Jazz Education

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Berklee, NPR Music, and WBGO to broadcast and webcast second season worldwide

WBGO, NPR Music, and Berklee College of Music are teaming up to present a second year of The Checkout – Live at Berklee. The series brings critically acclaimed, New York-based Berklee alumni back to their alma mater for concerts in the Red Room @ Cafe 939. The shows will be webcast live worldwide in high definition over NPRmusic.org and in New York over WBGO-FM as a special edition of The Checkout, the acclaimed multimedia show featuring what’s new on New York’s jazz scene. They will also be archived, and available for on-demand listening, at NPRmusic.org, and WBGO.

Chihiro Yamanaka
Chihiro Yamanaka

Year two of The Checkout – Live at Berklee will debut with pianist and composer Chihiro Yamanaka’98 on October 18. The series continues with saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens’01 on November 15, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw’00 on February 7, 2013, and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III ’02 on March 7, 2013. Concerts and broadcasts will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET. Tickets to the live performances at the Red Room @ Cafe 939 are $10 for the general public and $5 with a Berklee ID. Tickets are available at cafe939.com.

“Boston is a major incubator for jazz, and this series aims to underline that fact,” said Josh Jackson, host and producer of The Checkout. “WBGO and The Checkout are delighted to return to Berklee. We look forward to showcasing these young talents as they pursue their artistry and inspire future generations.”

Chihiro Yamanaka is one of the most exciting jazz pianists and composers of her generation, and is the leader of the Chihiro Yamanaka Trio. 2012 has been a milestone year: she performed in the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center, in a concert featured on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, at the Iridium Jazz Club and Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, at the Regattabar in Boston, and in a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. Yamanaka’s new CD, Reminiscence is her second U.S. release. Reminiscence reached the #1 spot on the Japanese jazz charts and won the Nissan Presents Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year.

WBGO Celebrates Black History Month at AMNH

One of the ways WBGO will celebrate black history this month is a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History this Saturday. The event, The African-American Musical Mosaic, will feature performances by artists from jazz to hip hop, gospel and more.

The program takes place Saturday, February 18 from noon to 6:30pm at the American Museum of Natural History located in Manhattan at Central Park West and 79th Street.

WBGO Celebrates Jazz Apprecitation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month and here at WBGO we are also appreciating our members in several ways.

April 8-10 is Member Appreciation Weekend with special thank you gifts for new and renewing members. There is also a very special live broadcast from the WBGO performance studio in Newark on April 9 @ 3pm with Dr. Lonnie Smith!

Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith

You can also join us on the following Saturdays at 12:30pm for a free WBGO Kids Jazz Concert :

April 9 - Michael Carvin Quartet @ Burgdorff Cultural Center
April 16 - Helen Sung @ Montclair Art Museum
April 30 - Tia Fuller @ Newark Museum
May 7 - Jon Faddis @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center - Victoria Theater

We celebrate on air with an incredible lineup of student ensembles during the Jazz Appreciation Month Student Broadcast Festival live weekdays at 2pm. Hosted by Michael Bourne with series is produced with support from Berklee College of Music Summer Programs:

April 1 – NYU, Wayne Shorter Ensemble
April 4 – Queens College
April 6 – William Paterson
April 8 – New School – The New School Jazz JAM Ensemble, directed by Richard Boukas
April 11 – Manhattan School of Music
April 12 – Juilliard
April 18 – SUNY Purchase – Purchase Jazz Endeavor (Jazz Combo)
April 20 – NJCU – NJCU Jazz Ensemble directed by Ed Joffe
April 22 – Rutgers – Rutgers New Brunswick Jazz Ensemble
April 26 – Berklee College of Music
April 28 – LaGuardia High School

There are other special broadcasts during this appreciation month, including:

April 7, 3pm - Live in studio performance by Marcia Ball
April 13, 9pm - Josh Jackson hosts Live at the Village Vanguard featuring Martial Solal
April 14, 8pm - Newark Today with Mayor Cory Booker
April 22, 8pm - The Mingus Orchestra recorded live at St. Bart’s in Manhattan

WBGO at the Portland Jazz Festival: Part 1

thara esperanza
Photo by Michael Bell

This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

Although the Portland Jazz Festival is *technically* halfway over, with five days of local and national acts having blown through town, things really started to heat up yesterday. Not only was clarinetist Don Byron in town to play an eclectic set of jazz-infused klezmer music inspired by the late singer/comedian Mickey Katz, but the city's local hero, media darling and consummate musician Esperanza Spalding (pictured) made her first public appearance at Portland State University. <!--more-->

Purchase Jazz Endeavor on WBGO's award-winning series

WBGO received a My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  WBGO's educational outreach to youth is manifold.  The WBGO Kids Jazz Series accompanied with Jazzamatazz, a children’s newsletter, has been most successful.  Also, the best college bands in New York and New Jersey visit WBGO's studio to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month every April.  The SUNY Purchase Jazz Endeavor performed on the award-winning series Next Generation JAM. Listen to the live broadcast by clicking below.

