• Roseanna Vitro & Mark Soskin Live At WBGO: Listen Now

    May 4, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Singer Roseanna Vitro and pianist Mark Soskin perform live at WBGO and are interviewed by Michael Bourne to celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30, 2015. Enjoy!


  • WBGO's Sheila Anderson: Carmen's Time

    April 30, 2015. Posted by Sheila Anderson.

    We know many great singers by their first names: Ella, Sarah, Abbey and Carmen (McRae, that is).

    Now we have another  Carmen - Lundy, that is!

    Photo by Mark Hanauer

    Like Abbey, this Carmen is multitalented: a composer, arranger, and actress. She is also painter, whose artwork has been exhibited in New York and Los Angeles.

    Soul to Soul, Carmen's latest album and her fourteenth,  features 13 songs, 11 of which she composed and arranged.

    She plays guitar on all tracks, piano on “Kindred Spirits,” the electric Rhodes piano on “Don’t You Know How I Feel,” and the drums/percussion on “Sardegna” and also provides backing vocals on “Grace.”

    My introduction to Carmen was twenty years ago, when I began hosting “Sunday Morning Harmony.” Her haunting rendition of Victor Lewis’s “Big Girls,” as well as "Moment to Moment" by Henry Mancini, the title track of her third album, grabbed me.

    She has impeccable intonation, loves harmony that makes her very accessible, easy to listen to.

    Carmen is not an imitator, but an innovator, who learned from her influences. From Ella she heard her scatting, range, diction and swing, from Billie, how to sing a lyric and emotion, telling a story and from Sarah, how she dealt with her vocal range.

    We met in the late nineties, soon after she moved from New York to Los Angeles. She had come back to sing at the now defunct Sweet Basil nightclub.

    The club was packed with loyal fans - one of whom I’d become.

    Photo by James St. Laurent
    Photo by James St. Laurent

    What I love about Carmen is her toughness, single mindedness, fortitude, passion, humor and grace.

    For over four decades, she has excelled at being one of the few who mostly sings and performs her own material, much of it autobiographical.

    Her lauded album and DVD combo, Jazz and the New Songbook-Live at the Madrid, is another great body of work where she, with the help of incredible musicians, brilliantly presents her songs.  In this we can see that Carmen is, in the words of Marian McPartland, a luminous, hauntingly dramatic and an enchanting performer.

    4P.1DS.2.QXD Group

    In my opinion, Carmen Lundy is the “real deal,” deserving of wider recognition.  I believe, from soul to soul, that her star will continue to shine!

  • WBGO's Lezlie Harrison: "You Gotta Move!"

    April 30, 2015. Posted by Lezlie Harrison.

    I learned a lot in the alto section of the young adult choir in my grandfather’s North Carolina church.

    There, in the front row directly behind the pulpit, I witnessed the effect the choir’s selections, and the preacher’s sermon, had on the congregation.

    Together, we were able to stir souls, and ease whatever troubles lay heavy on the mind.

    As performers, we possessed the power to move the audience to “get happy,” do the “holy dance,” cry, shout and release. I loved that. That’s what I wanted to do.


    Singers, like preachers, are storytellers. We are responsible for giving our audience a true and deeply heartfelt experience in hopes of lifting someone’s spirit.

    On my way to becoming a professional singer, I had the good fortune to spend many hours in the company - both on and off the stage - with singers who could really deliver lyrics.

    Shirley Horn, Jimmy Scott, Carmen McRae, Phyllis Hyman, and Abbey Lincoln are the most memorable to me. Here’s Shirley:

    These singers draw you in, hold your attention and make you feel their truth. The beautiful, the bad - even the ugly truth.

    Telling tales of love, or the lack thereof. Tales of wars, winning and losing, with heartfelt delivery.

    I call upon the spirit of these great storytellers and ask for guidance before each performance.


    On a recent tour through Russia with an all-Russian band, I played before audiences who understood about as much English as I did Russian - zilch!

    After every performance, I was greeted by some with smiling faces, tears in their eyes, full of  appreciation for the music we’d just played.

    Young, old, bankers, clergy, teachers – all just regular folks, groovin’ and swingin’ to the tales being sung.

    I will continue to move the audience with the very best in song!. As we celebrate vocalists  during Jazz Appreciation Month at WBGO, I express my gratitude to all the great storytellers who inspired me to tell my own.


    - WBGO announcer Lezlie Harrison is also a vocalist, bandleader, and actor

    Contact: Lezlie@lezlieharrison.net, Facebook, Follow MzLezlie on Twitter