Music

Gangi N

Since graduating from the Berklee College of Music, the Israeli tenor saxophonist Daniel Rotem has been busy racking up life experiences — from performing at the White House to touring on behalf of the State Department to apprenticing with legends as part of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.

WBGO

Helen Sung is a classically trained pianist who discovered jazz and found her passion for writing music when working with master bassist Ron Carter at the Monk Institute. Every day there, she would embark on writing a new piece of music.

Alfredo Rodriguez
Chris Tobin

While he has many fascinating stories to tell, pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez is all about the music.  

During his recent visit to our performance studio at WBGO, Rodríguez touched on stories of his life in Cuba and his migration to the United States. There's also his life-changing 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival encounter with Quincy Jones, which has led to “Q” producing two of his recordings for Mack Avenue, including his latest, The Little Dream.

Adama Jollah

One of the artists who left a mark at this year's Winter Jazzfest was newcomer Nubya Garcia. Get to know the firebrand saxophonist from the United Kingdom in another edition of My Music, on The Checkout.


Anna Webber

For as long as we’ve known Kurt Elling, he has been among our most inquisitive jazz vocalists.

John Rogers / WBGO

In this week's playlist, hybridism reigns.

Bernie Williams
Chris Tobin

I’ve known Bernie Williams since his early playing days with the New York Yankees.  He was just another young man trying to make his way in the demanding world of Major League Baseball.  What was different about Bernie the ballplayer was the acoustic guitar that he kept in his locker.  Media might hear him play it on the odd occasion they arrived at the ballpark really early on a game night.

Courtesy of the artist

Allison Miller has held down the pulse for respected artists across multiple genres, including the indie-folk dynamo Ani DeFranco and the soul-jazz legend Dr. Lonnie Smith. Her latest album, Otis Was A Polar Bear, nods to a few other factors informing her bright, inviting sound — from scuba diving to modern art to recent motherhood.

 


Desmond White

The conversation around women in jazz has rarely felt timelier or more pressing than it does at this moment.

Nathan West / Blue Note Records

Nels Cline has a new album on the near horizon.

Blue Note Records has just announced the April 13 release of Currents, Constellations, the debut release by the Nels Cline 4 — an energetic unit made up of Cline, his fellow guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Tom Rainey.

Five finalists have been selected for the 2019 American Pianists Awards. The five pianists, all in their mid-to-late 20s — Kenny Banks, Jr., Emmet Cohen, Keelan Dimick, Dave Meder and Billy Test — will take part in a year-long competitive process in Indianapolis, home of the American Pianists Association. One will win the coveted Cole Porter Fellowship at the finals there next April.

Anna Webber

On another edition of My Music, Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez tells his extraordinary story of crossing the border from Mexico to the United States to find Quincy Jones.


Isaiah McClain

Jazz has a handful of reigning families — the Clayton, Marsalis, and Eubanks clans among them — but until recently you'd be forgiven for overlooking the McFerrins. The emergence of Madison McFerrin, an inspired singer-songwriter from Brooklyn, underscores the talent in this new musical dynasty.


Jesse Kit

Lizz Wright is well acquainted with the storytelling power of a journey. Her music, rooted in the gospel truths and rustic byways of this country, could be seen as a sustained meditation on movement: not just the flow of bodies in rapturous rhythm, but also the trajectories that mark a life story.

Danielle Nicole is one of the brightest rising stars of the blues. She sings with soulful chops. She writes songs ath are smart and emotional about love and life. She plays bass in her trio with guitarist Brandon Miller and her brother, drummer Chris Schnebelen. “Hot Spell,” one of the songs on her newest album, Cry No More, is a first recording of a song by legendary songwriter Bill Withers.  She sang (and told the story of) that song and played several of her own songs when she came to The Blues Break on WBGO.

 

“I think it’s a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one’s self.”

Arthur Miller put that line in the mouth of a character from After the Fall, which premiered on Broadway in 1964. It’s an argument worth reconsidering as we welcome a new album bearing the same title from Keith Jarrett, a pianist with rare perspective on both the merits of self-reliance and the grasping pursuit of hope.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Mathieu Bitton

The Robert Glasper Experiment has established such a track record in the studio that it can be easy to take for granted the band’s core identity as a live act. It was with a series of overheated gigs in New York, at joints like the 55 Bar, that the Experiment — led by the resourceful, indefatigable keyboardist Robert Glasper — originally found its voice and purpose. And its albums are mostly recorded in real time, live in the studio.

Sub Press / sub-press.com

When it comes to the origin of the word “jazz,” it seems that each person simply believes what she or he wants to.

Jacob Blickenstaff

François Moutin & Kavita Shah, "You Go to My Head"

If you keep up with the modern-jazz mainstream in New York, you probably know François Moutin as a bassist who combines quicksilver agility with growling combustion. You may not yet be familiar with Kavita Shah, a singer grounded in the fundamentals but also brimming with fresh ideas.

Iron City is the group of guitarist Charlie Apicella. They play soul jazz (and more) in the spirit of groovemaster and Hammond B-3 organist Jack McDuff. One Night Only ls the group’s newest album, a tribute to McDuff that includes Brother Jack’s “Dink’s Blues” — one of the tunes they played on The Blues Break. Radam Schwartz, a longtime friend of WBGO, played the station’s own Hammond organ, joined by saxophonist George Ghee and drummer Alan Korzin.

Jazz Night in America / NPR

Spend enough time in New Orleans and you come to understand it as a place for every kind of convergence. The culture hums in an endless exchange, with history forever close at hand. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah understands this to his core: he grew up immersed in ritual Mardi Gras Indian traditions, and distinguished himself as a jazz trumpeter by his early teens. He's now shaping his own artistic reality, creating what he calls "Stretch Music" — a proud hybrid of styles and approaches, with a strong underlay of groove.

Dominic M. Mercier / Opera Philadelphia

“America – I hear you hiss and stare / Do you love the air in me, as I love the air in you?”

With those words, evoking an impassioned patriotism curdled by deep-rooted injustice, Lawrence Brownlee opened the world premiere of Cycles of My Being at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

courtesy of the artist

Hailey Niswanger is familiar with the concept of emergence: for the last five years straight, she has been touted as a rising star on alto and soprano saxophone in the DownBeat Critics Poll.

Luciano Rossetti / Rossetti-Phocus

Dave Burrell attended his first Vision Festival in its fifth year, when it was held on St. Marks Place in the East Village.

"The atmosphere was charged," he recalls, describing the rugged immediacy of a space that had once housed the Electric Circus, a fabled psychedelic rock club. "Everyone was there, waiting their turn to perform. It was magical."

Qwest TV / Photo illustration by Sarah Geledi

What to make of Quincy Jones's new video music service?

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August Greene, “Black Kennedy”

Black excellence is a welcome and pressing topic of conversation at the moment, as Black Panther wraps up a record-breaking box office weekend and its soundtrack, spearheaded by Kendrick Lamar, debuts at Number 1. For Common, another rapper with a strong moral compass, the subject also provides a natural through-line on “Black Kennedy,” the luminous new track from August Greene.

Keith Major

Gerald Clayton's recent recording Tributary Tales isn't an album of tributes, but rather one inspired by rivers. The metaphor also works for this pianist in the natural flow of his life: the way he streams from one musical situation to another, whether it's with saxophonist Charles Lloyd, guitarist John Scofield or his own ensemble.


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