The Checkout

Saturday, 12am - 1am

Hosted by Simon Rentner

Music and interviews featuring cutting edge artists from around the world. Including "Check This Out", which showcases new releases of jazz and related music.

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Click here for full show archives

Nathan West

 

Earlier this year guitarist Julian Lage released Modern Lore, the second album to feature his trio with Scott Colley on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums. The group appears at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Nov. 29.

Lage, a former child prodigy, recently brought the trio to WBGO to play some of the tunes from Modern Lore, and talk about the mentors who have shaped his experience in music: guitar maestro Jim Hall, whom he met at age 11 and later toured with; vibraphonist Gary Burton, who brought him on tour as a teenager; and composer and saxophonist John Zorn, who has been a more recent collaborative influence.

Benoit Rousseau

While the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements have shaped the debate in the United States, our neighbor, Canada, is going through its own cultural awakening and moment of reckoning. Rising stars like Jeremy Dutcher are giving its mistreated indigenous population a voice through music.

 


WBGO

For years, Justin Brown has been a drummer in high demand, constantly on the road with the likes of Thundercat and Ambrose Akinmusire. At the same time, he’s been carefully writing his own compositions, and plotting his debut as a bandleader.

He released his debut album, NYEUSI, in June — and heralded its arrival with a show jointly presented by WBGO and Revive Music.


Bruno Bollaert

All too often, great jazz talent overseas goes underappreciated in the United States. The Checkout spotlights two such figures: guitarist Philip Catherine, a legendary guitarist who once collaborated with Chet Baker and Dexter Gordon; and pianist Fulco Ottervanger, an exciting up-and-comer now making waves. I spoke with both artists onstage at Jazz Middelheim, a summer festival in Antwerp, Belgium.


Yvonne Schmedemann

Mark de Clive-Lowe is a grand pianist and jazz technologist who fuses acoustic and electric sounds. Along with his keyboards and live electronics, his band on tour features Teodross Avery on saxophones, Corbin Jones on bass, and Gene Coye on drums.

Bruno Bollaert

Kamasi Washington’s Heaven and Earth Tour reached New York City on Tuesday, with a stop at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center opening for Florence and the Machine. Over the summer we spoke with the Herculean saxophonist about some of his most important early music influences — from Art Blakey to Busta Rhymes to Stravinksy — during an onstage conversation at Jazz Middelheim in Antwerp, Belgium.


Jill Furmanovsky

You probably know Nile Rodgers for his trailblazing work in disco, and as producer behind some of the 20th century’s most enduring pop songs. Did you also know that Rodgers started out as a jazz musician? At this summer’s North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, author Ashley Kahn sat down with the formidable guitarist, composer, arranger and producer to discuss his jazz roots.


Philippe Levy-Stab

Sarah McKenzie kicked off the new season of The Checkout — Live at Berklee.

 

A young singer, pianist, and composer originally from Melbourne, Austrailia, and now based in London, McKenzie returns to her alma mater in Boston to perform songs from her latest Impulse! album, Paris in the Rain.

 

She was joined by her quartet, featuring guitarist Perry Smith, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Donald Edwards.

 

Valerie Gay Bessette

This past summer the Montreal Jazz Festival featured drummer Mark Guiliana in its Invitation series, presenting three different projects over three nights at the Church of the Gesù. 

Courtesy of the artist

Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood, arguably the most accomplished jam band on the planet, expands his universe in adventurous music-making.

 

 

 

A heavy groove drummer who has never been shy in incorporating exotic sounds — from bamboo rain sticks to Tibetan bowls — Martin is now ready to make his mark in contemporary classical music. MMW recently teamed up with the renegade classical chamber ensemble Alarm Will Sound for Omnisphere, a concert album released last week.

Nick Michael / NPR

As we continue to remember pianist and composer Randy Weston, who died on Sept. 1, we’re reminded of his devotion to the motherland, Africa. But how many people know about his ties to Central America — and in particular, his deep connection to Panama?


Courtesy of the artist

The Cuban mambo group Orquestra Akokán visited our studio at WBGO yesterday. In this Checkout podcast, you'll hear their full performance, and my conversation with two co-leaders from the band.


Simon Rentner

Before Adrian Younge was writing orchestral music with a hip-hop flair, he was a law professor by day and a DJ by night. During this period, he became obsessed with classic soul from 1968 to 1973 — music that he says resonated in ways this country had never seen before. Younge, a multi-instrumentalist from Los Angels, aspires toward a similar feeling on his new album, The Midnight Hour, with Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest.

