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WBGO Says Goodbye to NEA Jazz Master Gunther Schuller

WBGO says farewell to NEA Jazz Master Gunther Schuller, who died today at age 89. The composer sought  to combine jazz and classical music in his seventy-year career, and coined the phrase "Third Stream" to describe this style.

In 2008, he was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation's highest honor for jazz musicians and advocates. WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton was on hand for the occasion, and we'd like to share their memorable conversation with you again now.

Thank you, Gunther, and rest in peace!


Schuller began his career as a French horn player in the early forties, and recorded with trumpeter Miles Davis and other jazz musicians while also principal hornist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman were among the jazz artists whose works he championed at this time.

In 1959, he left performance to concentrate on scholarship and composition. He served as president of the New England Conservatory for twenty years, and as artistic director for the Tanglewood Music Center for fourteen. His two volumes on "Early Jazz" and "The Swing Era" are foundational texts of jazz musicology.

Guitarist Steve Khan on Sammy Cahn: Listen Now

Guitarist Steve Khan talks with Rhonda Hamilton about songs written by his father, Sammy Cahn. Cahn won four Academy Awards for his songs, which include many jazz standards and hits for Frank Sinatra, Broadway and Hollywood. Enjoy!


Carlos Henriquez on Tito Puente & Machito: Listen Now

Bassist Carlos Henriquez talks with Awilda Rivera about the legacy of Tito Puente and Machito, and concert tributes to the Latin bandleaders he hosted at New York's Jazz At Lincoln Center June 12 & 13th. Enjoy!


Dee Dee Bridgewater on "Jazz In the Garden": Listen Now

Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater talks with Gary Walker about her performance with trumpeter Theo Croker at the Newark Museum's Jazz In the Garden on Friday, June 19 at 6 p.m. The concert celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the series. Enjoy!


Vocalist Kurt Elling on "Passion World": Listen Now

Vocalist Kurt Elling talks with Michael Bourne about his album "Passion World," which features him singing love songs from around the world in English, French and Portuguese. Elling celebrates the album's release at New York's Birdland jazz club June 10 - 13. Enjoy!

Photo by Anna Webber
Photo by Anna Webber

Maria Schneider on "The Thompson Fields": Listen Now

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Amy Wright on Les Paul Centennial: Listen Now

Amy Wright talks with musicians, friends and family members about guitarist and inventor Les Paul, and the centennial celebration of his birth on June 9, 2015.

New York's Times Square will host a free, daylong celebration of Les Paul's legacy June 9, with an interactive traveling exhibit, "Les Paul's Big Sound Experience."

The exhibit will also be open to the public in Paul's former hometown of Mahwah, NJ, at the Mahwah Museum Friday through Sunday.

Happy Birthday Les, and thank you!

Photo: William P. Gottlieb/LOC

Trombonist Steve Davis on "Say When": Listen Now

Trombonist Steve Davis talks with Gary Walker about "Say When," his tribute to J.J. Johnson. Davis performs music from the album June 4 at The Side Door jazz club in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and June 5-7 at Smoke in Manhattan. Enjoy!