• An Interview With Brian Blade

    June 17, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Brian Blade

    Drummer and composer Brian Blade brings the Fellowship Band to the Village
    Vanguard this week. We are presenting them live on WBGO and NPR Music,
    tomorrow night at 9pm. Don't miss this.

    It's never an easy interview when your guest is a quiet, introspective person.
    But Brian and I share a passion for music made intently and intensely. I
    suppose that's why I love listening to The Fellowship Band. Especially when
    they play at the Village Vanguard.

    Anyway, listen to Brian Blade talk about music. My favorite story? One night,
    just before midnight, Brian biked through the French Quarter in New Orleans.
    He absolutely had to buy a Blind Willie Johnson record before the store closed.
    So Brian gets home, plays the music, and cannot go to bed. The bare sound
    of Johnson and his guitar was haunting. One of many stories you'll find when
    you listen to the interview here.

  • WBGO Jazzy Teacher Award

    June 17, 2008


    What an exciting honor to take part in the 2nd annual Jazzy Music Teacher contest, sponsored by NJEA, The New Jersey Education Association. This year's winner, Mrs. Tamah Freni, was overjoyed to be honored for her creative efforts in bringing music to life for her students. These inspiring kids joined in a collaborative effort to submit their essays. I snapped pictures and video along the way to capture each moment of how the effort promoted the educational mission of both NJEA and WBGO.

    Also receiving honorable mention was Mr. Milt, of The Deron School in Union, NJ, for his efforts in keeping music alive for his special needs students, which received a visit from WBGO news reporter Jen Poyant, to cover the story for our news department, to be featured soon on WBGO Journal. Debbie Kirkland, storyteller, was able to help the children tell their story in an essay that capture judge's attention, along with drawings that included Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis.

    I have created a playlist of three special videos which capture the excitement of these special educators. Two are of the winning concert given by Mark Gross and his band at Union Valley Elementary in Sicklerville, NJ. I hope you enjoy the bebop dance contest as much as we did...and Mr. Milt and his class, breaking out unexpectedly in song, while Jen Poyant captures all on tape for her soon to come story. Enjoy!
    -Vickie Smith