WBGO Blog
  • The Stars Shine: A Newport Jazz Festival Special

    July 24, 2020

    image
    Ray Charles performs at The Newport Jazz Festival in 1968. (Image Credit: /Newport Festivals Foundation)

    The Newport Jazz Festival was in full, glorious stride during the 1960s, featuring top-shelf talent not only from jazz but also the realms of soul, rock and more. That's the backdrop for The Stars Shine, episode two of our three-part Newport special.

    We'll hear festive sounds from both Ray Charles and saxophonist Cannonball Adderley in 1960; peerless jazz singer Sarah Vaughan in 1964; the incomparable Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1968; and Pops himself, Louis Armstrong, during a special birthday tribute in 1970.

    For all of us at Jazz Night in America, the Newport Jazz Festival is both hallowed ground and a cherished hang. Our host, Christian McBride, is the festival's artistic director. (Call that a disclosure, if you like; we think of it as a heavy asset.) So this summer, in the absence of a physical gathering, we've set out to lovingly recreate the festival experience, Jazz Night-style. We hope you enjoy.

    Musicians

    Ray Charles, piano and vocals; Hank Crawford, alto saxophone; David "Fathead" Newman, tenor saxophone; Leroy "Hog" Cooper, baritone saxophone; John Hunt, trumpet; Marcus Belgrave, trumpet; Edgar Willis, bass; Teagle Fleming, drums; with The Raelettes: Mary Ann Fisher; Darlene McRae; Margie Hendrix, vocals.

    Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, alto saxophone; Nat Adderley, cornet; Barry Harris, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Louis Hayes; drums.

    Sarah Vaughan, vocals; Bob James, piano; Larry Rockwell, bass; Omar Clay, drums.

    Duke Ellington and His Orchestra: Duke Ellington, piano and composer; Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone; Harold Ashby, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Russell Procope, clarinet; Paul Gonsalves, tenor saxophone; Harry Carney, baritone saxophone; Cootie Williams, trumpet; Cat Anderson, trumpet; Mercer Ellington, trumpet; Herbie Jones, trumpet; Laurence Brown, trombone; George "Buster" Cooper, trombone; Chuck Connors, trombone; Jimmy Cleveland, trombone; Money Johnson, trombone; Jeff Castleman, bass; Dick Wilson, drums; Rufus Jones, drums.

    Louis Armstrong, vocals; Bobby Hackett, trumpet; Tyree Glenn, trombone; Dave McKenna, piano; Jack Lesberg, bass; Oliver Jackson, drums.

    Set List

    • "Indiana" (Newport House Band)
    • "What'd I Say" (Ray Charles)
    • "Work Song" (Cannonball Adderley Quintet)
    • "Stay On It" (Cannonball Adderley Quintet)
    • "Fly Me To The Moon" (Sarah Vaughan)
    • "Like Someone In Love" (Sarah Vaughan)
    • "Misty" (Sarah Vaughan)
    • "Sophisticated Lady" (Duke Ellington)
    • "The Biggest and Busiest Intersection" (Duke Ellington)
    • "Satin Doll" (Duke Ellington)
    • "Pennies From Heaven" (Louis Armstrong)
    • "Blueberry Hill" (Louis Armstrong)

    Credits

    Special thanks to Jay Sweet, Charles Raggio, Billy Glassner, Christopher "Caps" Capotosto, and George Wein from the Newport Festivals Foundation.

    Producers: Trevor Smith, Sarah Geledi, Nate Chinen, Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundman; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

    Copyright 2020 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • The Golden Age: A Newport Jazz Festival Special

    July 23, 2020

    image
    Fans sit under an umbrella as shade from the hot sun during the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I., on July 8, 1962. (Image Credit: Boston Globe/Getty Images)

    The Newport Jazz Festival was just one year old when the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet blazed onto its stage in 1955. By 1960, when pianists Dave Brubeck and Horace Silver each played a rollicking set, the event was an institution, known all over the world. And so it remains today — though there's something to be said about the fest in that formative era, when every step forward was historic.

    For all of us at Jazz Night in America, the Newport Jazz Festival is both hallowed ground and a cherished hang. Our host, Christian McBride, is the festival's artistic director. (Call that a disclosure, if you like; we think of it as a heavy asset.) So this summer, in the absence of a physical gathering, we've set out to lovingly recreate the festival experience, Jazz Night-style.

    Our three-part series begins with The Golden Age — a jump back to the mid-to-late '50s, featuring McBride's selection of rare and unreleased Newport recordings by Brown and Roach, Brubeck and Silver, along with a killer festival house band. (Will there also be a taste of Muddy Waters? You'll have to listen to know for sure.)

    Musicians

    Newport House Band: Joe Zawinul, piano; Howard McGhee, trumpet; Clark Terry, trumpet; Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone; Wendell Marshall, bass; Roy Haynes, drums.

    Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet: Clifford Brown, trumpet; Max Roach, drums; Harold Land, tenor sax; Richie Powell, piano; George Morrow, bass.

    Dave Brubeck Quartet: Dave Brubeck, piano; Paul Desmond, alto saxophone; Eugene Wright, bass; Joe Morello, drums.

    Horace Silver Quintet: Horace Silver, piano; Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Junior Cook, tenor saxophone; Gene Taylor, bass; Roy Brooks, drums.