Notes From The SS WBGO

Ahoy readers. Josh Jackson sends posts from the Village Vanguard so I have decided to do the same from the co-anchor chair during the drive. <!--more-->

On with Eulis Cathey tonight. Pledge central is buzzing after Rob Crocker and Brian Delp had a really fun show and Rob is riding high as he breezes by to catch his train.

Eulis has such a nice and easy style. It's why so many of you like to listen to him. Tonight, he is boosting his mellow moods with some  highlights from the Latin Package. If you all are dancing where you are like I am in the studio, it's going to be a hot night!

We have a theme this drive- sure, it is our fiscal finale, but everyone who calls or makes a pledge during the first week of the drive is entered to win a choice of one of 4 cruises donated by Jazz Cruises LLC. I have never been on a cruise, so I have never understood the lure of just hanging out on the water, but spending a whole week with some of the greatest jazz musicians of today, now that's something that I could go for. So now I am hoping that someone tonight wins the cruise and doesn't have anyone to go wtih and decides to take me. Eulis is playing Pancho Sanchez's take on Watermelon Man from the Latin Package and I am singing along. Then I realize that Pancho Sanchez is going to be on the Playboy Jazz Cruise ( along with Herbie Hancock who wrote the piece). I could be on that cruise and sing along with it live? Oh man, I gotta go!

Eulis has a listener who is a big Oscar Peterson fan and he likes to play an Oscar Peterson selection each Saturday night. It's always a highlight for me as a listener too. One of the thank you gifts is a seven cd collection from the Oscar Peterson Trio and the hard part is deciding which track to play.  One cut on this CD is Oscar's version of Tea for Two, simple but pure Oscar. Always closely associated with Oscar was Art Tatum and we talk about this really interesting CD called a "reperformance" of Live at the Shrine. Tea for Two is one of the selections on that. This is a CD not without controversy- I try to explain it in simple terms- basically it is all about preserving the intonation and removing the distractions inherent with early recordings ( the tracks on this cd were originally recorded in 1933 and 1949). David Tallacksen talked about the technology on this blog when it was previewed at the IAJE in January. It's the kind of cd that you need to own and listen on your own time. A pledge of $88. Totally worth it. You might have seen this cd in a store and thought that it was just another release of something you may have already in your cd collection. That's why the fund drives are so great- they give us the chance to explore some of the special releases that we as listeners may overlook. I'm glad that a bunch of you decide to go for it. And get entered in the cruise giveaway.

The phones aren't ringing as much as I would like. Maybe the audience doesn't understand how important this fund drive is to keeping WBGO on the air. I have to believe that lots of people who listen don't realize that we get most of our funding from our listeners. And of course, the readers of this blog.  Not commercials. So we have to educate. And remind people how important this radio station is to them. How much of a stake that each one of us has to keep this station on the air. And on the web.

Its 4 minutes to go and we haven't made our goal. It feels like a defeat. Because I know how many people are listening. What did we do wrong? Do people not believe us when we say that we are not messing around here, this is really serious? We do our best to get that point across.

And tomorrow we do it all again- hopefully with your help.

Amy's Moodys

moodys1.jpg

I have had the good fortune to have been surrounded these past two years at WBGO by some of the greatest players in jazz. That's what you come to expect when you are a part of the world's most significant jazz radio station. But it's the people who have touched me for more than the music that they create who truly are a part of my heart.

I  love  the Moodys- James and Linda Moody.

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Last year we honored Moody at our Champions of Jazz Gala. The honoree's are chosen not just for what they have contributed as artists, but also what they are doing for the future of jazz. James has instituted a scholarship fund at Purchase College to support the training of jazz musicians. Moody's program is not just about teaching "musicianship". Its about forming the whole person. That's Moody. Being a musician is about being a whole person. His scholarship website says "creating opportunities for the next generation of jazz musicians". And to make sure, he is putting his time and his money where his mouth is. No one knows better than Moody about what it takes to be a jazz musician. At 83 years of age, he has earned the title of leader.

