WBGO Blog
  • WBGO's Farewell to Trumpeter Marcus Belgrave: Listen Now

    May 26, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO says goodbye to trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, who passed away May 24 from heart failure at age 78.

    Marcus and his wife Joan, a vocalist, stopped by WBGO in 2014 to talk with Awilda Rivera about their storied careers, making music with everyone from Ray Charles to Martha & The Vandellas. We'd like to share that remarkable conversation with you again now.

    belgrave2

    Born in Chester Pennsylvania, Belgrave began his professional life in music at age 12, in a band that also included trumpeter Clifford Brown.

    Jazz artists he performed with include Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. He was also an original member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, which he joined at the request of Wynton Marsalis in 1988.

    Marcus was an original member of Ray Charles's horn section in the 1950s, then settled in Detroit in 1962, where he joined Motown Records' house band. He can be heard on the hit records of Marvin Gaye, Martha & The Vandellas, The Four Tops and many others.

    Belgrave mentored many Detroit jazz musicians, including pianist Geri Allen and violinist Regina Carter.

    He also regularly participated in the annual New York Festival of New Trumpet, and spoke with Josh Jackson in 2013 about that event.

    Thank you Marcus, we will miss you!

  • WBGO Says Goodbye to Saxophonist Bob Belden

    May 20, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: RIP, The Checkout

    WBGO says farewell to saxophonist and record producer Bob Belden, who passed away today after a massive heart attack over the weekend.

    belden669

    A highly imaginative arranger, performer and producer, Belden served as the head of artists and repertoire for Blue Note Records, and won multiple Grammy Awards for his reissues of Miles Davis recordings for Columbia Records. He also produced two well-received Davis tribute albums with international musicians, Miles From India and Miles Español.

    "Animation," an ensemble he created with trumpeter Tim Hagans, recorded two albums for Blue Note and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001. He reformed the group for a concert in 2006 with young musicians from his alma mater, the University of North Texas. He released three RareNoise albums with the reformed group, with a fourth on the way.

    He also took Animation to perform at a music festival in Iran in February of this year, with Pete Clagett on trumpet, Jair-Rohm Parker Wells on bass, Roberto Verastegui on piano, and and Matt Young on drums. They were the first American jazz musicians to perform in the country since its 1979 Islamic revolution. A film crew traveled with the musicians for a forthcoming documentary.

    Belden and Hagans also brought Animation to perform in WBGO's studios in 2011, where they spoke with Josh Jackson. We'd like to share that special session and conversation with you again now.

    Farewell Bob and thank you!

  • WBGO Says Farewell to Bruce Lundvall

    May 19, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: RIP

    WBGO says goodbye to friend and music lover extraordinaire Bruce Lundvall, who passed away today at 79 from complications of Parkinsons' Disease.

    lundvall669

    Born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1935, Lundvall fell under the spell of jazz on Manhattan's 52nd Street in his teens. He rose from an entry-level job at Columbia Records to lead the label in North America for two decades. He nurtured the careers of - among many others - Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, and Wynton Marsalis, James Taylor and Willie Nelson.

    Lundvall then ran Blue Note Records for nearly three decades. He took over the dormant label in 1984, and turned it into a powerhouse that celebrated artists from the label's golden age, such as McCoy Tyner and Joe Henderson, and supported new talent, including singers Norah Jones, Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson.

    Bruce was an honoree at WBGO's Champions of Jazz Gala in 2012. In this excerpt, record producer Tommy LiPuma describes meeting Lundvall for the first time in the 1970s, and discovering their shared love of jazz, although both worked extensively - and very successfully - with pop acts at the time:

    Artists whose careers he championed - including singer Bobby McFerrin and Paquito D'Rivera, who Lundvall brought to New York from Cuba with Irakere in 1978 to record a Grammy-winning album, expressed their thanks and performed songs Bruce had chosen for the occasion.

    In this excerpt, McFerrin tells the story of how Lundvall agreed to back his 1984 solo album The Voice, which became a platinum-seller for Elektra:

    "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you very much!" said a beaming McFerrin, summing up the feelings of everyone in the room after he sang two of Lundvall's bebop favorites - Charlie Parker's "Scrapple From The Apple" and  Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight."

    Thank you, Bruce, from all of us. Because of you, the music you loved lives on in our hearts and minds, and in generations to come.