• JazzSet in October

    October 3, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater is celebrating ten years with Dee Dee as host, and nearing our 20th anniversary on the air with live music every week. You have two chances to catch this week's show on WBGO Jazz 88 - Sundays at 6pm, Wednesdays at 6:30. Miss a show? Listen on demand. We're in Surround Sound. Here's our early fall line-up:

    THIS WED, OCT 5, HEAR 2012 NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman, born October 3, 1923

    We knew Freeman was born and stayed in Chicago, but until earlier this year, everyone including the man himself thought his birth year was 1922. Howard Reich of The Chicago Tribune suspected it was 1923, and writes here about how he corrected Von Freeman history. On this JazzSet from New Year's Eve, 2010, at the Green Mill, he dukes it out in a mock battle with fellow tenor Ed Petersen .

    Freeman by Jimmy Katz
    Freeman by Jimmy Katz

    Yotam, courtesy of the artist
    Yotam courtesy of the artist

    SUN, OCT 9, AND WED, OCT 12, DISCOVER Ben Williams & Sound Effect and the Yotam Silberstein Quartet .. two new talents from the KC Jazz Club

    Williams from the DC area won the Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition; now he leads a fresh-sounding quintet with Marcus Strickland on sax and Christian Sands on piano, to name just two. Guitarist Yotam from Tel Aviv made a great first impression on Kennedy Center audiences in the sold-out Ella! concert (as broadcast on JazzSet), and in Yotam's quartet you'll hear his boyhood friend from Israel, Roy Assaf on piano.


    SUN, OCT 16, AND WED, OCT 19, NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston & African Rhythms
    For pianist Weston, jazz is not a genre. It's home, celebrated in music from the opening "African Rhythms" to his long-time theme, "Love, the Mystery Of."

    SUN, OCT 23, AND WED, OCT 26, Danilo Perez AND Poncho Sanchez, Back to Back
    Danilo from Panama plays emotional, colorful, storytelling music from his album Providencia. Poncho from southern California and his long-running Latin jazz band (two dozen albums, one a year) party with the Newark audience, including some of his own family.

    SUN, OCT 30, AND WED, NOV 2, NEA Jazz Master Toots Thielemans and Kenny Werner at the Kennedy Center - broadcast premiere of a concert from March, 2010
    Toots holds the harmonica to his lips, the mic to his harmonica, and the music seems to come straight from his heart, with Guggenheim Fellow Kenny Werner on piano. The music comes from Belgium, the US and Brazil.

    Toots Thielemans by Jos Knaepen
    Thielemans by Jos Knaepen

    Hargrove by John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com
    Hargrove by John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

    SUN, NOV 4, AND WED, NOV 7, The Second Set: Trumpeter Roy Hargrove Quintet at the Village Vanguard

    The first set aired Live from the Village Vanguard on WBGO and NPR Music. Here's the second set - all music, not a word from the stage. At the end, the audience claps for three minutes straight for Justin Robinson, alto; Sullivan Fortner, piano; Ameen Saleem, bass; Montez Coleman, drums; and Roy Hargrove. The sweetest tone in town.

  • Newark, NJ: An "Organ Town" for Over 50 Years

    April 7, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    Dr. Lonnie Smith plays in the studio tomorrow at 3 p.m.
    Dr. Lonnie Smith plays in the studio on Saturday at 3 p.m.

    Recently, WBGO has had the good fortune of acquiring an excellent Hammond C-3 organ (pictured below) that now sits in our studio. On Saturday, the acclaimed organist Dr. Lonnie Smith will make an appearance with his organ trio (featuring drummer Jamire Williams and guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg) to give it a whirl -- and as it turns out, this performance will be part of a long history of the jazz organ entertaining Newark audiences. Read more

  • The Checkout Interviews Wayne Shorter

    February 8, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    Wayne Shorter will be performing this Wednesday at Town Hall -- for more, check out my preview that ran Friday in the Newark Star-Ledger. He'll also be featured on this week's edition of The Checkout. Producer Josh Jackson caught up with him last week from his home in West Hollywood, and suffered a few technical difficulties along the way. Here's his take on what went down: Read more

  • WBGO's Love For Moody Week

    December 23, 2010. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    WBGO Executive Director Cephas Bowles (left) showing some love for James Moody

    WBGO dedicates this week of programming to the memory of Newark native and jazz luminary James Moody, who passed away Thursday, December 9 at the age of 85.

