Keanna Faircloth

Host, Afternoon Jazz

Keanna Faircloth is a Washington, DC native and comes to WBGO getting her start on-air at WPFW 89.3 FM in 2003, most recently as the host of Late Night Jazz: The Continuum Experience. She is a graduate of Howard University having majored in Music History with a minor in Classical Piano. Keanna has written for NPR Music, and worked for Radio One as an on-air personality, producer and voice-over talent. She has interviewed artists like Wynton Marsalis, Matthew Whitaker, Jonathan Butler, and Dionne Warwick. As a result, she was recognised by Radio Ink Magazine as a 2019 African-American leader in radio.

In the realm of television, she has hosted a Jazz lifestyle magazine television series called, “Jazz Encounters“, as well as the self produced YouTube series "...It Was All a Dream". Keanna is excited to join the WBGO family as the host of Afternoon Jazz. Her mission to connect the Jazz of yesteryear to the sound of today is what drives her, and she plans to continue to perpetuate the idea of "Sankofa" - to "go back and get it" - in an effort to ensure the future of Jazz for generations to come.


Jazz vocalist Melissa Walker founded Jazz House Kids 18 years ago, after her voice was severely affected and silenced for over a year due to an allergy. She had been pondering a way to give the gift of jazz to young people, as she strongly felt the guidance she received coming up was key to her navigating the business.

Fanny Delsol

On this episode of The Pulse, Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Jarrett Cherner (adorably joined at times by their cat, Raj), discuss the process of creating their new album, Tone; working creatively as life partners; and producing music in a “new normal.”

Russell Hall is a graduate of Julliard, and an acclaimed bassist and activist from Kingston, Jamaica. Although he has yet to assume citizenship in the United States, he feels there is so much at stake in this year's election.

Courtesy of the artist

If you’re unfamiliar with James Francies, it is surely just a matter of time; he’s on a steady trajectory to becoming a household name.

Courtesy of the artist

Grit. Depth. Maturity.

The mood of Brianna Thomas’ sophomore effort, Everybody Knows, embodies the experience of living in a climate wrought with polarizing emotions. Self-released and produced by the Grammy award-winning Brian Bacchus, with liner notes from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Miller, the album certainly finds Thomas in great company.

courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter Candice Hoyes carefully curates everything she presents to the world. She has made it her mission to perpetuate positive imagery of Black women and girls through her empowering creative content and social media footprint.

Robert Adam Mayer

JSWISS is a hip-hop artist who’s no stranger to the jazz club.

Michael Olatuja might as well be called “The Great Connector.”

His entire life story has comprised a series of connections, which converge on his latest work, Lagos Pepper Soup. The London-born, Lagos-raised bassist describes this album’s sound as “Cinematic Afrobeat,” and it’s a sonic experience of epic proportions.

Braxton Cook is a textbook example of what it means to blend genres while holding fast to the jazz vocabulary.

From go-to sidemen to artists who just never coveted the limelight, jazz is full of heroes who deserve more shine. Unsung is a new series on Afternoon Jazz that seeks to uncover those musicians that are key pieces in the jazz tapestry and beyond. 

A self-proclaimed introvert, Nicholas Payton has found his “bag” while in quarantine.

Before I moved from my hometown of Washington, D.C., I would constantly spot New Jersey license plates almost daily as I rode in my car. This went on for about two years prior to the first major move I’ve ever made.

Since moving here in October 2019 to host Afternoon Jazz, so many "firsts" have happened for me. Never would I have imagined spinning at the legendary Apollo Theater, finding myself in The New York Times, or living alone in a new city in the midst of a global pandemic!

Courtesy of the artist

Miles Davis will forever be etched in history for the way he continually evolved musically. He effortlessly transformed with the times, moving from bebop to fusion — as did his style.

Elizabeth Leitzell

Lakecia Benjamin stepped out on faith to produce her latest work. So much so that she exhausted her savings to bring it to fruition.

Courtesy of the artist

Warren Wolf has established himself as one of the go-to vibraphonists of his generation.

Whether working with the SFJAZZ Collective or with bassist Christian McBride, this Baltimore native has proven himself to be a master of the straight-ahead sound, in the vein of his predecessors Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson.

Miles Davis led such a prismatic and changeable career that any attempt at summation is destined to feel incomplete.

But the 2019 documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool does an impressive job of it, portraying the trumpeter in his myriad phases and moods, and in an unvarnished yet sympathetic light.

Courtesy of the artist

For many, violinist Regina Carter set the blueprint for genre-blending. With nearly a dozen recordings in her catalog, she has been a major influence for string artists like Chelsey Green, The String Queens, Black Violin, Scott Tixier and more.

George Burton’s concept for Reciprocity is one of honest and intentional give and take — a fluid exchange of musical ideas that create a positive, energy-shifting vibe.

As I listened to the crystal-clear vocals of Alexa Barchini meld with Tim Warfield’s soprano saxophone during this Afternoon Jazz session, any anxious feelings I’d been harboring instantly fell away.

Shervin Lainez

Cecily is a vocalist whose instrument truly mirrors her demeanor: tender, honest, and powerful. Since her 2018 album Songs of Love and Freedom was touted by Bandcamp as “The Best New Soul,” the music industry has been buzzing about her.


Bassist Dezron Douglas has established himself as a Musician’s Musician.

Since moving to New York several year ago, he has performed and recorded with a staggering array of jazz artists, including drummers Louis Hayes, Al Foster and Michael Carvin; pianists George Cables and Cyrus Chestnut; and saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Vincent Herring. 

Delphine Diallo

Thought provoking. Conscience awakening. A call to action. Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science’s new album, Waiting Game (Motéma), is a direct response to the current sociopolitical climate in America.

Keanna Faircloth / WBGO

Samara McLendon took first place in the eighth annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, also known as the Sassy Awards.

Courtesy of the artist

After placing third in the 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Christine Fawson returns this year with renewed energy and focus.

Courtesy of the artist

Daniela Spalletta is a prime example of music being a universal language. The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition brings her to the United States for the very first time in her life.

Peter Tilley

Viktorija Gečytė started singing early in life. Although she didn’t come from a musical family, she has always been drawn to music; she would often hitchhike to music festivals around Lithuania, her home country.

Courtesy of the artist

It’s baffling to know that Samara McLendon only started singing about six years ago, let alone singing jazz within the last two.

Courtesy of the artist

Raised in Harlem, NY, Vivian Sessoms truly “gets it honest.” Her mother was a session and jingle singer. Her father, a former flutist and percussionist for James Brown. Music was always around in her household, and her talent was apparent early on.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

When Pedrito Martínez extended his hand for an introductory shake, I noticed how similar its texture is to the skin of a conga — as if his hands have literally become one with his instrument.