    Set List

    • "Chasin' At Newport" (Newport House Band)
    • "Jaquis" (Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet)
    • "I Get A Kick Out Of You" (Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet)
    • "Swanee River Boogie" (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
    • "Blue Rondo À La Turk" (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
    • "Señor Blues" (Horace Silver Quintet)
    • "Sister Sadie" (Horace Silver Quintet)
    • "Goodbye Newport Blues" (Muddy Waters)

    Credits

    Producers: Trevor Smith, Sarah Geledi, Nate Chinen, Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundman; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

    Copyright 2020 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Watch Party: The Joshua Redman Quartet's 'RoundAgain' Reunion Concert

    July 22, 2020

    The first time around was special, and everyone knew it. But ask any member of the former Joshua Redman Quartet — Redman on saxophones, Brad Mehldau on piano, Christian McBride on bass, Brian Blade on drums — and he'll confirm there was some magic in the air when they reconvened last fall at The Falcon in New York's Hudson Valley, breaking a 25-year hiatus.

    That reunion gig, which I was fortunate enough to catch from a table up front, preceded the recording of RoundAgain — a supremely assured new studio album by this fantastic four, which now identifies as a collective (with Redman as the first among equals). Jazz Night in America and NPR Music are proud to present an hour-long concert video from the two-night run, which means you can experience that spark just as it's being rekindled.

    The artists, who have all risen to the highest tier of prominence, will join me for some post-game analysis — a Q&A about the concert, the album and the deep musical bond that they've only strengthened over time. Tune in July 22 at 4 p.m. ET.

    Copyright 2020 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Premiere: Watch Jazzmeia Horn's Final Live Performance Before The Pandemic

    July 8, 2020

    image
    Jazzmeia Horn performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. (Image Credit: Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    For Jazzmeia Horn, this concert defined a moment. This was The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, after all, one of the most prestigious stages in the America jazz circuit. "Not a lot of people get that opportunity," she reflected, not only to show up for herself and her art, but to act as a good steward of jazz music, an African American art form and legacy by which the idioms of today's industry, according to Horn, don't always reflect the culture of a specific people. She hand-picked an entirely Black and brown team from bandmates to to hair and makeup and even a hired backstage film crew, people she knew would share a common goal. "I was nit-picky on everything," Horn says. She even made sure everybody was well-fed backstage, so they could honor this music with the highest possible energy and focus.

    Horn didn't know it at the time but this would be her last performance before the pandemic shuttered music venues around the world. Since then, she has been grateful for more time with her daughters; she recently took them to the beach. Horn finished a book, too. Due out in August, Through My Eyes: The Jazzmeia Horn Approach offers methods for singers to use their voices to sing as well as advocate for themselves. Her online teaching work has bloomed into a self-supported community of singers who offer tips and feedback through a private Facebook group, something by which she continually feels awestruck in a time when human-to-human connection has become somewhat nontraditional. She has also had time to reflect on her successes, from growing up in a poor family in Dallas, Texas, and moving to New York City for college to earning Grammy nominations for each of the full-length albums she's released so far. That's not to mention the countless accolades stemming from her most recent record and namesake for this concert: Love and Liberation. Join us at 10:30 a.m. ET to watch the show.

    Set List

    • "Please Do Something" (Betty Carter)
    • "I Thought About You" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
    • "Out The Window"
    • "The Peacocks (A Timeless Place)" (Jimmy Rowles, Lyrics by Norma Winstone)
    • "Searchin' "
    • "Green Eyes" (Victor E. Cooke, James Jason Poyser & Erykah Badu)
    • "When I Say"
    • "Time"
    • "Free Your Mind"

    Musicians

    Jazzmeia Horn: bandleader, voice; Keith Brown: piano, Eric Wheeler: bass, Anwar Marshall: drums; Josh Evans: trumpet; Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone; Alexandria Johnson: dance.

    Credits

    Producers: Justin Bias, Colin Marshall, Vernil Rogers; Recording and Mix Engineer: Rob Macomber; Video Director: Jim Sapione; Videographers: Hiram Becker, Peter Garafalo; Editor: Annabel Edwards; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Senior Producers: Colin Marshall, Katie Simon; Supervising Editor: Keith Jenkins; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann.

    Copyright 2020 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Inspired By Injustice, Wynton Marsalis Reflects On His Music

    July 2, 2020. Posted by Alex Ariff.

    image
    (Image Credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Wynton Marsalis has always been deeply engaged in the subject of American race relations. The issue was a crucial part of his education as a young musician in New Orleans, and it has been a core preoccupation of his own work going as far back as Black Codes (From the Underground), a trailblazing album from 1985.

    "Our racial problems have been so documented that we have a tendency to not realize that we're all on this same boat," Marsalis told Good Morning America in 1997 after he became the first jazz artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. "When I write the music, it's not just the history of Blacks, it's an American story."

    In this episode of Jazz Night, Marsalis expands on that idea and more in a conversation with our host, Christian McBride. Reflecting on our current wave of protests and the removal of public monuments, they connect this moment with a historical struggle. We'll also hear some of the music Marsalis has made to this end, from Black Codes to Blood on the Fields to a small-group work, From the Plantation to the Penitentiary.

    SET LIST

    All music and words written by Wynton Marsalis

    • "Black Codes" from Black Codes (From The Underground) (1985)
    • "Work Song (Blood on the Fields)" from Blood on the Fields (1997)
    • "Find Me" from From the Plantation to the Penitentiary (2007)
    • "El 'Gran' Baile de la Reina" from All Rise (2002)

    CREDITS

    Writer and Producer: Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Host: Christian McBride; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

    Copyright 2020 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.