    UPDATE: The final segment of our James Moody tribute airs tonight at 8 p.m., 88.3 on your fm dial. Or, have a listen to it here:

    As Becca and Brandy have mentioned previously, this week will feature some of our favorite Moody memories as we close out the 2010 broadcasting year (and look forward to Toast of the Nation.)

    Tonight at 6:00 p.m., we will air a special edition of JazzSet, recorded for Moody's 80th birthday at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2005. It features some other heavy hitters, too, including Slide Hampton, Paquito D'Rivera, Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller. The show will re-air on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

    Tomorrow at noon (right after the news) we will follow up with Piano Jazz, featuring an interview with Moody and the show's always-lovely host, Marian McPartland.

    On Thursday, we close out our special coverage with a compilation of Moody interviews from our extensive archives, edited by Simon Rentner. The hour-long feature begins at 8:00 p.m.

    Follow the links below for more WBGO coverage celebrating the life and music of James Moody:

    Doug Doyle remembers Moody for the WBGO Journal

    Becca Pulliam pulls some Moody music from the WBGO archives

    Eulus Cathey interviews Moody in 2009:

    Josh Jackson pays homage to Moody on The Checkout

    Finally, a video produced by Josh Jackson and Dan Karcher:

    WBGO has been truly blessed by Moody's presence for many years -- we're sad to see him go, yet so fortunate to be able to honor his legacy. Join us this week as we celebrate the life of one of one of New Jersey's greatest contributions to jazz history. Please, feel free to share your favorite Moody memories in the comment section below.

  • Mary Lou Williams Centennial Celebrations Rise Again!

    October 6, 2010. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Mary Lou Williams Centennial CelebrationI'm just back from the Mary Lou Williams Centennial Celebration in Madison, WI (where I lived from 1969-82). Mary Lou was briefly an Artist-in-Residence at UW Madison in 1976. Meeting/interviewing her then and immersing myself in her residency put me on my track. Thirty-some years later, it was my honor to participate in this celebration. Madison, by the way, remains one of the all-time hospitable cities - centered on an isthmus between two beautiful lakes - and the home of a dedicated jazz community.

    From Fri through Sun, Howard Landsman and his committee hosted events around town, featuring the UW Hiphop Ensemble, The Music of Mary Lou Wms from 1929-78 presented by her mgr and the Director of the MLW Foundation - Fr Peter O'Brien, and a symposium with Profs Sherrie Tucker, Guy Ramsey, Ted Buehrer and Farrah Griffin. Both MLW biographers - Linda Dahl and Dr. Tammy Kernodle - were in town. On Saturday night at the Capitol Theater, the MLW Collective featuring Madison Poet Laureate Fabu, the magnificent Geri Allen on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, Kassa Overall (the nephew of the current WI Gov and his wife!) on drums, and guest vocalist Carmen Lundy. Everyone was great and all hail Geri. In the first half they presented MLW's Zodiac Suite from the 1940s, but what I loved most was "Peter's Blues" in the second half, animated by Geri's elbows.

    On Sunday morning 8am at Mt Zion Baptist Church, the awesome Leotha Stanley (a committee member) conducted Mary Lou's Mass - a Catholic mass in a Baptist church. After briefly noting that slight mismatch, Stanley launched the choir into an excellent performance, not one bit less stunning than the celebratory May 2010 pfmnces at St. Francis Xavier in Greenwich Village and The Kennedy Center. WOW. Carmen Lundy's singing of the Lazarus story makes time stop for me. Professor George Shirley from the U of MI was the baritone soloist. Sitting in the balcony of this med sized, straightforward sanctuary and facing the choir and a single, modern stained glass window behind it, I had a slightly elevated perspective and felt the joy rising.

    Prof Jimmy Cheatham of the UW Experimental Black Music Ensemble (1972-77) brought MLW to campus in '76. He has passed away, but his wife Jeannie Cheatham came from San Diego to enjoy and be honored by the City of Madison. On Sat night, some of the musicians (older now, like me) gathered to jam in Jimmy and Jeannie's honor. (That link leads you to the Jimmy & Jeannie Cheatham Collection, now online from the Marr Sound Archive at  Univ of Missouri in Kansas City.) It was small with a lot of love. You could not ask for more.