Courtesy of the artist

Butcher Brown — a group of five sophisticated musicians from Richmond, Va. — upholds a self-professed blue-collar approach to music. Stylistically speaking, that music falls somewhere on the spectrum between jazz, rock and funk.

Terence Blanchard wrote his first piece of music for a Spike Lee joint nearly 30 years ago.

The movie was Mo' Better Blues, which revolves around a brooding jazz trumpeter played by Denzel Washington. Blanchard was on set to ghost those trumpet parts, but at one point, Spike heard him playing a theme at the piano, and asked him to write an accompanying string arrangement.

Gilles Petard / Redferns/Getty

The front page of today’s Baltimore Sun carries an excellent obituary for the singer Ethel Ennis, described in its headline as that city’s “First Lady of Jazz.” Which of course she was.

As a performer, a regional celebrity, a venue proprietor and a community builder, she bolstered Charm City’s underrated scene with a genial brand of strength and pride.

More Music Stories


Oh sure, the Oscars are a fine mess and you call the film critic in to make sense out of it. I once had a boiler guy refuse to come service my dying boiler in the dead of winter when I had shivering babies at home. “Polsky don’t come to your town never,” his secretary told me. “You tell Polsky one day he’s gonna need a film review and he can go f--- himself,” I said. Well, now Polsky is probably at home, unable to make sense out of the hot mess of the Oscars and needs a film critic. I’m here for you BGO peeps, not Polsky. 

New Jersey Flight: Is It Getting Worse?

Feb 22, 2019
New Jersey
Scott Pringle for WBGO News

Are people leaving New Jersey in droves? One study suggests so, citing that twice as many people left the state in 2018 than came here. We’ve heard it over and over - high property taxes, lots of traffic and an expensive state.

Governor Phil Murphy admits it’s not easy here in New Jersey.

Hate groups in N.J. and nationally on the rise

Feb 20, 2019

The number of hate groups operating in New Jersey rose by one last year, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Eighteen hate groups were active in the state in 2018, up from 17 the year before.

The increase was part of a national trend.

The Southern Poverty Law Center documented in 2018 what it said was the largest number of hate groups it has seen in decades: 1,020.

N.J. doubles paid family leave available to workers

Feb 19, 2019

New Jersey has expanded its paid family leave law to increase the time workers can take off from their jobs and make it easier for employees to care for sick loved ones.

The measure is the latest law signed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy with an eye toward helping working families.

“Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child,” Murphy said at a Tuesday press conference.

More News

Jazz E-News

Get the latest from WBGO right to your inbox: music, articles, events, discounts and more.