WBGO Blog
  • Ellis Marsalis At 80

    December 11, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Ellis Marsalis celebrated his 80th birthday in performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Ellis Marsalis has four famous musical sons — Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis — but considering his career, he's a father figure for many more musicians. In high school and college classrooms, he's been the major figure in New Orleans jazz education since the time that formal jazz education didn't exist. And as a pianist, he carved out a space for contemporary jazz in his hometown, and has grown into an elder statesman of the scene.

    He turned 80 in November, and to celebrate, Jazz at Lincoln Center — where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director — hosted him and his band at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Jazz Night In America was in the house for Ellis Marsalis' birthday.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Ellis Marsalis' 80th Birthday Concert

    December 10, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Ellis Marsalis celebrates his 80th birthday in concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Ellis Marsalis is a father figure of modern jazz — in quite a few ways. As a pianist, he was among the first generation of musicians to bring bebop to New Orleans, and even worked with Ornette Coleman before the saxophonist recorded his landmarks of free jazz. As an educator, many great musicians came through Marsalis' tutelage, whether in New Orleans' arts high school or at various university programs. And of course, he is also the actual father of several exceptional musicians named Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis.

    He turned 80 in November, and to celebrate, Jazz at Lincoln Center — where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director — hosted him and his band. Jazz Night In America fetes Ellis Marsalis with a special birthday performance from Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

    Set List

    • "Monkey Puzzle" (James Black)
    • "Homecoming" (Ellis Marsalis)
    • "Bloomdido" (Charlie Parker)
    • "Beautiful Old Ladies" (Harold Battiste)
    • "Sweet Georgia Brown" (Bernie/Pinkard)
    • "Creole Love Call" (Duke Ellington)
    • "Happy Birthday" [encore with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra]

    Personnel

    Ellis Marsalis, piano; Derek Douget, saxophones; Jason Stewart, bass; Herlin Riley, drums.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Johnny O'Neal: Listen, Closely

    December 4, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Johnny O'Neal performs at Mezzrow. (Image Credit: NPR)

    Mezzrow is New York City's newest listening room: an intimate club for solo and duo performers where silence and attention are more than encouraged. It's a bit of a throwback, as is its Monday night host Johnny O'Neal. A virtuoso who shot onto the scene in the 1980s, the pianist is now re-establishing his presence in New York after decades off the radar. And on Mondays, he holds court at Mezzrow, singing the blues and welcoming guest after guest onto the tiny stage.

    Jazz Night in America stops into the Greenwich Village club to listen closely.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • SpokFrevo Orquestra: Carnival And Jazz

    November 19, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    The SpokFrevo Orquestra is led by the saxophonist known as Maestro Spok. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    During Carnival in Brazil, music fills the streets. And often that music is frevo, a genre drawing from marches, Brazilian quadrilha, polka and classical music.

    The SpokFrevo Orquestra brings a jazz-influenced take to that joyous celebration. Fronted by virtuoso saxophonist and arranger Inaldo Cavalcante de Albuquerque, better known as Spok, the 17-piece orchestra presents an adventurous program featuring special guests Melissa Aldana (saxophone) and Wycliffe Gordon (trombone) inside the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Jazz Night in America offers highlights from this exhilarating performance, while tracing the origins of Brazilian Carnival music.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Very Very Henry Threadgill

    November 13, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Henry Threadgill conducts the Society Situation Dance Band at the Very Very Threadgill festival. (Image Credit: Shahar Azran/Courtesy of Harlem Stage)

    Henry Threadgill's music has always pushed boundaries. Two tubas with two guitars, a "sextett" with seven members, a free-improvising trio with an instrument made of hubcaps, a dance orchestra: Nothing is off the table.

    The saxophonist, flutist and composer turned 70 this year. To celebrate, Harlem Stage presented a special two-day concert through the lens of his various groundbreaking ensembles, curated by pianist Jason Moran. Threadgill watched from the audience as dozens of musicians from all throughout his trajectory gathered in Harlem Stage's unique uptown venue to present a rare retrospective of his work.

    Credits

    Special thanks to Harlem Stage. Funding for the production of Very Very Threadgill was made possible by the generous support provided by the Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Family Foundation, Roland Augustine and Lawrence Luhring, Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt, Deborah and Ronald Eisenberg Family Foundation, Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation, Connie and Jack Tilton, and Monica and David Zwirner.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

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