• All About That Bass, But Give The Drummer Some

    August 28, 2015

    Bassist Christian McBride syncs up with drummer Lewis Nash in 2011. (Image Credit: Simon Russell/Getty Images)

    Here's a duo that's at the foundation of music itself, but which isn't always noticed: the musical interplay between the bass and the drum.

    "You know, in any sort of music, the bass and drums should work as one instrument," Christian McBride says. "It determines whether it's funk or jazz or country or rock 'n' roll. It all depends on what rhythms are coming from the bass and the drums that make a particular music what it is."

    McBride, a celebrated bassist and host of NPR's Jazz Night In America, knows a little something about how this works. He helped break down the dynamic during his latest chat with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish.

    First up: a James Brown tune. Specifically, the hookup between bassist Bootsy Collins and drummer John "Jabo" Starks in "Talkin' Loud And Sayin' Nothing."

    At the time of the recording, Collins was an 18-year-old hotshot with all the latest pedal tricks and effects in his bag. Starks came from a more traditional blues background.

    "So it was a really great example of an old-schooler kind of having to confront the new school, and a new-schooler having to blend with the older style," McBride says. "And look what happened."

    So what does McBride look for in a drummer? He says he looks for drummers who are good listeners, who respond well to the rest of the band — sort of like a basketball point guard who inadvertently controls a game.

    "I love a drummer who is sensitive and lets the person who's soloing navigate where the song is going," he says.

    The right drummer, especially in a modern jazz context, can shape the feel of a performance to be more "flexible" or "elastic." McBride is quick to explain that this isn't the same thing as keeping time poorly.

    "But I think people can tell," he says. "They may not be able to express it in musicians' terms, but they know something's not right because their toe is not tapping. Instead, their eyebrows are raised. 'Oh, I guess this is that part of jazz that I'm supposed to understand, but don't, so therefore I'm going to say I like it so I'm cool.' "

    He pulled out an example of a bass-drums hookup that feels "right in the middle": bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, in Cannonball Adderley's version of "Straight No Chaser" (from the In San Francisco album).

    "Nobody's rushing, nobody's dragging — the time's not particularly flexible," McBride says. "It's just right in the pocket ... Sam Jones and Louis Hayes, every record they made with Cannonball Adderley, they sound like they're having fun. They sound like they're enjoying themselves. They sound like they're literally dancing."

    That sense of deep groove is important to McBride. Growing up in Philadelphia around funk, soul and R&B, he says he's "actually a funk bassist that plays jazz."

    "So I tend to play — even subconsciously, even when I'm playing jazz, even when I'm playing the most elastic or esoteric sort of music, I can somehow still feel that groove real subtle underneath," he says. "It's just my DNA — I can't help it."

    Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Happy Birthday Branford!

    August 26, 2015. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Happy Birthday to WBGO all-time favorite Branford Marsalis! The brilliant yet often unpredictable saxophonist of New Orleans royalty turns 55 today. Jazz 88 celebrates him by showcasing this compelling interview from 2009 with former Program Director and The Checkout host Josh Jackson.

    He talks about quartet his recording Metamorphosen featuring his longtime bandmates Joey Calderazzo, Eric Revis, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. He also shares a playlist of some of his favorite popular recordings from the 1970s -- songs from James Brown, Parliament, Elton John, Seals and Crofts, and an elemental dance classic from Earth, Wind and Fire.

    Brandford Marsalis

    Don’t miss Branford Marsalis on tour! He performs in Newark and New Brunswick September 25th through the 27th , as part of his “Classical Tour” backed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. These epic performances will feature the music of Ravel, Milhaud, Mussorgsky, John Williams, and more at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and State Theatre in New Brunswick.

    Upcoming Tour Dates

    NJPAC Tickets

    State Theatre Tickets

  • WBGO Member Discounts - August 2015

    August 25, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Felix Hernandez
    Felix Hernandez

    Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

    The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts will once again offer a 15 percent discount to WBGO members for selected performances during its 2015-16 season.

    The WBGO member discount can be applied to the following performances:

    Michael Feinstein: The Gershwins and Me (Sat, Oct 24 at 7:30pm)

    Black Violin (Sat, Nov 14 at 2pm)

    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Sat, Nov 21 at 8pm)

    Christmas in Vienna with The Vienna Boys Choir (Sat, Dec 12 at 8pm)

    The Colonial Nutcracker (Sun, Dec 13 at 2pm)

    Step Afrika! (Sat, Jan 23 at 2pm)

    Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s Lunar New Year Celebration (Sun, Jan 31 at 3pm)

    Moscow Festival Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet / Carmen Suite (Sat, Mar 5 at 8pm)

    The Golden Dragon Acrobats (Sun, Mar 13 at 3pm)

    The Robert Glasper Trio (Sat, Mar 19 at 8pm)

    Darlene Love in concert (Sat, Apr 2 at 8pm)

    Rhythm Revue: A Latin Soul Celebration featuring Joe Bataan and DJ Felix Hernandez (Sat, Apr 9 at 8pm)

    Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort (Sat, Apr 16 at 8pm)

    Clifford the Big Red Dog – Live! (Sun, Apr 17 at 2pm)

    Straighten Up & Fly Right: The Nat King Cole Tribute featuring Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli (Sun, May 1 at 3pm)

    WBGO members should use code WBGO15 to receive a 15% discount when purchasing tickets online or present their WBGO member card if buying tickets at the box office. For more information contact the Brooklyn Center at http://www.brooklyncenter.org or call 718-951-4500.


    Lehman Center for the Performing Arts

    Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
    Carlos Henriquez: Back in the Bronx

    Saturday, September 12, 8pm | Lehman Center for the Performing Arts

    One of the first truly bilingual musicians, equally virtuosic with the language of jazz and the Afro-Latin tradition, Carlos Henriquez – the Bronx-born, Nuyorican veteran bassist of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – is a force to be reckoned with. By age 14, Henriquez was performing with Latin jazz greats Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and Celia Cruz, and as a member of the first ever top-placing Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival and Competition jazz band, Henriquez’ roots with Jazz at Lincoln Center run deep. To kick off the new season, the Bronx native brings the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis back to the Bronx with a one-night-only performance at Lehman College, where his compositions and most notable arrangements will be front and center.

    WBGO members will receive a 25 percent discount when purchasing tickets for this performance and using code WBGO25.

    The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, New York, 10468.

    For tickets and more information.


    Do you have a business that would like to participate in WBGO's members discount program? Contact Josh Rosenfeld at jrosenfeld@wbgo.org or at 973-624-8880 ext 232.