WBGO Blog
  • If You Were A Jazz Tune Running For President, What Would You Sound Like?

    February 27, 2016. Posted by WBGO.

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    Marcus Roberts' Race for the White House is a set of jazz compositions inspired by presidential candidates Trump, Carson, Clinton and Sanders. (Image Credit: /Courtesy of the artist)

    Presidential campaigns may inspire people to vote, but they rarely inspire people to compose music. Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts takes up the challenge on a new EP called Race for the White House, which explores the personas of four different candidates from this year's election cycle.

    One of those candidates is Donald Trump; you can hear the song Roberts wrote to represent him below. It features a whistle, which he says is meant to express a particular vision of Trump.

    "That symbolizes Donald just looking over his vast estate and just chilling and just having a great time," Roberts says. "And then the trumpet interrupts him just to make a bold statement of, 'I'm going to make America great again, all by myself.'"

    Roberts says he was inspired by the unique personalities of the presidential hopefuls, and the challenges they face in communicating with potential voters.

    "It's almost like you have to get into other people's experiences so that they can see their experience in you, and vice-versa," he says. "And I think that's a very important component of what's going on right now in America. I think everybody wants to feel like they're being understood and related to, as opposed to preached to or told what they should think."

    Roberts lost his sight at age 5, so he's never actually seen these candidates. But, he says, you can learn a lot about politicians by listening to them — things you might miss just looking at them.

    "If a person is nervous, they might talk a little faster — or, if they're really in command, they may project more of a louder voice," he says. "If they're really happy, they might use a higher pitch. There's a lot of information there when you hear people talk."

    Roberts discussed translating those traits and tics into music with NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.

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

  • Singer Denise Donatelli Talks to Eulis Cathey

    February 26, 2016

    Denise Donatelli talks to Eulis Cathey about her musical journey from high school classical piano lessons to three-time Grammy nominated jazz singer.

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  • Grammy-Winning Drummer and Producer Terri Lynn Carrington Talks to Eulis Cathey

    February 26, 2016

    Terri Lynn Carrington joins Eulis Cathey to discuss her latest recording, The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul, the follow-up to her all-female 2011 Grammy award winner. Natalie Cole's final recording, a rendition of Ellington's Come Sunday, is heard among collaborations with Nancy Wilson, Valerie Simpson as well as a look back at Carrington's storied career.

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  • Snarky Puppy: 'Music For The Brain And Booty'

    February 25, 2016

    The large instrumental band Snarky Puppy, which just won its second Grammy Award, is hard to pin down to one place. Its core is now in New York, but its members have toured and recorded all over the world, and their spiritual home is still Dallas, Texas. It's where they'd take in gospel performances in area churches; it's near where they initially met at music school at the University of North Texas in Denton. As bassist and bandleader Michael League explains, you can hear all those collisions in the pocket of their complex and beyond-category grooves. Snarky Puppy makes what it calls "music for the brain and booty" alike.

    Jazz Night In America recently flew to Dallas to visit Mike League's old stomping grounds and take a deep dive into his fascinating compositional process. Then we witness its execution in a sold-out, live, hometown Snarky Puppy concert at The Door in Dallas.

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

  • Sheila Anderson Talks to Igor Butman on Salon Sessions

    February 25, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Sheila Anderson speaks to Russian-born saxophonist, arranger, and band-leader Igor Butman, who Bill Clinton once called his "favorite living saxophone player." They discuss his latest recording, Igor Butman and Friends, as well as his performances with Dave Brubeck and Walter Davis, Jr.


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