and escaped the Nazis with their passel of kids - on Pink Martini’s newest album, Dream a Little Dream.

    Thomas Lauderdale played piano deftly and conducted the mini-orchestra, amused the audience in French and invited the audience to come on stage and dance.

    Photo by Marie-Claire Denis
    Photo by Marie-Claire Denis