April 21, 2009. Posted by Brandy Wood.
The crowd was enthusiastic and the performance fantastic on Sunday, April 19 when over 125 of WBGO’s most loyal and generous supporters turned out for the Singers Unlimited Brunch at NJPAC's Theater Square Grill. The annual event, which honors members of WBGO’s Jazz Leadership Society, featured a concert by Simone, the daughter of legendary singer Nina Simone. Backed up by her quintet of veteran jazz players, Simone sang for the delighted Jazz Leadership Society members in a concert broadcast worldwide through WBGO Jazz88 and via the internet on wbgo.org.
Listen to the full broadcast here!
WBGO’s weekday morning host, Gary Walker emceed, filling in for WBGO’s Michael Bourne, currently on the mend from knee surgery. Gary led the audience in a chorus of “Hurry Back Michael” chants to cheer up Michael, WBGO’s long-time weekday afternoon announcer and host of the popular Singers Unlimited program. Between songs, Gary and Simone bantered about her career and growing up as Nina Simone’s daughter. Simone was wonderfully gracious and patiently autographed her CD Simone on Simone for dozens of grateful Jazz Leadership Society members in attendance.
Prior to the live broadcast, WBGO’s General Manager Cephas Bowles and Chairman of the Board of Directors Tim Porter welcomed the Jazz Leadership Society members and thanked them for their support.
Jazz Leadership Society (JLS) members receive a number of exciting benefits including insider access to the world of jazz, such as the annual Singers Unlimited Brunch. Basic JLS membership begins at the $1,000 annual gift level, with additional benefits available at the Silver ($2,500) and Gold ($5,000+) levels. For example, on March 23rd, Silver and Gold members were invited to an intimate evening with legendary jazz impresario George Wein.
For more information about how you can become a member of the Jazz Leadership Society, please contact Vincent Bochis at 973-624-8880, ext. 285 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the JLS page on WBGO.org.
© 2009 WBGO
February 4, 2009. Posted by Thurston Briscoe.
I love live music! It is invigorating to watch the musicians interact with one another as they play. It is as much fun to observe the audience get into the music as it is to listen myself. That is one the exciting parts about broadcasting live from J&R Music World. For the past six years we have showcased numerous musicians debut their new CDs. I have produced the whole series and this has given me the opportunity to get to know the regulars. That is one of the unique privileges of working at a radio station being in the community. You get to interact with the listeners. They tell you what they like and don’t like. The listeners also get to know the artists and each other.
The very first concert we presented 6 years ago featured Grammy nominated pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill. From the beginning, a young and eager 10 year-old named Travis Wolcott was one of two boys who would sit cross-legged on the floor in front of the stage. When the series first started, we held drawings for door prizes and Travis would help pull the winner’s names out of the box. His participation became a part of the show.
Travis and his brother Thomas, along with his dad Tom continued to attend the broadcasts and we became friends. My birthday or a holiday never came without a card from the Wolcotts. But the one constant reminder of how much a part of our lives this family has become was the sight of Travis each month in the front row as we presented artists at J&R.
Travis sat and watched and listened to every note and that he depended upon us made this all especially significant. Travis and Tom were on site early January 17 this year for our last scheduled broadcast from J&R, not coincidentally featuring Arturo’s sextet. Travis picked his familiar place on the floor and Tom and I reminisced about the drawing days.
People say you never think of the good time you are having as “the good old days”. But the Saturdays (and a few Tuesdays) we spent at J&R gave us wonderful memories, and a more great live music.
But then, the music ended. The series ended.
Our friends at J&R made it possible to bring the new music to our listeners and to special fans like Travis.
We won’t let him down. That’s why we ask for your support. Jazz88 is about giving our listeners music!
© 2009 WBGO