RENE GOIFFON

Today's show unfolds in two parts. First Joe Lovano shares his appreciation of fellow tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, whom he first learned about his while growing up in Cleveland, OH. (Lovano expressed his appreciation many years later with an original blues, "Big Ben.") 

 


Bruno Bollaert

Jazz Middelheim is probably the oldest jazz event in Belgium, originally founded in 1969. It can also make a claim as one of the most adventurous with its programming.  


Andrea Pizziconi / courtesy of the artist

Keyon Harrold’s beautiful trumpet tone has been heard on many of our era’ s defining popular music, from Jay-Z to Maxwell to Mac Miller.


Caroline Forbes / ECM

Tomasz Stanko, who died this week at 76, was more than an important Polish trumpeter and composer, though he was certainly both of those things.

Courtesy of the artist

For more than a decade, Nate Wood has expressed his multifarious instrumentalism in prog-jazz outfits like Kneebody, the Wayne Krantz Trio, and the Donny McCaslin Band. But his solo project, fOUR, which has a residency over the next few weeks at Nublu, takes the concept to impossible extremes.

 


Valerie Gay Bessette

On Friday, Nov. 2, BIGYUKI will appear on the latest installment of The Checkout's concert series at 151 Nublu in the East Village. Tickets are available at Ticketfly.

Courtesy of the artist

Don’t let the heavy African grooves fool you — Photay is pale in complexion.

He’s also a forward-thinking electronic artist raised in upstate New York, where he’s also known by his given name, Evan Shornstein. Photay means “white” in Susu, one of the native languages spoken in Guinea. On a trip to West Africa, the artist fell in love with the balafon, a marimba-like instrument featured on his 2017 album Onism.


Sarah Geledi

Laurent Saulnier isn't shy when pushing the boundaries of jazz. For 19 years, the V.P. of Programming for the largest jazz festival on the planet has made the case that jazz is much more than swing and bebop, but a style that informs many of the popular sounds we listen to today.

Ulli Gruber

Dave Holland keeps it moving. After being active in music for well over half a century, the English bass legend is arguably busier and more open-minded than ever — collaborating with musical masters from India and Tunisia as well as the United States.

 


Hadas

Justin Brown — the drummer behind acclaimed, forward-thinking musicians like Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Ambrose Akinmusire — is  ready to make his own statement.


Todd Cooper

Robert Glasper has an idea about what jazz should sound like today.

What initially began as an experimental meeting of musical minds at SXSW has now turned into R+R=NOW — a superband with a mission to reflect our present time. The group will release its debut, Collagically Speaking, tomorrow on Blue Note Records.


Simon Rentner

Welcome to the island of St. Lucia, where we soak in deeply African rhythms that morphed into brilliant modern Creole creations in recent years.  The Checkout explores five Caribbean jazz songs you should know curated by Yves Renard, the Artistic Director of the Soleil St. Lucia Summer Festival.


Jenelle Ernest

Zara McFarlane may be from England, but she's made it her mission to understand her Afro-Caribbean heritage by investigating the folkloric music of Jamaica, one of England's former colonies, and also the home of her parents. The Checkout caught up with McFarlane at the Soleil Summer Festival, in St. Lucia.

Chris Tobin

 

At a time when building bridges is more important than ever, flutist Jamie Baum is making musical connections between different cultures too often at odds with each other. Her new album, Bridges, finds the common ground between music she loves from the West with the music she’s discovered from the Middle East and South Asia.


John Rogers

Henry Threadgill, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, bandleader, saxophonist and flutist, has not exactly settled into the calm of late-career eminence. At 74, he’s nearly as productive as he has ever been — and every ounce the visionary, judging by two albums out today on Pi Recordings.

 


Flying Lotus

Flying Lotus performs at The Festival of Disruption, curated by David Lynch, at Brooklyn Steel on May 19 and 20.

A few years back, The Checkout had the rare opportunity to speak with Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, about his acclaimed album You’re Dead!  In this podcast, the electronic music composer, filmmaker and all-around rabble-rouser delves deep into his jazz roots — and talks about how being the grand nephew of Alice Coltrane and first cousin of Ravi Coltrane has influenced his brilliant, beyond-category sound.

 


Chris Tobin / WBGO

Not many jazz musicians possess a scope as wide as Dave Burrell’s.

A pianist who first emerged during the late 1960s, in wild-and-woolly ensembles led by saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp, he also has a firm grasp on the stride language of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. His body of work as a composer includes operatic and chamber works — but he remains a fearless paragon of free improvisation, with peers like bassist William Parker and saxophonist David Murray.


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