WBGO Blog
  • Farewell to NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews

    March 2, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO says farewell to NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews, who passed away at 91 on March 1.

    The producer's Riverside Records, which he co-founded in 1953, was home to memorable sessions by pianist Thelonious Monk, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and many others.

    Keepnews and former Columbia classmate Bill Grauer worked together at Record Changer magazine, then launched Riverside on a shoestring in 1953. At first, they focused on reissues of traditional jazz and blues, but quickly gained interest in modern jazz, signing pianists Randy Weston in 1954 and Thelonious Monk in 1955.

    While Keepnews famously insisted a record producer was really a catalyst, rather than a creator, his thoughtful approach quickly earned respect from many of the era's most innovative music makers.

    In appreciation, Pianist Bill Evans composed "Re: A Person I Knew" - an anagram of Keepnews' name - and recorded it for Riverside in 1962:

    In 2011, Keepnews was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. The nation's highest honor for jazz musician, he is one of only a handful of non-musicians - along with fellow writers Nat Hentoff and Dan Morgenstern - to receive the honor for their advocacy.

    More about Keepnews' storied career, including links to interviews, can be found at his NEA Jazz Masters profile page and in his New York Times obituary by Nate Chinen.

    Thank you, Orrin!

  • Delfeayo Marsalis on AMNH Premiere: Listen Now

    February 27, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Trombonist and NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis talks with Glenn Crespo about "From The African Village To The Urban Village," a work he debuts Sat., Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. at New York's American Museum of Natural History, and his new album, "The Last Southern Gentleman."

    The concert, with youth performers from Harlem and New Orleans, is part of the museum's "Here We Stand: Honor Black History" series. Enjoy!

    delfeayomarsalis669

  • Introducing Marcus Roberts And The Modern Jazz Generation

    February 26, 2015

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    Marcus Roberts. (Image Credit: NPR)

    Regular visitors to Jazz at Lincoln Center know Marcus Roberts the pianist — as a former member of Wynton Marsalis' bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Orchestra, he still returns often with his own groups. But since leaving Marsalis, he's also become a mentor to many younger musicians, both on the bandstand and in the classroom. His new 11-piece ensemble the Modern Jazz Generation combines his trio with many of his younger protégés, looping the feedback full circle.

    Jazz Night In America visits Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola inside Jazz at Lincoln Center to hear original music by Roberts, plus his arrangements of Jelly Roll Morton, Chick Corea and Horace Silver. Along the way, he and his bandmates tell us how the band formed in his Florida State University office, and explore what it means to teach jazz through mentorship.

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