WBGO Blog
  • How To Turn A One-Man Band Into A 10-Piece Orchestra

    February 19, 2015

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    Henry Butler (left) and Steven Bernstein. (Image Credit: NPR)

    When trumpeter and composer/arranger Steven Bernstein first met the virtuoso pianist Henry Butler, he says he was floored. "This is it," he recalls thinking. "This is like the music that I always imagined. Everything you ever loved about music, all being in one place, but now it's all coming from one person." Decades later, when they two finally began to work together, Bernstein started to study Butler's playing — and realized there were more than a few licks that set Butler apart.

    Now that Butler and Bernstein co-lead a band called the Hot 9, they break down just how they built an ensemble around one man's signature style.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Elio Villafranca on "Cinque Suite": Listen Now

    February 19, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Pianist Elio Villafranca talks with Michael  Bourne about "Cinqué - Suite of the Caribbean," a new work he premieres at Jazz At Lincoln Center Feb. 20 and 21. The suite explores the legacy of rhythms from the Congo in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Enjoy!

    villafranca669

  • Christian McBride On 'A Love Supreme' And Its Descendants

    February 18, 2015

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    John Coltrane during the recording of A Love Supreme in December 1964. (Image Credit: Chuck Stewart/Courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History)

    Christian McBride remembers very well the first time he heard A Love Supreme, the John Coltrane classic that turns 50 this month. The bassist, composer and host of NPR's Jazz Night in America was in high school in Philadelphia, and had grown friendly with the staff at record store he passed on his daily commute. One day he pulled the album from the bins and asked a clerk if he should buy it — to which the clerk replied, "I'm not quite sure you're ready for this yet."

    "That made me want it more," McBride says. "I was familiar with sound of the quartet, the legendary quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums — but when I heard A Love Supreme, I got it. Not because the music was any more challenging than I had heard on records like Live at Birdland or Crescent. You could just tell that this was the quartet at its apex — that they were at a peak, and that coupled with Coltrane's spiritual discovery, music being put to that. It's a gospel album in many ways."

    Speaking with NPR's Audie Cornish, McBride invoked the names of two contemporary pianists, Eric Reed and Marcus Roberts, and explained how their work demonstrates a similar connection to gospel and reverence for music history. Hear the full conversation at the audio link.

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