Nate Chinen

Director of Editorial Content

Nate Chinen joined WBGO as the Director of Editorial Content at the start of 2017. In addition to overseeing a range of coverage at WBGO.org, he works closely with programs including Jazz Night in America and The Checkout, and contributes to a range of jazz programming on NPR.

Before joining the WBGO team. Chinen spent nearly a dozen years as a jazz and pop critic for the New York Times. He also wrote a long-running monthly column and assorted features for JazzTimes. He is a ten-time winner of the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Writing, presented by the Jazz Journalists Association. The same organization presented him with its award for Best Book About Jazz, for his work on Myself Among Others, the autobiography of impresario George Wein.

Chinen was born in Honolulu, to a musical family: his parents were popular nightclub entertainers, and he grew up around the local Musicians Union. He went to college on the east coast and began writing about jazz in 1996, at the Philadelphia City Paper. His byline has also appeared in a range of national music publications, including DownBeat, Blender and Vibe. For several years he was the jazz critic for Weekend America, a radio program syndicated by American Public Media. And from 2003 to 2005 he covered jazz for the Village Voice.

Ways to Connect

Daniel Azoulay

Artemis, the all-star septet formed by pianist Renee Rosnes, has signed to Blue Note Records.

Steve Mundinger / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz has announced 12 semifinalists for its International Guitar Competition, to be held next month in Washington, D.C.

Previously known as the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, the Hancock Competition is among the most prominent events of its kind. Last year saw its first edition under the new title, reflecting a larger change in the institute’s branding; the instrumental focus was piano, and the winner was Tom Oren, who originally hails from Israel.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Dee Dee Bridgewater traveled a short psychic distance from guest of honor to star attraction at the 2019 WBGO Champions of Jazz Gala, on Wednesday night at Capitale in New York.

Blue Note Records

Take Five goes international this week, with artists from South Africa, Germany, Cuba, Spain, Israel and the UK.

Eye Wander; Fer Casillas; Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the Artists

No jazz instrument is more personal — or relatable — than the human voice.

Jazz singers come in every conceivable style, each with their own expressive signature. This episode of Jazz Night in America offers a chance to spend time with some of the brightest newer voices in the genre.

No jazz instrument is more personal — or relatable — than the human voice. Jazz singers come in every conceivable style, each with their own expressive signature. This episode of Jazz Night in America offers a chance to spend time with some of the brightest newer voices in the genre.

Keanna Faircloth has been a prominent and steadfast voice for jazz in Washington, D.C., her hometown, on both broadcast and digital signals. She begins a new era this week, making her official debut as the voice of Afternoon Jazz at WBGO.

Chris Drukker

Also: new music by Nicholas Payton, Michael Dease, Nels Cline with Yuka Honda, and Big Band of Brothers.

Jonathan Chimene / Courtesy of the artist

Here are a few indisputable truths about Andy Bey.

First things first: as he approaches 80, Bey occupies the first rank of living jazz singers. He has led a circuitous career — starting out as a prodigy, slipping into obscurity, experiencing a late renaissance. And he's an original: nobody else has ever sounded quite like him and it's almost certain nobody else ever will.

Here are a few indisputable truths about Andy Bey. First things first: as he approaches 80, Bey occupies the first rank of living jazz singers. He has led a circuitous career — starting out as a prodigy, slipping into obscurity, experiencing a late renaissance. And he's an original: nobody else has ever sounded quite like him and it's almost certain nobody else ever will.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

At one point during Dan Tepfer’s solo concert at the Yamaha Salon, I remarked that the occasion felt like a family reunion.

This was an acknowledgment of the setting. The Yamaha Salon, in midtown Manhattan, is like a second home to Tepfer: equal parts clubhouse, incubator and recording studio.

Béla Fleck, the world's preeminent banjo player, and Edmar Castañeda, a peerless master of the Colombian harp, share more than a penchant to pluck magic out of strings. Both musicians are keen listeners with lightning reflexes and the ability to pounce on any digression. They're both alchemists of style, unbound by the rules of genre.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

As a singer, a songwriter and a player of stringed instruments, Becca Stevens has thrived in almost every conceivable setting.

Chris Tobin / WBGO

Renée Neufville first performed “Something to Believe In (For Roy),” a paean to the irreplaceable trumpeter Roy Hargrove, during a concert in his memory on Jan. 8, 2019.

She’d finished writing the lyrics to the song just that morning, fitting them to music by Justin Robinson, the longtime saxophonist in Hargrove’s quintet.

Dimitry Medvedev

Also: Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski finesse the songs of Lerner & Loewe, and Tyshawn Sorey goes deep with Marilyn Crispell.

Jazz has a glorious history, but it's also a music of boundless curiosity, brash experimentation and an ever-changing set of tools. Such is the complex landscape covered by Jazz Night in America, which curates this playlist from music heard on the show. Consider it a modern jazz survey at ground level, from stone classics to state-of-the-art jams.

Deneka Peniston

Thelonious Monk, born on this day in 1917, has long been a lodestar for improvising musicians, and in particular those who followed in his footsteps as a pianist.

But we’ve also recently seen his legacy flourish in the hands of ambitious guitar players, including Bill Frisell, Steve Cardenas, Miles Okazaki — and now Pasquale Grasso, who has an EP titled Solo Monk releasing tomorrow on Sony Masterworks.

Jean-Marc Lubrano

And a classic throwback from the late pianist Johnny Costa.

Courtesy of the artist

Over the last decade, Oran Etkin has garnered sizeable acclaim as a clarinetist and composer, for music that few would characterize as child’s play.

Richard Wyands, a pianist whose articulate touch and sensitive phrasing made him a first-tier accompanist over a career spanning 75 years, died on Sept. 25 in New York. He was 91.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Larry Willis, whose ringing authority as a pianist extended to swinging post-bop, blaring jazz-rock, Cuban rumba and free improvisation, died on Sunday morning at the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. He was 76 and lived in Baltimore.

Concord Jazz

Along with two other recommended albums — a total of six. (We’re feeling generous.)

You don't have to look far, in 2019, to encounter the mystique of trumpeter Miles Davis. This month Rhino released Rubberband, a previously unheard, posthumously refurbished pop-funk studio album recorded in 1985.

Courtesy of the artist

The Latin Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences announced thier nominees for the 20th Annual Latin Grammy Awards today, with good news for pop-flamenco powerhouse Rosalía and pop star Alejandro Sanz. They're among a handful of Spanish artists who dominate this year's nominations, as observed by NPR's Felix Contreras in a piece for alt.Latino.

Paula Court / Whitney Museum of American Art

Pianist-composer Jason Moran has formed many relationships with visual artists over the last two decades, from Joan Jonas to Adrian Piper to Glenn Ligon. He’s now joining their ranks with a solo exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art.

Jason Moran, as the show is simply titled, opened today and will run through Jan. 5, 2020. Earlier this week, Nate Chinen spoke with Moran and curator Danielle Edwards for WBGO News.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Six years ago, soprano saxophonist Jane Bunnett merged her devotion to Afro-Cuban music with her commitment to women’s empowerment, and created Maqueque — a hard-charging group that has since toured the world, received a Grammy nomination and been the subject of a recent episode of Jazz Night in America.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Harold Mabern, a pianist of percussive fire and boundless soul, with a language that pulled from hard bop, post-bop, Memphis soul and the blues, died on Sept. 17 in New Jersey. He was 83.

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