Music

Sometimes out of inexplicable loss, new beginnings are miraculously born. The will to survive sparks a deeper understanding of one’s own strength and spiritual drive. Alto saxophonist Bruce Williams’ Private Thoughts is a testament to this notion.

The Westerlies

Dec 29, 2016
The Westerlies
Sasha Arutyunova

The Westerlies -- two trumpeters and two trombonists from Seattle -- breeze into our performance studio. This chamber jazz setting features a "blues fugue" and an arrangement from a 17th-century English and Scottish folk ballad discovered by Sam Amidon and Nico Muhly.

The band features Riley Mulherkar & Zubin Hensler (trumpets), and Andy Clausen & Willem De Koch (trombones).

The Checkout and Berklee College of Music present pianist Lawrence Fields, class of 2008. He joins Vicente Archer (bass), Corey Fonville (drums), and John Ellis (saxophone) at Cafe 939's Red Room in Boston.

The large instrumental band Snarky Puppy, which just won its second Grammy Award, is hard to pin down to one place. Its core is now in New York, but its members have toured and recorded all over the world, and their spiritual home is still Dallas, Texas. It's where they'd take in gospel performances in area churches; it's near where they initially met at music school at the University of North Texas in Denton. As bassist and bandleader Michael League explains, you can hear all those collisions in the pocket of their complex and beyond-category grooves.

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.

Jazz Night in America: Three Miles Ahead

Aug 26, 2016
Don Cheadle stars as Miles Davis in the film Miles Ahead.
Sony Pictures Classics

It's been said that Miles Davis is to jazz is like Hemingway is to the American novel, like Picasso is to art. He was more than just a trumpet player — he was an icon of style and artistry.

Originally published February 4, 2016.

Two of David Bowie's last band members, saxophonist Donny McCaslin and pianist Jason Lindner, visit our studios to celebrate the British rockstar's final album Blackstar, a recording that features some of the finest New York jazz-trained musicians. McCaslin and Lindner give us a unique duo performance.

Music recording by David Tallacksen.

Michael League
Arjan Aelmans

  Originally published May 27, 2015.

Bassist Michael League talks with Alex Ariff about his band Snarky Puppy and their new album Sylva, which features the Metropole Orkest.

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the first installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a duo who shared drumming duties for the hardest working man in show business.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
Steven Klein

Singers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga talk with Michael Bourne about their friendship and "Cheek To Cheek," their new duet album of jazz standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others. Bourne's interview with Bennett and Gaga is also the cover story of the November issue of Downbeat magazine, which will be available on newsstands Oct. 21, 2014.

This story first published October 6, 2014.

I've lost count of all the times I've enjoyed concerts of Tony Bennett, but he's always best in Montreal: he's often said he appreciates how greatly the festival treats artists. 

And not only the artistry of Tony Bennett the singer - also the artistry of Anthony Benedetto, the painter. Spectra, producers of the Montreal jazzfest, presented last year a gallery showing of Tony's paintings. They also offer in, the festival's artshop, lithographs of Tony's portrait of Louis Armstrong. 

Jimmy Cobb: Live At The Village Vanguard

Jun 20, 2014

The drummer Jimmy Cobb is 84 — which, even if you didn't know his name, would signal that he's been around the jazz scene for a while. But he's been more than around: He was the drummer when Miles Davis recorded his late-'50s and early-'60s masterpieces, and then toured with Sarah Vaughan for nearly a decade. He's freelanced with just about every great of his generation.

This archival material comes from our Playdate series and was originally published March 25, 2014.

This is the final Playdate in our 8-part series, and we've managed to cover a lot of ground!

Want piano? We've got Harold Mabern in New York City and Frank Emilo Flynn in Havana, Cuba in this show. Also from Havana, we've got trumpeter Roy Hargrove playing street rhumba and trombonist Steve Turre on conch shells.

Jimmy Cobb
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Record producer Tommy LiPuma talks with WBGO's Michael Bourne about receiving the Bruce Lundvall Award at this year's Festival International du Jazz de Montreal, and his five-decade career, during which he has worked with dozens of vocalists and instrumentalists, including Barbra Streisand, George Benson and Diana Krall.

Henry Butler
Artist

New Orleans pianist Henry Butler performs live at WBGO and chats with host Michael Bourne in a studio session on June 3, 2013. Butler plays solo on Sunday mornings at Joe's Pub in New York on July 21 and August 11, 2013.

Studio Session: Philip Dizack Quintet

Oct 2, 2012

A lot can happen in six years. For Milwaukee-bred trumpeter Philip Dizack, it marked the passage of an era worth documenting in his own artistic chronology. 

Three women from Sing The Truth! -- Angelique Kidjo, Lizz Wright, and Geri Allen -- visited our studio to talk about their performance at NJPAC. Michael Bourne said it was one of the best live radio experiences he's ever had at WBGO.

Studio Session: Chris Dingman Quintet

Jun 21, 2011

Chris Dingman couldn't have a better name for a man who strikes metal bars for a living: "It's perfect," he says. "I had no idea I'd become a vibraphonist." He began playing vibes seriously 12 years ago, studied at Wesleyan University and the Thelonious Monk Institute, and then made the big-league swing into New York's hyper-competitive jazz scene. Dingman has just released his debut album, Waking Dreams. 

Originally published June 16, 2011.

The Jason Moran/Robert Glasper Double Trio performs at 713->212: Houstonians in NYC. Recorded January 15, 2011 at 92YTribeca. 

Personnel:

Jason Moran - Fender Rhodes
Robert Glasper - piano
Alan Hampton - acoustic bass
Mark Kelley - electric bass
Chris Dave - drums
Eric Harland - drums 

Producer: Josh Jackson
Mix: David Tallacksen
Assisted by Michael Downes and Michael McGoff

The Checkout is live at Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver, with saxophonist JD Allen's Trio and special guests, Ron Miles and Henry Butler. WBGO's Josh Jackson is your host.

Recorded 9/23/10 in Denver.

Personnel:
JD Allen - tenor saxophone
Ameen Saleem - bass
Rudy Royston - drums
Guests:
Ron Miles - trumpet
Henry Butler - piano (encore)

Producer and Host: Josh Jackson
Recorded by Joey Kloss and Devon Shorb
Mixed by David Tallacksen

Six Decades Of Jazz With Nat Hentoff

Sep 5, 2010

Nat Hentoff was 11 years old, strolling along a street in Boston, when he heard jazz clarinetist Artie Shaw's famous composition "Nightmare" through the open door of a record store. Hentoff was hooked.

Checkout Studio Session: Hiromi

Feb 16, 2010

 

Pianist Hiromi performs on WBGO's The Checkout.  Recorded 2/02/10 in New York, New York, USA.

Personnel:
Hiromi - piano

Set List:
Choux a la Creme
BQE
Place to Be

All compositions by Hiromi Uehara

Recorded February 2, 2010 at Yamaha Piano Studio
Producer and Host: Josh Jackson
Recorded by Josh Webb

Checkout Studio Session: Gerald Clayton Trio

Feb 9, 2010

Pianist Gerald Clayton performs on WBGO's The Checkout.

Personnel:
Gerald Clayton - piano
Joe Sanders - bass
Justin Brown - drums

Set List:
Casiotone
Pothole
One Two You
Trapped in Dream

All compositions by Gerald Clayton.

Recorded January 7, 2010 at WBGO

Producer and Host: Josh Jackson
Recorded by Josh Webb

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