WBGO Blog
  • Chestnut, Green, Heath and Payton .. A Celebration in Swing on JazzSet

    December 9, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    111208 Cyrus3FromJordy

    Benny Green photo by Fran Kaufman

    Party with Cyrus Chestnut and Benny Green at two pianos this Sunday, December 11, at 6pm and Wednesday, December 14,  at 6:30 . NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath and Nicholas Payton add more fun, with Dezron Douglas on bass and Willie Jones III on drums. Put on your dancing shoes one more once for this New Year's Eve 2010-11 set, says host Dee Dee Bridgewater . . . .

  • Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz turns 30

    March 27, 2009. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Marian McPartland
    Since April 1979, legendary pianist Marian McPartland has welcomed a stellar line-up of jazz artists for one hour of conversation and improvisation on her Peabody Award-winning program. Each week, McPartland, with her engaging personality and improvisational savvy, hosts a variety of performers in her radio living room. You can hear Piano Jazz on WBGO Thursdays at 6:30pm.

    Like WBGO, Piano Jazz is turning 30 this April. To celebrate the anniversary, Ms. McPartland returns to Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola on April 14th. "The Grande Dame of Jazz" will be joined by some of the music world's most radiant performers. Musical guests will include Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Bill Charlap, Cyrus Chestnut, Kurt Elling, Mulgrew Miller, Arturo O'Farrill, and Randy Weston.  That's the short list.

    Additionally, Marian McPartland will be honored with a lifetime achievement award from the "Worshipful Company of Musicians" of England during the evening's festivities. The award will be presented by fellow "WM of M" honoree, pianist John Escreet. For more information, check out www.wcom.org.uk.
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    For event information, visit Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

    Marian McPartland's PIANO JAZZ website

  • A Few of My Favorite Things

    January 3, 2008. Posted by Cephas Bowles.

    As the General Manager of WBGO, I am a jazz fan and listen to the station quite a bit. While I work at the station, and had an above-average knowledge of jazz prior to moving back to Newark to assume this gig, I'm not all knowing and actually learn quite a bit about jazz and what I like from the station. Thank you, WBGO announcers!!!! In this short post, I want to share with you SOME of the things that I like about jazz.

    I lust for the sound of a driving rhythm section. There's nothing better than being able to peck out the rhythm with one's neck (thank you Cecil Brooks III) while driving down a wide open road with jazz blasting from the radio. Drummers are among my favorites--Art Blakey, Max Roach, and Roy Haynes.

    I like the melodic sound of the vibraphone played so beautifully or pretty , as Michael Bourne says, that you have to stop to listen to it. I like Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Locke and Stefon Harris. There are others but those three stand out. I love Cal Tjader and regret that I didn't go to see him when I lived out West and he was still with us!

    I adore the big sound of the Hammond B-3 played by someone who knows how to get every ounce of funk and bass from this king of instruments. Add a great guitarist and drummer and you have listening heaven. The sound overwhelms you. I don't know anyone who can sit still while a good organ trio is doing its thing. I loved Charles Earland. Jimmy Smith was great but didn't move me the way the Earland did. (Yes, I realize that I've just trangressed against an icon of the B3!!!) Joey D., McGriff, Radam, they're good but nobody fills the shoes left by the Mighty One.

    I like the sound of lyrical pianists who play effortlessly and take those compositions and make them sing. Horace Silver and Cyrus Chestnut are two of my favorites! I also love jazz pianists who sound like they are playing percussion. Michel Camilo, Don Pullen and Danny Mixon are examples. And, then, there are those pianists who command the instrument to perform--Harold Mabern and McCoy Tyner.

    I like uncommon instruments played well. Andy Narell on steel pans; the late Roland Kirk playing nose flute, manzello and stritch; Steve Turre with his shells; Regina Carter playing lots of violin; and Toots Thielemann's whistling. Paquito D'Rivera's Tango Band includes a guest bandoneon player. I love the sound of that accordion-like instrument.

    I love Latin and Brazilian jazz. Again, so rhythmic and full of fun.

    There are so many great saxophonists who swing. The late great Jackie Mac, James Carter, Eric Alexander, Joe Lovano, and countless others.

    I love the young guys who are working hard to develop their chops on various instruments and who value the music historically and practically.

    I truly appreciate the knowledge of jazz and love of music that the WBGO announcers bring to the table each day and the fact that the station's Board of Trustees are committed to the 24/7 presentation of this music.

    I value your interest in music as demonstrated by your review of this very modest post and your attention to all that WBGO does for you and other music fans. I also appreciate the opportunity to share a bit of myself with you through this blog.

    Each staff person at WBGO is a fan of the music. If you come to our events or talk with us on the phone or elsewhere, you'll learn that for yourself. Many of us work in WBGO's back room. That is, the second floor of our office building where some WBGO staff members think it's too quiet and too far from the jazz action. It isn't and, best of all, we have radios and computers that bring the sound to us just fine!!!! Thanks for allowing us to do this for you and for us.

    These are a few of my favorite things--some of life's simple and all-too-often unspoken pleasures. I hope that you have some and will share them with family and friends. Record parties and word-of-mouth comments work well to introduce people to this music and to whet the appetites of those unfamiliar with our favorite things.

    Cephas Bowles

    WBGO General Manager