• Duke's Men: Ellington's Loyal Improvisers

    April 12, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Cootie Williams of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. (Image Credit: William Gottlieb/Library of Congress via Flickr)

    Every successful big band leader featured brilliant soloists: Count Basie had Lester Young, Fletcher Henderson had Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman had Gene Krupa. But the Maestro, Duke Ellington, spotlighted his men apart from the rest.

    Ellington's soloists captured the spirit of his music. He wrote concertos, short- and long-form tunes, with his musicians in mind, allowing for their personality to shape the structure of the music. He specifically targeted his musicians' strengths — Johnny Hodges' seductiveness, Cootie Williams' bravado, Tricky Sam Nanton's humor — and accentuated those attributes. That's why musicians remained so loyal to him over the years, even at the expense of their own fame. He understood them and brought the best out of their playing. These tunes remind us why.

    Read more
  • Morning Cup of Jazz 4/12/11

    April 12, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    Clarinetist Don Byron, tonight on The Checkout

    Today at WBGO:

    - Jazz Appreciation Month is underway! Get in the spirit with WBGO's extensive programming, all month long.

    - Tonight at 6:30pm, The Checkout features the Chris Morrissey Quartet, Alan Hampton, and Don Byron.

    - At 7:30, Latino USA takes a look at the anti-immigrant backlash in the Dominican Republic since last year's Haitian earthquake.

    - We had a great time celebrating our 32nd birthday with Member Appreciation Weekend. It's never too late, of course, to become a member and support WBGO!

    Recent Jazzlinks:

    - Marcia Ball came through the WBGO studio last week, and our new production intern Alex Ariff has the scoop (welcome, Alex!)

    - Doug Doyle talks with Newark native and former NFL linebacker Al Singleton on Sportsjam

    - The Manhattan School of Music played a great set in our studios today, as well

    - Take a look at all of the other great student musicians coming into our studio this month

    - Click through to learn more about today's jazz happenings: Read more

  • Manhattan School of Music Jazz Quintet - Live At WBGO Studios

    April 11, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    DSC_0184The MSM Jazz Quintet performed this afternoon, live at WBGO studios in Newark, NJ. The ensemble is directed by Justin DiCioccio, Assistant Dean/ Chair Jazz Arts Program. The band featured [left to right] Christian Sands (piano), Ben Benack (trumpet/flugelhorn), Sam Anning (double bass), Jake Goldbas (drums) and Jay Rattman (alto saxophone, flute).

    Sands and Goldbas both hail from Conneticut while Rattman and Benack are from Pennlynvania. Anning took the largest move to study at the renowned conservatory, relocating from Perth, Western Australia. Although the band contains a spread of both graduate and undergraduate students, the blend of stellar musicianship is uniform. Stream the performance and interview below.

    Set List

    1. Jitterbug Waltz - Fats Waller - app.10 Min.

    Interview with Justin DiCioccio

    2. Hard To Tell - Sam Anning - App.11 Min.

    Interview with Jake Goldbas

    3. Prime - Jay Rattman - App. 8 Min.

    Interview with Jay Rattman

    4. Little B's Poem - Bobby Hutcherson/ Arr. Christian Sands - App. 6 Min.

    Interview with Christian Sands

    5. Steel - Benny Benack - App. 9 Min.