WBGO Blog
  • Musical Cannibalism With Cyro Baptista

    November 10, 2016

    Anthropofagia — cultural cannibalism — is a concept based on an essay published by the poet and father of Brazilian modernism, Oswald de Andrade. A passage from that "Manifesto Antropofagico" reads:

    "Only cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically. The unique law of the world. The masked expression of all individualism and collective movement."

    Brazilian "percussionista" Cyro Baptista has applied this philosophy to create ingenious music for more than five decades.

    "Everything that comes from outside," he says. "We eat and we digest and regurgitate and eat again and again and again. That's what happened in Brazil, and now that's what happened with all of us, no? Like we all eating each other. We have Facebook, the tweet — all of that is a food plate."

    Baptista transcends borders and style. In the world of Brazilian percussion, few players have shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, Trey Anastasio of Phish, and Sting. This Jazz Night In America concert showcases Baptista's experimental and funk undertones as he performs traditional Brazilian grooves like forro and samba. We'll also visit Home Depot and take a trip into the woods to see how he creates a new percussion instrument for his arsenal.

    PERFORMERS

    Cyro Baptista (percussion, vocals), Brian Marsella (piano), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass), John Lee (guitar), Felipe Hostins (accordion), Gil Oliveira (drums).

    CREDITS

    Producers: Nick Michael, Alex Ariff, Colin Marshall, Justin Bias; Editor: Nick Michael; Audio Editor: Suraya Mohamed; Music Recording & Mix: Rob Macomber; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Production Assistants: Nikki Boliaux, Josie Holtzman; Field Audio: Alex Ariff; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann, Amy Niles. Special Thanks: Eleonora Alberto, Alessandro Alberto Ciari. Funded in part by: The Argus Fund, Doris Duke Foundation, The National Endowment For The Arts, The Wyncote Foundation

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

    November 3, 2016

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    Billy Strayhorn (right), spent the majority of his career as a composer and arranger for Duke Ellington (left) and his orchestra. (Image Credit: David Redfern/Getty Images)

    The fruitful collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington is widely known to have brought us such classics as "Take The 'A' Train," "Chelsea Bridge" and "Isfahan." But behind the music, Strayhorn's life and identity were complex.

    While composing some of the most harmonically rich jazz of its time — often in Ellington's shadow — Strayhorn was an outlier in that he led an openly gay life as a black man in the 1940s, an era rife with homophobia and racism.

    In this episode of Jazz Night In America, hear interviews with Strayhorn's family members and biographer, along with rare archival tape of Strayhorn himself. You'll also hear Strayhorn's music performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, including pianist Johnny O'Neal's rendition of "Lush Life."

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Down Home In Treme With John Boutté And Shannon Powell

    October 27, 2016

    There may be no better place than New Orleans to explore the ties of family and tradition in jazz. This episode of Jazz Night in America visits the Crescent City to hear two local musical giants: singer John Boutté and drummer Shannon Powell. The video documentary presents highlights from their shared concert at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center, while the radio episode also spends time with each of them at their homes, tracing their familial roots and exploring why they've chosen to stay local.

    Powell was born and raised in Treme, one of the U.S.'s oldest black neighborhoods. He took us down the street to his church, where he grew up with a tambourine in one hand and a Bible in the other. For Powell, the church has always been a place where music and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.

    Boutté, too, says he's Treme to the bone; his large Creole-Catholic family goes back generations in New Orleans. He, like Powell, grew up playing music in the church. Though he went to college for business, he returned to his musical roots when he realized that the human voice was powerful enough to move people to tears of joy or pain.

    Boutté and Powell capture the essence of this music and this city as only two natives can. Each man displays that particularly New Orleans sense of pride and swagger, rooted in the church and combined with a deep sense of family, musical and cultural history.

    PERFORMERS

    Shannon Powell (drums, vocals), John Boutté (vocals, tambourine), Roderick Paulin (soprano sax), Chris Severin (electric bass), Charlie Gabriel (tenor sax), Kyle Roussel (piano), Todd Duke (guitar), Loren Pickford (alto sax, flute), Mark McGrain (trombone), Christopher Kohl (clarinet), Wendell Brunious (trumpet), Herman LeBeaux (drums), Nobu Ozaki (bass).

    CREDITS

    Producers: Alex Ariff, Josie Holtzman, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Consultants: Scott Aiges, Paul Maasen; Editors: Claire Collins, Nick Michael; Audio Supervisor: Suraya Mohamed; Production Assistant: Nikki Boliaux; Concert Audio Engineer: Damond Jacob; Concert Mix: David Tallacksen; Videographers: Alex Ariff, Josie Holtzman, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Concert Production Manager: Jason Doyle; Host: Christian McBride; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann, Amy Niles; Special Thanks: Paul Siegel, WWNO, WWOZ, The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center; Funded in part by: The Argus Fund, Doris Duke Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Wyncote Foundation

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Herbie Hancock's Latest Voyage

    October 20, 2016

    Herbie Hancock always seems to be on some kind of voyage. Whether he's improvising in a spaceship surrounded by 11 keyboards or forming new iterations of bands, you can always count on him to push the possibilities and the boundaries of jazz.

    This concert presentation includes the most recent member of the group: Flying Lotus and Terrace Martin on keyboards and alto saxophone. It also features Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, James Genus on bass, and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums.

    On this radio episode, Jazz Night in America host Christian McBride sits down with Hancock to discuss his technological journey over the years. We'll also hear stories from Herbie's longtime keyboard tech, Bryan Bell, and a testimonial from Paris Strother, keyboard player for the R&B trio KING.

    Performers

    Herbie Hancock (piano, keytar, vocals), James Genus (bass), Trevor Lawrence, Jr. (drums), Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals), Terrace Martin (keyboards, vocals, alto saxophone)

    Credits

    Producers: Alex Ariff, Patrick Jarenwattananon, Colin Marshall, Simon Rentner, Katie Simon; Editors: Colin Marshall, Nikki Boliaux; Audio Engineer: David Tallacksen; Concert Videographers: Colin Marshall, Nick Michael, Olivia Merrion, Chris Parks, AJ Wilhelm; Host, Christian McBride; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann, Amy Niles; Special Thanks: Jay Eigenmann, Simon Rentner; Concert Produced By: This Is Our Music/Brice Rosenbloom, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival/Jack Walsh; Funded in part by: The Argus Fund, Doris Duke Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Wyncote Foundation

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

    October 13, 2016

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    Oliver Jones. (Image Credit: Michael Slobodian/Michael Slobodian)

    Oliver Jones may be the most famous living jazz pianist you've never heard of. But in Canada, Jones is a hero — adored in his native Quebec and across the country for helping to build a vibrant jazz scene that can sustain the country's top musicians.

    A serious talent and a tireless advocate for Canadian jazz, Jones is a champion for local musicians — a folk hero of sorts. You can find his images on the sides of buildings and on his very own postage stamp. He's also a serious talent with charisma and charm that's been winning over fans for years.

    This week on Jazz Night In America, we'll introduce you to the 81-year-old ambassador for jazz — a former protege of another great Canadian pianist, Oscar Peterson. Here, Jones sits down with Peterson's daughter to discuss what jazz means to Canada and what Canada means to him.

    Jones celebrated his retirement this year with a special sold-out trio performance at the Montreal Jazz festival. Jazz Night was there to bid him farewell.

    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.