Twenty years ago, Moody met a single mom with twin teenaged boys. That was Linda. A great love story. Three months later they got married. I have never asked them, but it couldn't have been easy. Age difference, race difference. Both with kids. Being on the road. But these are two spectacular people and as you can see from the photo, they must have been just about the hippest couple around- Linda with her West Coast good looks and well, Moody is a jazz musician.

Last month, I was with Stefon Harris and out of the blue he told a story about Moody. They were playing a gig far away from home and right before they went out for the first set, Moody said to Stefon "where is your cell phone?". Stefon showed him and Moody told Stefon to call his wife and tell her that he loved her before he played a single note. That's  Moody. Don't take anyone for granted, especially when you have found your soul mate. Moody and Linda  truly are soul mates. When I heard that story, I called my husband. Then I called Moody and Linda. I had to tell them all that I loved them.

In this past year, I have had the opportunity to get to know them both Moody and Linda. I can say that my world has become richer for my friendship with Linda. Not a day goes by that this woman is not flying somewhere, planning something, getting ready for a host of young students to come visit, asking about my children, organizing, making this world a sweeter place.

So, I love James and Linda Moody. I love to watch them hold hands,  finish each other's sentences, tell stories. And how lucky I am to have had the chance to listen to those stories- and laugh with them. As soon as we can, we will post the link to the Moody interview with Rhonda Hamilton the day before he was given the key to his ( and our) hometown of Newark. You will get to hear - if you didn't hear it live- some of Moody's great stories. With Linda sitting right beside him. Bet you will love the Moodys too...

WBGO Jazzy Teacher Award

 

What an exciting honor to take part in the 2nd annual Jazzy Music Teacher contest, sponsored by NJEA, The New Jersey Education Association. This year's winner, Mrs. Tamah Freni, was overjoyed to be honored for her creative efforts in bringing music to life for her students. These inspiring kids joined in a collaborative effort to submit their essays. I snapped pictures and video along the way to capture each moment of how the effort promoted the educational mission of both NJEA and WBGO.

Also receiving honorable mention was Mr. Milt, of The Deron School in Union, NJ, for his efforts in keeping music alive for his special needs students, which received a visit from WBGO news reporter Jen Poyant, to cover the story for our news department, to be featured soon on WBGO Journal. Debbie Kirkland, storyteller, was able to help the children tell their story in an essay that capture judge's attention, along with drawings that included Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis.

I have created a playlist of three special videos which capture the excitement of these special educators. Two are of the winning concert given by Mark Gross and his band at Union Valley Elementary in Sicklerville, NJ. I hope you enjoy the bebop dance contest as much as we did...and Mr. Milt and his class, breaking out unexpectedly in song, while Jen Poyant captures all on tape for her soon to come story. Enjoy!
-Vickie Smith

Studio Session - Berklee Blue Note Ensemble

Berklee Blue Note Ensemble

Whenever you hear young performers from Berklee College of Music, you are hearing the future of music. WBGO presented the Berklee Blue Note Ensemble on Midday Jazz today. For a decade, Berklee students with strong jazz creds make an annual trek to the Blue Note in Note in New York. Bill Pierce has been a Berklee faculty member for more than three decades. He directs the student ensemble. They are:

Melissa Aldana - saxophone (Santiago, Chile)
Jeonglim Yang - bass (South Korea)
Michael Palma - piano (Dallas, Texas)
Dan Pugach - drums (Raanana, Israel)
Jeremy Sinclair - trumpet (Dallas, Texas)
Nadia Washington - vocals (Dallas, Texas)

Listen to the session. Remember the names.
-Josh

Next Generation JAM - WBGO Studio Sessions

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and it's been a busy time in the WBGO Performance studio. The next generation of jazz players from metro area music programs has been visiting Michael Bourne on Afternoon Jazz. Here are some highlights:

First up, the SUNY-Purchase Jazz Endeavor came to WBGO on April 9th. The group features recipients of the James Moody Scholarship.
Hear them play.

Today, we featured the students from Manhattan School of Music.

Manhattan Scool of Music

Check out the Manhattan School of Music Ensemble.

The New School, tutored by bassist Reggie Workman, came to WBGO.
The New School

Listen to The New School Jazz Ensemble.

Tune in Wednesday, April 30th at 8pm. I'm your host for a performance of Combo Nuvo, featuring faculty and students from the NYU School of Music.
This is a collaboration between WBGO and the Clive Davis School for Recorded Music at NYU. Special thanks to Jim Anderson and Dave Schroeder.
And finally, on May 20th, WBGO presents students from the Berklee College of Music on Midday Jazz with Rhonda Hamilton. So much for just one month of jazz appreciation. WBGO loves this music year-round. And you?
-Josh