WBGO Blog
  • Take Three: Three Different Styles of Jazz Vocalists

    October 31, 2019

    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.

    We'll get to know Quiana Lynell, who made a name for herself in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La. before winning the 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. We'll check in with Jeremy Bosch, lead singer of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and a bandleader with his own busy profile in Latin jazz. Finally, a three-for-one deal in Duchess, the harmonizing vocal trio composed of Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou.

    All of these artists were caught in performance recently at Dizzy's Club, which has taken pride in showcasing all manner of jazz singers over the years. In Lynell, Bosch and the women of Duchess, we have a shining illustration of the range of talent stepping on and off the stage.

    Musicians:

    Quiana Lynell's band

    Quiana Lynell, voice; Alex Wintz, guitar; Willerm Delisfort, piano; Noah Young, bass; Joe Dyson, drums.

    Jeremy Bosch's band:

    Jeremy Bosch, vocals and flute; Felipe Fournier, vibraphone and vocals; Yeissonn Villamar, piano; Daniel Torres, bass; Marcos López, timbales and vocals; Marcos Torres, conga and vocals.

    Duchess:

    Hilary Gardner, vocals; Melissa Stylianou, vocals; Amy Cervini, vocals; Michael Cabe, piano; Jesse Lewis, guitar; Matt Aronoff, bass; Jared Schonig; drums; Jeff Lederer, tenor sax; Anat Cohen, clarinet.

    Credits:

    Host: Christian McBride; Producer: Christpher Johnson; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Recording Engineer: Rob Macomber; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Anya Grundman, Gabrielle Armand and Amy Niles; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

    Copyright 2019 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Andy Bey At 80: A Love Letter To A Jazz Legend

    October 25, 2019. Posted by Alex Ariff.

    image
    (Image Credit: 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.

    "I've always been a loner, and I was looking for nobody's approval," Bey reflects. "I never tried to follow anybody, musically or otherwise." And in this episode of Jazz Night in America, we're celebrating his unique artistry and telling his story.

    We'll listen in on an illuminating conversation between Bey and his producer, Herb Jordan. We'll hear tributes from collaborators, like guitarist Paul Meyers, and longtime admirers, like jazz-vocal guru Dominique Eade. And of course, we'll hear plenty of music — an exquisite, previously unissued concert recorded at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse in New York in 2002.

    Set List:

    • "Pick Yourself Up" (Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields)
    • "Invitation" (Bronisław Kaper, Paul Francis Webster)
    • "Tuesdays In Chinatown" (Herb Jordan, Dorian Elliot)
    • "Riverman" (Nick Drake)
    • "All The Things You Are" (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II)

    Musicians:

    Andy Bey, voice and piano; Paul Meyers, guitar; Joe Martin, bass; Mark McLean, drums.

    Credits:

    Host: Christian McBride; Producer: Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Music Recorded by Ed Haber and George Wellington; Thanks to: Ashley Kahn, Jane Gilvin, Olivia Meyer, Kay Wolff, Joseph Fridman, and James Crawford. Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Anya Grundman, Gabrielle Armand and Amy Niles; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

    Copyright 2019 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Gregory Porter: Personal Stories For Universal Songs

    September 20, 2019

    image
    Gregory Porter (Image Credit: Jonathan Chimene/Courtesy of Jazz At Lincoln Center)

    The smooth, booming voice of Gregory Porter brought a galvanizing force to jazz when he broke onto the scene about a decade ago. It's a voice of exhortation, flowing out of the gospel church. A voice of dignity, in the mode of his hero, Nat King Cole. A voice of reassurance, whether aiming for the heavens or toward a single soul across the room.

    It's also, crucially, the voice of experience — Porter's own, going back to his childhood in Bakersfield, Calif. For this episode of Jazz Night in America, the two-time Grammy-winning jazz vocalist opens up about that journey in conversation with our host, Christian McBride. We'll hear about Porter's transition from sports to theater to music and about the meaning behind some of his soul-baring songs, like "Don't Lose Your Steam."

