WBGO Blog
  • Throwback Thursday: Five Great Jazz Tiny Desk Concerts

    April 28, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    This Saturday, April 30, marks the fifth anniversary of International Jazz Day, a celebration organized by UNESCO to celebrate jazz across the globe. To do our part, we're highlighting some of our favorite jazz musicians to play behind Bob Boilen's desk. Rising stars, young virtuosos, NEA Jazz Masters and veteran ensembles alike have played in NPR's D.C. offices. Here are five standout jazz performances at the Tiny Desk.

    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    What better place to start this list than with the birthplace of jazz? New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band plays in the traditional style of its city, a gumbo of gospel, street marching, blaring brass and so much more.

    Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

    Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah was born in New Orleans and grew up playing with his uncle, saxophonist and Mardi Gras Indian Donald Harrison, Jr. His aesthetic vision, which he calls "Stretch Music," borrows across musical styles and blurs the elements into a unified whole. His music is also dedicated to protest, as in the ferocious number "K.K.P.D." You can hear the intensity of his purpose in every note he blows.

    Sun Ra Arkestra

    One of the greatest holidays in recent memory came after inviting the jazz astronauts of the Sun Ra Arkestra to play the Tiny Desk on Halloween 2014. Led by then-91 year old alto sax player Marshall Allen, the costumed cosmic explorers played a set that pushed the boundaries of tone and color. It's pretty out of this world.

    Edmar Castañeda

    When you think of jazz, the last instrument you might think of is the harp. But Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda finds seamless ways of blending jazz melodies with Colombian folk rhythms.

    Gary Burton & Julian Lage

    Gary Burton is one of those undisputed masters on his instrument. He popularized the four mallet technique and brought an unheard harmonic approach to the vibraphone. He played with a tiny desk alumnus, guitar prodigy Julian Lage. The two spin tunes of pure beauty and dedicated an impromptu blues for Bob's Tiny Desk.

    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Ralph Peterson Keeps The Beat On WBGO

    April 27, 2016. Posted by Josh Landes.

    Descended from a long line of drummers, Ralph Peterson has kept the family business alive and well over a career that's included Art Blakey's mentorship, and worked with Terence Blanchard, and both Branford and Wynton Marsalis. Ralph talked with Gary Walker about his new record, his life in jazz, and more here on WBGO.

    RALPH


  • Papo Vazquez Talks Four Decades Of Latin Jazz

    April 27, 2016. Posted by Josh Landes.

    Papo Vazquez has written and performed music of all stripes, but his love of Latin Jazz has burned the brightest over the last forty years. He came to WBGO sit down with Gary Walker and unpack his inspirations, compositions, and motivations.

    PAPO PIC

  • Billy Childs live from the Yamaha Piano Salon

    April 27, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    childs 2Kicking off our series of exclusive live performances from the Yamaha Piano Salon is multi Grammy award winning pianist and composer Billy Childs. Childs's career includes tenures performing with Freddie Hubbard, arranging for Dianne Reeves, and composing for the Classical concert stage. This concert features his arrangements of the songs of Laura Nyro performed by a band including saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Ben Williams, drummer Billy Kilson, and singers Becca Stevens and Alicia Olatuja.

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    Michael Bourne hosts this evening of music from an oft-underrated songwriter re-imagined by master performers.

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  • WBGO JAM 2016: NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble

    April 27, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    NYU's Wayne Shorter Ensemble wraps up WBGO's series of student group sessions celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month. Hear their takes on one of the music's most influential composer's work as they are joined by their director, Dave Pietro, for an in-studio session and interview with Nicole Sweeney.

    nyu jam 2016NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble, Dave Pietro, director

    1) One By One (Wayne Shorter)
    2) Lady Day (Wayne Shorter)
    3) The Three Marias (Wayne Shorter)

    Michael Bliss, Alto Saxophone
    Dan Lipsitz, Tenor Saxophone
    Mark McIntyre, Guitar
    David Manuhutu, Piano
    Jeong Park, Bass
    Henry Vaughn, Drums
    Dave Pietro, Soprano Saxophone / Director