WBGO Blog
  • Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Anticipates the Fourth of July on JazzSet

    June 26, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    12 06 21 VJOSign_Duke

    Thanks to our colleagues at WBGO and NPR Music, this week JazzSet brings you a treasure of a band. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has achieved dazzling longevity, assembled a huge book of charts, and features one of New York's finest and bravest in every chair. Check this out:

    Of course in 46 years, there have been personnel changes beginning with the singer. Host Dee Dee Bridgewater launched her career at The Vanguard with the original Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra from 1970-74. No one has replaced her. Thad had a nickname for her; she reveals it on JazzSet.

    Celebrating their anniversary, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra plays compositions by Jones and Bob Brookmeyer, Thad's successor as Musical Director. They wrap up waving the flag with a number Jones wrote for the Bicentennial, 7/4/76.   "My Centennial" has an irresistible melody led by the trumpets, with fireworks.

    Listen at 6:30 tomorrow evening, Wednesday, June 27. Or click here for JazzSet on demand. Happy Fourth!

  • Abbey Lincoln Songbook on JazzSet

    June 15, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Abbey Lincoln used to call her songs "little ditties." That's what her pianist James Weidman told us when we played a WBGO recording of her from The Peppermint, a jazz club in New Jersey, on JazzSet. It comes from the 1980s, and Abbey was introducing her album Talking to the Sun. This is the cover photo.

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    Those little ditties contain amazing images. It's as though we can be with Abbey Lincoln all over again as Cassandra Wilson sings "Talking to the Sun," Dee Dee Bridgewater chooses "Another World" (singing it made her cry), and Dianne Reeves soars on"Bird Alone." All three whistle and trill on "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It may be my favorite moment of this Tribute to Abbey Lincoln from the Kennedy Center. Hear it Sunday, June 17, at 6pm .. Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30 .. or any time at wbgo.org/jazzset.

    Bridgewater, Musical Director Terri Lyne Carrington, Wilson and Reeves
    Bridgewater, Musical Director Terri Lyne Carrington, Wilson and Reeves
  • Twofer from Detroit Jazz Festival on JazzSet: Sean Jones, Jeff Tain Watts

    June 11, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Marcus Strickland in the Jeff Tain Watts Four .. photo by Jeff Forman, DJF
    Marcus Strickland in the Jeff Tain Watts Four .. photo by Jeff Forman, DJF

    From last summer's end, to set the stage for a new festival season, listen to JazzSet.

    Trumpeter Sean Jones leads his group in music from his CD No Need for Words. Then Marcus Strickland (above) -- with Lawrence Fields, piano; Christian McBride, bass; and 2011 DJF Artist in Residence Jeff Tain Watts on drums -- brings full focus to Tain's closing set, especially the sign-off piece, "Attainment."

    Hear a sample in the promo above. Come back for more, Wednesday at 6:30pm.

    For info about some of this summer's festivals, click here and scroll down to the WBGO Festival Calendar.