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

Noe Cugny

Up until about five years ago, Cyrille Aimée had no particular relationship with the music of Stephen Sondheim.

Growing up in Samois-sur-Seine, France, she didn’t hear many of his peerless songs for the musical theater; she was more naturally immersed in global pop, French chansons, and the effervescent gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, which she eventually claimed as a signature.

Frans Schellekens / Redferns/Getty

Tony Williams already had a secure place on the Mount Rushmore of jazz drumming when he died, of cardiac arrest after routine surgery, in 1997.

He was only 51, but seasoned in the spotlight, with an imposing track record spanning several decades. He had been a head-turning prodigy with a genius for locomotion, rocketing to fame under the wing of Miles Davis, who later attested: “A drummer like Tony comes around only once in 30 years.”

George Lederer

We know it can be hard to shop for the jazz fan in your life. Especially in this day and age — when so much of our music arrives in digital form, or through a streaming service. So in this Holiday Gift Guide edition of Take Five I gathered 15 new releases, from throwback to ultramodern, that are well worth savoring as physical objects. 

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Renee Rosnes has seen her share of jazz supergroups. Thirty years ago, she held down the piano chair with Out of the Blue, a youthful all-star crew formed by Blue Note Records. She was a charter member of the SFJAZZ Collective. So she had a wealth of experience to draw from when she recently formed a supergroup of her own.

Renee Rosnes has seen her share of jazz supergroups. Thirty years ago, she held down the piano chair with Out of the Blue, a youthful all-star crew formed by Blue Note Records. She was a charter member of the SFJAZZ Collective. So she had a wealth of experience to draw from when she recently formed a supergroup of her own.

Danny Clinch

Thanksgiving is here — and with it, five new reasons to be thankful.

university of california press

Dexter Gordon was an indisputable jazz legend when he died in 1990, at 67. An iconic and dashing bebop hero of the 1940s, he had also made some of the defining Blue Note albums of the 1960s. He'd made a new life in Europe and then returned triumphant to New York, reaching a new tier of prominence — the kind that garners a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

For more than 30 years, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has been a nonprofit working at the intersection of music education, jazz appreciation and public policy. Beginning in the new year, it will continue those efforts under a new name: the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.

WBGO

Trumpeter and composer Roy Hargrove, who died tragically on Friday at 49,  is best known for his unflappable command in small-group settings, including his sterling quintet. But he was also a connoisseur of the big band — leading his own, on and off, through most of his career.

The Roy Hargrove Big Band released a single album, Emergence, in 2009. Around the time of the album’s release, he brought the 18-piece ensemble to WBGO for a session on Afternoon Jazz. Highlights from that session were later featured on The Checkout, then hosted by Josh Jackson.

Roy Hargrove, an incisive trumpeter who embodied the brightest promise of his jazz generation, both as a young steward of the bebop tradition and a savvy bridge to hip-hop and R&B, died on Friday night in New York City. He was 49.

Marek Lazarski

Andrew Cyrille, a drummer and composer who has stood near the center of the jazz avant-garde since its origins in the 1960s, will be the Vision Festival’s next lifetime achievement honoree. He’s due to receive his honor during the 24th annual edition of that event, at Roulette in Brooklyn next June.

Bertrand Guay / Getty Images

The seventh annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival begins this weekend at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and as usual it presents a broad view of the modern jazz mainstream. 

Running from Nov. 3 to 18, the fest takes place almost entirely at NJPAC — though its kickoff event, featuring the Jon Faddis Quartet, is a Jazz Vespers service this Saturday at Bethany Baptist Church. The concluding event, according to tradition, will be the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.

After an uncertain delay, the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition has an official date: According to an announcement by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the nonprofit organization that runs the competition, it will be held this Dec. 2-3 in Washington, D.C.

John Rogers

Take Five celebrates albums by five amazing drummers whose music defies stereotype.

What makes a first-tier jazz legacy? A signature instrumental style, recognizable within a phrase or two. A body of exceptional recordings, in the studio and in concert. A legion of imitators, great and small. A sense of broad cultural relevance. Maybe even a hit song or two.

Earlier this week, an array of news outlets in New York City reported a macabre discovery: The body of a 53-year-old man was found floating in a Queens marina, fully clothed, with chains wrapped around his legs. The body was noticed by a passerby along the shoreline of the World's Fair Marina in Flushing Harbor, near Citi Field, around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple playlists at the bottom of the page.

Deneka Peniston

Take Five this week is packed with must-hear albums, just released or just ahead.

Shervin Lainez

“It’s important to me that music is an engine for feeling,” says Anat Cohen.

“If the music is grooving, then I respond. When everybody’s focused on that feeling, it’s elevating – for the people onstage, and for the audience.”

A clarinetist, tenor saxophonist and bandleader known to impart good feeling in almost any setting, Cohen is taking a moment to reflect on our fall fund drive, Feeling Good with WBGO. It’s a theme that resonates with her — as an artist, as a person and as a WBGO listener herself.

Jean-Baptiste Millot

From jazz and poetry to the plight of immigrants, Take Five looks at five new tunes that explore cultural currency in music.

Erika Goldring / Getty Images

As the Cuban maestro prepares for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! on Wednesday, here's the story behind his influential project Jazz Batá.

Jimmy Katz

The myriad folk musics of Puerto Rico have been a highly productive fixation for Miguel Zenón, the acclaimed alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader.

Típico, an emblematic effort by his ace quartet, was released last year. With Yo soy la Tradición, which arrives this Friday on Miel Music, Zenón explores a softer-featured but no less intense collaboration with a contemporary chamber string ensemble, Spektral Quartet.

Don Schlitten / Courtesy of Resonance Records

When George Klabin started Resonance Records, he had no idea he was planting the seed for a bumper crop of historic jazz recordings.

“We started with living musicians,” says Klabin,  a veteran producer and engineer, “and it didn’t make the impact that it makes even now.”

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