WBGO Blog
  • NEA Jazz Masters broadcast on WBGO tonight

    January 11, 2011. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    NEATune in to WBGO at 7:30pm Eastern Time tonight to hear the NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony & Concert.

    The NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony & Concert honors the recipients of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Award—the nation’s highest honor in this distinctly American music. The 2011 NEA Jazz Masters are Hubert Laws, David Liebman, Johnny Mandel, and the Marsalis Family—Ellis Marsalis, Jr., Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Jason Marsalis. In addition, the 2011 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy is awarded to Orrin Keepnews. The Awards Ceremony & Concert will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in a program dedicated to the honorees’ works; honorees Mr. Liebman, Mr. Laws, and the Marsalis Family will perform. The evening also will feature a special performance by Roberta Gambarini and others in honor of the Jazz Masters who have passed away in the last year: Hank Jones, Abbey Lincoln, James Moody, and Dr. Billy Taylor.

  • Winter Jazzfest 2011: You Were Great! Now Change

    January 10, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    image
    Orrin Evans plays piano and conducts his Captain Black Big Band at Sullivan Hall as part of Winter Jazzfest. (Image Credit: Patrick Jarenwattananon/NPR)

    In jazz-rich New York City, it often seems like there's a major festival going on every week. But few concerts have become as hotly anticipated as those of the city's annual Winter Jazzfest. This year, the music marathon encompassed five venues, two nights and 60 performances, and drew more than 3,000 4,000 fans.

    What started as a showcase designed for attendees of the concurrent Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference has become a massive event for New Yorkers, too. It's a worthy celebration not just for its overload of shows, most of which feature less-known ensembles or known musicians' new bands; it's also an exciting scene, with plenty of that prized young audience, not to mention plenty of musicians hanging out and watching their friends play.

    In addition to the great music and the equivalent vibe, this year's Winter Jazzfest was marked by sub-freezing temperatures at night. That set into clear relief the event's struggles with crowd control. Tickets -- an absurdly good deal at $35 for two entire nights -- sold out early, and those looking to hop from club to club often found themselves struggling to peer over standing-room-only sections, if not waiting in long lines to enter.

    These are good problems to have, of course. Among the 4,000-plus were Josh Jackson, host of WBGO's The Checkout, and Simon Rentner, another WBGO staff producer. They joined me for a recap of what we all saw, via instant message. (NPR Music's Bob Boilen, of All Songs Considered, was there on Saturday evening, and had some reflections too.)

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  • Dr. Billy Taylor remembered on WBGO

    January 7, 2011. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Starting Sunday, WBGO will have one week of specials celebrating the life and music of Dr. Billy Taylor.  With eight special broadcasts over seven days, there are many opportunities to tune in or log on to hear the late, great Billy Taylor.

    Billy Taylor by Dalibor Plavsic
    Billy Taylor by Dalibor Plavsic

    Schedule follows:

    Sunday – Jan 9 - JazzSet features Billy Taylor - 6:00pm

    Monday – Jan 10 – Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz featuring Billy Taylor– 8:00pm

    Tuesday – Jan 11- Jazz Profiles spotlights Billy Taylor – noon - Wednesday –

    Wednesday - Jan 12 – Billy Taylor Jazz at the Kennedy Center – Joe Lovano – 9:00am

    Wednesday – Jan 12 - JazzSet features Billy Taylor - 6:30pm

    Thursday – Jan 13 – Billy Taylor Jazz at the Kennedy Center – Nancy Wilson– 2:00pm

    Friday – Jan 14 - Gary Walker with Billy Taylor at the piano – 9:00am

    Saturday – Jan 15 – JazzSet - Billy Taylor 80th Birthday Tribute Concert – 3:00pm