Morning Jazz

Monday - Friday 6 - 10am
  • Hosted by Gary Walker

Hosted by Gary Walker

Wake up your day with an upbeat mix of classic and contemporary jazz, plus hourly news, traffic and weather updates from Doug Doyle and NPR. 

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Chris Tobin / WBGO

In my office there hangs a postcard-sized photograph of Sonny Rollins — captured, I'm sure, in the midst of the umpteenth amazing chorus of some standard we all thought we knew. The pianist in the picture is Mark Soskin, probably best known for his 13-year tenure with the Saxophone Colossus.


Courtesy of the artist

Ted Nash made his first recording as a leader in 1978, and titled it “Conceptions.”

Whether playing saxophone, clarinet or flute, he has shown how magnificently broad his conceptions are: exploring a tango/klezmer/New Orleans brass feel with Odeon; giving sounds to great painters like Van Gogh, Matisse and Pollack with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; reinventing the music of Henry Mancini, who employed both his father and uncle; or musically reimagining great speeches from John Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.

Paul Moore / Blue Note Records

Saxophonist Dave McMurray says that every time he hears an instrumentalist from Detroit, it feels like they’re singing.

The Motown native knows this feeling. He grew up with it, eventually bringing his own versatility to gigs with B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Nancy Wilson and Geri Allen. This was all in addition to being part of Was (Not Was), whose bassist and cofounder, Don Was, is now president of Blue Note Records.

Chris Tobin / WBGO

When pianist Bill O’Connell finished his schooling at Oberlin, he returned home to New York City and got to work right away with Mongo Santamaria.

Bill would go on to play with Sonny Rollins and Chet Baker, too, but his love of Latin, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music would draw him closer. His passion for jazz with Latin seasoning led him to work with Jerry Gonzalez, Papo Vazquez — and, in a long and fruitful association, flutist Dave Valentin.

Grant Green is the subject of two newly released recordings of incredible jazz guitar: one from the late 60’s in France, and the other showing Green’s transformation from straight-ahead playing to a more funk-influenced style, captured in Vancouver.

Chris Tobin

Since Julian Lage focused his attentions on a Fender Telecaster a couple of years ago, his music has become more country, more sparse, and arguably more soulful. Lage recently brought his trio onto Morning Jazz to talk about that shift, and play a few tunes from his newest album, Modern Lore.


Leo Sidran, Gary Walker and Ben Sidran together for Morning Jazz
Steve Williams

Ben Sidran observes life through a prism. As a musician and an interviewer, he's always looking to encourage dialogue. This week he stopped by Morning Jazz to play and talk about Picture Him Happy, a swinging new album with provocative lyrics.


Celebrating the Cool and Humor of Dexter Gordon

Feb 21, 2017

"Long Tall" Dexter Gordon is one of the best known and significant musicians on his instrument: he was one of the first tenor saxophonists to adopt the bebop style, and influenced players such as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Gordon's widow and former manager-producer, Maxine Gordon, and saxophonist Abraham Burton join Morning Jazz host Gary Walker to discuss the man and his music.

Ted Nash won twice at Sunday's Grammy Awards: for Best Large Ensemble Album and Best Instrumental Composition. His big band album, "Presidential Suite - Eight Variations on Freedom" interprets Presidential speeches across the last century. 

Originally published November 7, 2016.

Ted Nash of Jazz at Lincoln Center brings his ambitious new album project - musical interpretations of great presidential speeches on freedom - to Morning Jazz with Gary Walker.