    We'll hear that song and others in performance as Porter and his band electrify a crowd at the 2019 St. Lucia Jazz Festival, produced in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Musicians:

    Gregory Porter: vocals; Chip Crawford: piano; Jahmal Nichols: bass; Andre Jay: organ; Emanuel Harrold: drums; Tivon Pennicott: saxophone

    Credits:

    Host: Christian McBride; Producers: Trevor Smith with Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Recording Engineer: Cory Carson; Technical Director: David Tallacksen; Executive Producers: Amy Niles, Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey; Production Assistant: Sarah Kerson; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed

    Copyright 2019 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • A Toast To The Montreal International Jazz Festival At 40: Jazz, Blues & Much More

    September 12, 2019

    image
    Aerial view of the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. (Image Credit: © Victor Diaz Lamich/Courtesy of Festival International de Jazz de Montreal)

    The city of Montréal in the Canadian province of Quebec is known for a number of things: Great bagels, a thriving art scene, a certain je ne sais quoi. It's also home to the largest jazz festival in the world, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary.

    For this episode of Jazz Night in America, we'll pay a visit to the festival with its co-founder and legendary artistic director, André Ménard. Since the beginning, Ménard wanted an international festival that presents jazz as a constantly evolving artform, with many branches and styles. A place where he could present not only the best of jazz but also, say, Argentinian tango master Astor Piazzolla, and American blues giants like Muddy Waters.

    Join us as Ménard shares some of his favorite festival memories from the last four decades, including guitarist Pat Metheny's performance for an outdoor crowd of 100,000, Diana Krall's springboard to jazz-vocal stardom and unforgettable concerts by legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson.

    Set List

    • Ella Fitzgerald, "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
    • Oscar Peterson, "Cakewalk"
    • Oscar Peterson, "Bach's Blues"
    • Pat Metheny, "Are You Going With Me"
    • Dave Brubeck, "Tritonis"
    • Dee Dee Bridgewater, "Lonely Woman"
    • Diana Krall, "Dream a Little Dream of Me"
    • Christian McBride Quartet, "McThing"

    Credits

    Producer: Sarah Geledi; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Executive Producers: Amy Niles, Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey; Production Assistant: Sarah Kerson; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed. Special thanks to Kelly Peterson, Philippe Chayer and Simon Rentner. Excerpts from the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, L'Equipe Spectra Inc.

    Copyright 2019 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Electric Miles: Behind The 'Brew'

    August 15, 2019

    image
    Miles and Betty Davis in color in Miles' New York westside brownstone, 1969 (Image Credit: Baron Wolman)

    Electric Miles. Few word pairings in the jazz lexicon are apt to inspire so much contention and challenge and ferment. What the phrase refers to, of course, is a period in the career of trumpeter Miles Davis, spanning the last third of his life. And while there are other important antecedents, the big bang of this period is an album recorded 50 years ago by the name of Bitches Brew.

    This episode of Jazz Night in America takes us behind the furious mystique of that album, illuminating the musical and cultural forces Miles was metabolizing at the time. We'll hear from an array of authorities on the subject — notably his second wife, funk heroine and fashion icon Betty Davis, who inspired his outrageous transformation in the Age of Aquarius. ("Whatever I would wear, he would wear," says Betty with a laugh, in this rare, can't-miss interview.)

    Among the other essential voices in the show is electric bassist Marcus Miller, who served as musical director and record producer for a later edition of Davis' band. We'll hear highlights from an Electric Miles concert that Miller put together for Jazz at Lincoln Center — featuring not one but two blazing trumpeters, Russell Gunn and Marquis Hill, along with stone killers like guitarist Vernon Reid.

    "When you create music," Miller asserts, "your primary responsibility is to reflect the times that you live in." That's one of many explanations for the current that flows through Electric Miles — and the charge that it can still deliver.

    Set List

    • "Directions" (Joe Zawinul)
    • "Bitches Brew" (Miles Davis)
    • "Spanish Key" (Miles Davis)
    • "Black Satin" interlude (Miles Davis)
    • "Tutu" (Marcus Miller)

    Musicians

    Marcus Miller – Music Director, Bandleader, Bass Guitar, Bass Clarinet ; Brett Williams – Keyboards; Alex Han – Saxophone; Marquis Hill – Trumpet; Russell Gunn – Trumpet; Vernon Reid – Guitar; Alex Bailey – Drums; Mino Cinelu – Percussion.

    Credits

    Host: Christian McBride; Producers: Sarah Geledi with Trevor Smith; Editor: Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Recording Engineer: Rob Macomber; Executive Producers: Amy Niles, Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundman; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey; Production Assistant: Sarah Kerson; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed

    Copyright 2019 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.