• Diane Schuur Interview with Michael Bourne

    March 18, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Diane Schuur

    Pianist and singer extraordinaire Diane Schuur, better known to jazz insiders as "Deedles," visits WBGO to talk about her new record "Some Other Time," from Concord Records. During her interview with Michael Bourne, she reveals her passion for Dinah Washington, and the difficulties of formally teaching herself music as a sightless person.

    Listen to her full interview here.

  • Nat King Cole Born Today

    March 17, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    As the luck of the Irish would have it, Nathaniel Adams Cole , aka Nat King Cole, was born on this date. Most people know him more as the singer of "Nature Boy" than of "Danny Boy."
    I think I love Nat Cole's piano playing as much as, if not more than, I love his smoky voice. Years ago, I spent college scholarship money on the 18-CD set on Mosaic Records, The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio. 349 songs from 1942-1961. Now out of print...
    I suppose that technically counted as an education expense, right?
    Anyway, here's a video of Nat Cole playing "Tea for Two." Listen for the "Foggy Day" quote in his introduction, and to his "Rhapsody in Blue" reference in his solo. - Josh


  • JazzSet Recording Jonathan Batiste Tonight at Jazz Standard

    March 17, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

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    Do you wonder where JazzSet gets our music? Tonight, March 17, we'll be at Jazz Standard on E. 27th between Park & Lex to record the young New Orleans pianist and Juilliard student Jonathan Batiste. Sets at 7:30 and 9:30, with Duuuke Markos doing the mix, WBGO's Yujin Cha and Josh Webb assisting. See you there!

    This past Friday, Chris Willis recorded the SF JAZZ Collective at Chicago Symphony Center for JazzSet.

    Becca Pulliam, JS Producer

  • Othella Dallas Interview with Michael Bourne

    March 14, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Othella Dallas

    Othella Dallas - what a name! You can visualize it now, brilliantly flashing on a marquee. It may already ring familiar to your ear. She was once a rising vocal talent in America, singing at the Apollo in the mid 1950's with Sammy Davis Jr., Sonny Stitt, and King Curtis. After she landed the lead role in New York's production of "Jump for Joy," Duke Ellington composed two songs for her. But you probably don't know this - I didn't. She curbed her singing career in America to launch a ballet school in Switzerland, one that would become very successful. Now she returns to New York and joins Michael Bourne to tell her incredible story. - Simon

    Listen to the interview by clicking here.

  • Terence Blanchard Talks Miles and Jack Johnson

    March 13, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

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    md-jj.jpgToday is the birthday of trumpeter, composer, film scorer Terence Blanchard. Mr. Blanchard was one of our guests on our newest podcast series We Insist! Jazz Speaks Out, which delves into the contributions Jazz has made in the social and political movements throughout African-American history.

    It's always a treat to talk to Terence Blanchard, but this was particularly gratifying. To hear a legend in his own right, who is one of the heros of my generation speak about Miles, who is everyone's hero, and then to discuss Miles' tribute to heavyweight legend and phenom Jack Johnson was one of the most interesting conversations I've had. It's a domino of some of the most creative beings in Black culture - American culture.

    In many respects, Jack Johnson and Miles Davis have a lot in common. They both faced the trials of racism, both were unapologetic about who they were as men and both relished the lavish lifestyle afforded them by their professions. The album, A Tribute to Jack Johnson was the soundtrack for a documentary on the fighter. It was released on Columbia Records and didn't get a very strong marketing push. For the most part, this classic album fell into relative obscurity.

    But with the reissue and the release of the "complete sessions", this gem was brought back into the light, and this time not to be ingnored. So much more was learned about Jack Johnson by the time this was reissued, with the Ken Burns special and other documentaries and musical homages. Check out the podcast, and listen to Terence Blanchard speak about how this groundbreaking album affected him, and how the times affected Miles' new sound and approach.