WBGO Blog
  • The Legacy Of The Jazz Organ In Philadelphia

    April 22, 2015

    image
    Rich Budesa was one of six organists to perform. (Image Credit: WXPN)

    In mid-century Philadelphia, dozens of organists reshaped jazz into a popular, swinging, danceable contemporary music. Often in trios with drums and guitar or saxophone, these organ players made church instruments into portable orchestras — a tradition that continues to the present day in Philadelphia.

    Jazz Night In America visits Philadelphia's World Café Live, where WXPN, WRTI and the Philadelphia Jazz Project organized a tribute to three native sons and daughters of the organ tradition: Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott and Charles Earland. Many top local performers help explain what made their city's jazz organ culture thrive.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Akua Dixon At Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival

    April 22, 2015

    image
    Akua Dixon. (Image Credit: Jose Iorio/Courtesy of the artist)

    It's not as if there were ever clear paths for cello players beyond the European classical tradition, but Akua Dixon made one for herself. The New York City native found work in the pit band of the Apollo Theater, the multi-racial Symphony of the New World, and the bands of many jazz musicians — including drummer Max Roach's Double Quartet. As she developed her jazz chops, she also started her own string quartet, featured prominently on her new self-titled album. Akua Dixon also features her crafty arranging for strings over jazz standards and Afro-Latin grooves.

    Jazz Night In America visits Sistas' Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn — a year-round venue which also helps to present an annual month-long grassroots festival in the heavily African-American neighborhood — to take in Akua Dixon's performance at the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival. In addition to the string ensemble featured on her latest album, Dixon is also joined by her two children: vocalist Andromeda Turre and drummer Orion Turre.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz In Concert

    April 21, 2015

    image
    Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    The public youth music education program known as El Sistema has reached hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, largely through participation in classical music ensembles. In 2007, drummer Andrés Briceño and head of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music Valdemar Rodríguez introduced a jazz program to El Sistema, with the goal of promoting the music throughout Venezuela. The flagship ensemble, Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, presents the work of both American jazz masters and Venezuelan composers, and like its orchestral counterparts, has now toured the U.S.

    Jazz Night In America presents Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz during a recent stateside sojourn, from Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola within New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .