• Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors With David Sanchez: Newport Jazz 2014

    August 7, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

    David Sanchez and the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors perform at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: Adam Kissick for NPR)

    Boston's Berklee College of Music was already one of the premier conservatories for jazz when it launched a new program designed to push a select group of students beyond the classroom. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute assembles a small international ensemble to create works on the bandstand and explore connections to culture, nature and other art forms.

    That band acts as a de facto emissary for Berklee and jazz across the U.S. and around the world. Appropriately, for its Newport-opening set, the group's current lineup was paired with the accomplished Puerto Rican tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, who led the ensemble in a performance of his own compositions.

    Set List

    • "Morning Mist"
    • "Mirage"
    • "Endless Wait"
    • "A Thousand Yesterdays"


    David Sanchez, tenor saxophone; Mao Sone, trumpet; Leandro Pellegrino, guitar; Takafumi Suenaga, piano; Jared Henderson, bass; Jharis Yokley, drums

    Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Gregory Porter: Newport Jazz 2014

    August 6, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

    (Image Credit: Adam Kissick for NPR)

    The commanding singer Gregory Porter likes a good aqueous metaphor. He named his first album Water and led off with the title track. Then he called his latest album Liquid Spirit, which he released following last year's ecstatic Newport show. (He sang that title track, too, with its bouncy hand-clap exhortations.)

    Porter returned to Newport this year on the festival's main stage, delivering a triumphant set that spanned his whole repertoire. And, appropriately enough, he cut through day-long rain showers during his performance on Saturday, August 2.

    Set List

    • "Water"
    • "On My Way To Harlem"
    • "No Love Dying"
    • "Liquid Spirit"
    • "Wolfcry"
    • "Work Song"
    • "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"/"You Send Me"
    • "1960 What?"


    Gregory Porter, voice; Tivon Pennicott, tenor saxophone; Chip Crawford, piano; Aaron James, bass; Emanuel Harrold, drums

    Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Darcy James Argue's Secret Society: Newport Jazz 2014

    August 5, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

    Darcy James Argue conducts the Secret Society in a new big-band piece at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: Adam Kissick for NPR)

    At the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra gave a performance so raucous and powerful that historians mark it as a turning point of the great bandleader's five-decade career. At its center was a piece called "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," with a barn-burning solo interlude from saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.

    The composer and big-band leader Darcy James Argue is something of a Duke scholar, and by now a Newport Jazz Festival veteran. So he chose this date to present a 35-minute piece inspired by "Diminuendo" for the first time in the U.S. "Tensile Curves" joins a number of other previously unrecorded works that Secret Society presented at the main stage on Friday, Aug. 1.

    Set List

    • "Ferromagnetic"
    • "All In (For Laurie Frink)"
    • "Codebreaker (For Alan Turing)"
    • "Tensile Curves"
    • "Last Waltz For Levon"


    Darcy James Argue, composer/arranger; Erica von Kleist, alto saxophone/winds; Rob Wilkerson, alto saxophone/winds; Sam Sadigursky, tenor saxophone/winds; John Ellis, tenor saxophone/winds; Carl Maraghi, baritone saxophone/winds; Seneca Black, trumpet; Tom Goehring, trumpet; Matt Holman, trumpet; Nadje Noordhuis, trumpet; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Marshall Gilkes, trombone; Ryan Keberle, trombone; Jacob Garchik, trombone; Jennifer Wharton, bass trombone; Miles Okazaki, guitar; Adam Birnbaum, piano; Matt Clohesy, bass; Jon Wikan, drums

    Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

  • Jon Batiste And Stay Human: Newport Jazz 2014

    August 4, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

    Jon Batiste embraces the crowd at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: Adam Kissick for NPR)

    Jon Batiste has a way with exits, as musicians from New Orleans tend to. Days before his day-ending set at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival, the pianist and singer walked out of The Colbert Report's theater with a studio audience and a dancing Stephen Colbert in tow. And following a high-energy Newport set — where his expanded Stay Human band played turbocharged versions of standards, rags and his own party anthems — he switched from piano to melodica and led the band into the main stage audience.

    Batiste's newest album is called Social Music, and it's easy to see how he could catalyze a gathering. As he paraded into the crowd, he switched into a number you might hear at a New Orleans jazz funeral parade, one that signaled his intent with a wink: "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."

    Set List

    • "My Favorite Things"
    • "On The Sunny Side Of The Street"
    • "People In The World"
    • "Shreveport Stomp"
    • "It's Alright (Why You Gotta)"
    • "The Star-Spangled Banner"
    • "St. James Infirmary"
    • "The Entertainer"
    • "Just A Closer Walk With Thee"


    Jon Batiste, piano/melodica/voice; Eddie Barbash, alto saxophone; Ibanda Ruhumbika, tuba; Barry Stevenson, banjo/bass; Joe Saylor, drums; Jamison Ross, keyboard/percussion/voice. With Grace Kelly, alto saxophone.

    Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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  • Mingus Big Band, Miguel Zenon on JazzSet

    November 21, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.


    Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs for NPR.

    Tune in to JazzSet Sunday, November 20, at 6pm and/or Wednesday, November 23, at 6:30, for the Mingus Big Band (saxophones above) and Miguel Zenon at Newport. What a match! Emotional, colorful, and Miguel is rhythmically revolutionizing music from the Puerto Rican songbook. Here is a 30-second preview, one of my favorite JazzSet promos ever.

    The show is available on demand any time this week, here.