• Jazz from Caramoor.. Rhonda Hamilton hosts highlights on Labor Day at 1pm

    August 31, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Here's the special in six segments. Click to listen.

    Kenny Barron, piano - Love Walked In (Gershwins)
    The Cookers (personnel named under photo, below) - Capra Black (Billy Harper)

    Gretchen Parlato, voice Taylor Eigsti, piano; Earl Burniss Travis II, bass; Kendrick Scott, drums Alô, Alô (Da Viola, arr. Parlato) Circling (Parlato) Better Than (Parlato)

    The Cookers - The Peacemaker (McBee) Kenny Barron – Lotus Blossom, A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing, Star-Crossed Lovers (Strayhorn, Ellington)

    Kenny Barron - Shuffle Boil (Thelonious Monk)
    Dee Dee Bridgewater, voice Craig Handy, saxophones; Edsel Gomez, piano; Michael Bowie, bass; Kenny Phelps, drums
    Lady Sing the Blues (Billie Holiday)

    Two more from Bridgewater's group
    A Foggy Day (Cole Porter)
    Fine and Mellow (Holiday)

    Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band with Jaleel Shaw, alto sax; Martin Bejerano, piano; David Wong, bass
    James (Pat Metheny) All Blues (Miles Davis)

    Here's the story:

    It's all play and no work this Labor Day from 1-3pm on WBGO 88.3 and wbgo.org and the Caramoor Jazz Festival Network*, with music from the 19th annual Caramoor Jazz Festival near Katonah, NY, in Surround Sound.

    Here are all five groups  in one 30-second spot. Click and listen.

    First up, The Cookers are the hard bop champions, led by trumpeter David Weiss with music by band members Billy Harper on tenor and Cecil McBee on bass.

    Left to right: Orrin Evans, Billy Harper, David Weiss, Cecil McBee, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy, drummer Billy Hart
    Left to right: Orrin Evans, Billy Harper, David Weiss, Cecil McBee, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy, drummer Billy Hart.. photos by Gabe Palacio for Caramoor

    Multi-award winning, always working, young Gretchen Parlato’s instrument is her quiet, rhythmic voice. On “Alô, Alô,” she sings in Portuguese and adds hand percussion. Her refrain from “Better Than” seems like a personal statement and I love it: “There’s a sky full of stars so just be who you are…”


    Pianist Kenny Barron performs alone. Gershwin, Porter, Strayhorn, Monk – Barron delivers each on-the-spot with ideas, clarity and swing. Nothing is wasted. I spotted pianists from the other bands at the festival in the wings, watching and listening to Kenny Barron.

    The album Eleanora Fagan: To Billie with Love from Dee Dee won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal. Onstage at Caramoor, Bridgewater celebrates Billie Holiday with three songs, arrangements by Musical Director Edsel Gomez.  “Lady Sings the Blues”  is upbeat, and he puts a new hook on “A Foggy Day.” Craig Handy shines on sax on Billie and Dee Dee’s “Fine and Mellow.”


    The Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band is one for all and all for one. Haynes’ feet dance at the drums, his cymbals shimmer, he snaps and crackles on the snare. He speaks the language of six and a half decades of jazz drums, and the flow is pure Roy Haynes. He closes the festival with “All Blues” by Miles Davis, a request from the audience.

    Producer Jim Luce has programmed nineteen consecutive summer weekends of jazz at the Caramoor Center of Music and The Arts. We thank Jim (former WBGO morning man!), Managing Director Paul Rosenblum and everyone for supporting Jazz from Caramoor . Information about year-round programming is available at caramoor.org.

    *Traveling on Labor Day? Check out  Jazz from Caramoor on the  Caramoor Jazz Festival Network, including WICN Worcester, MA; WNCU Raleigh-Durham; WCLK, Atlanta; WUSF Tampa; WDNA Miami; WCBE Columbus OH; KCCK Cedar Rapids IA; KBEM Minneapolis; KTSU Houston; and KMHD Portland. Broadcast times vary.

    Roy Haynes and Dee Dee Bridgewater.. Richard Conde Photography
    Roy Haynes and Dee Dee Bridgewater.. Richard Conde Photography

  • Great Live Moments - Roy Haynes

    July 1, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Roy Haynes by Jimmy Katz

    I typically steer clear of superlatives when I write about musicians. My opinion is no less valid than any listener's opinion. That's one reason why I would never consider myself a critic. Just an advocate, really. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you that Roy Haynes is the greatest living jazz drummer. There. I said it. And I'm not just basing this on his accumulated career - you know, the 50+ years of playing with every major innovator since the late 1940s. Truth be told, Roy Haynes is eternally youthful, and he's still a badass. In July 1987, when Roy was a cool 62 years old (retirement age for the lucky few), he brought his quartet to Riverside Park in New York. WBGO recorded it for posterity, including this lovely jam on "All Blues." Donald Harrison is the saxophonist, Dave Kikoski played piano, Ed Howard is the bassist.
    And the leader...Roy...(tap tap tap)...Haynes...
    Click here to listen.

  • 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