WBGO Blog
  • Watch It Live: The 2019 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert

    April 15, 2019

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    The 2019 NEA Jazz Masters (Image Credit: NEA)

    The livestream has concluded.

    Every year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has presented its Jazz Masters award — a pinnacle of achievement in the form. The honor is presented to musicians and advocates who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz, and the 2019 class is no exception, as we'll see during tonight's live stream of this year's tribute concert, taking place at the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

    The 2019 NEA Jazz Masters are: Stanley Crouch, jazz historian, author, critic, and co-founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center; Bob Dorough, vocalist, composer, arranger and pianist; Abdullah Ibrahim, a pianist and composer; and Maria Schneider, composer, arranger and bandleader. Tonight's host is Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center's Artistic Director for Jazz.

    Starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT in the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall, musicians Jay Anderson, Steve Berger, Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kurt Elling, Sullivan Fortner, Bill Goodwin, Cleave Guyton, Noah Jackson, 2012 NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, Grace Kelly, Frank Kimbrough, Christian McBride, Charles McPherson, Jason Moran, David Murray, Pat O'Leary, Scott Robinson, and JD Walter will perform and pay tribute to the careers of the 2019 NEA Jazz Masters.

    Click here to view live close-captioning of the event.

    Copyright 2019 WBGO and The Kennedy Center. To see more, visit WBGO and The Kennedy Center.

  • Watch Electro-Jazz Drummer Mark Guiliana Perform His New Album Live

    April 12, 2019

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    (Image Credit: Justin Bettman/International Music Network)

    For the last decade, drummer Mark Guiliana has had a powerful outlet in Beat Music, an underground electronic project that has made periodic appearances outside his New Jersey basement lab.

    Tonight, Beat Music performs at Rough Trade in Brooklyn, and you can watch live right here, and at The Checkout's Facebook page, starting at 9 p.m. EST.

    The show, which ushers in Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! on Motéma Music, will feature Guiliana on drums and electronics, Chris Morrissey on electric bass, and BIGYUKI and Nick Semrad on keyboards and synthesizers.

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

  • Jazz, Love and Letting Loose: Brooklyn's Surprising Senior Jazz Scene

    December 10, 2018

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    (Image Credit: Colin Marshall/NPR)

    As a producer on Jazz Night in America, part of my job is to highlight the intersections of jazz and everyday life. It's easy to get caught up in the large, romantic art projects and album releases, but what about the stories that are happening in our own backyards? When I started asking that question, I was introduced to Jazz 966.

    Odds are, when you think about going out, whether it's clubbing or to hear live music, you don't envision an elderly crowd. Most traditional clubs aren't set up to cater to the aging population and as a result, senior music lovers can be left out in the cold. There's where Jazz 966 comes in. Founded in 1990 by the Fort Greene Council in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jazz 966 is a senior center by day, but, on Friday nights, it transforms into a swinging jazz club. 966 is an affordable, inclusive, and lively refuge for seniors to hear live music — and, arguably, more importantly, to dance. The club's lineup runs the gamut, ranging from neighborhood locals to renowned jazz giants like trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

    At Jazz Night, we accompanied two of the club's regulars, Ted Harvin, 81, and Delrosa Marshall, 74, through a typical evening. The duo has been frequenting the club for almost a decade now, and it's become a pivotal place for them to socialize, especially as Ted's mobility has decreased. Despite the additional challenges they face, including reckoning with aging, the joy that music and dance bring them prevails. "I think my outlook on life hasn't changed since I was 20," Ted says, "I know that she says, 'Well, why are we here?' We're here to enjoy life, and that's the only thing we can do: Just enjoy it."

    Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

  • Chick Corea: Back In Boston

    November 1, 2018

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    (Image Credit: Niki Walker/NPR)

    Pianist Chick Corea has lived many lives as a musician, from post-bop wunderkind to free-jazz maverick to fusion explorer to chamber-jazz eminence. That imprecise tally leaves out a lot in an expansive career — but, more to the point, it creates the false impression that Corea compartmentalizes his musical output, when the truth suggests something far more holistic.

    Jazz Night in America caught up with Corea during a recent gig at Scullers in Boston — just across the river from Chelsea, Mass., where he was born and raised. He was on tour with a new trio he calls Vigilette, with Carlitos Del Puerto on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. The set list combined songbook standards like "On Green Dolphin Street" with originals like "Rhumba Flamenco," each number delivered with Corea's brand of articulate flair.

    A few days after the performance, Corea sat down with Christian McBride — our host, and his longtime musical collaborator — for a collegial and far-ranging conversation. They discuss the first time Corea saw Miles Davis, an experience that changed his life, and one he recalls with absolute detail. Corea also reflects on the role of an artist: "We have a mission to go out there and be an antidote to war, and all of the dark side of what happens on Planet Earth," he says. "We're the ones that go in and remind people about their creativity."

    Copyright 2018 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Wilco Guitarist Nels Cline Reclaims Mood Music In The City Of Brotherly Love

    September 13, 2018

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    Nels Cline (Image Credit: NPR)

    Nels Cline has earned his place as a guitar hero for our times, with a track record stretching back four decades and a marquee gig with Wilco. But if you mainly associate him with squalls of feedback, you're missing a big part of the picture. "The Avant Romantic" is how Rolling Stone pegged him about a decade ago, in its list of Top 20 New Guitar Gods. And lately, Cline has been focusing his efforts, without pause or irony, on the romantic part of that equation.

    Lovers, released on Blue Note in 2016, was Cline's fond reclamation of "mood music" albums from midcentury, with his guitar in an earnest melodic role. It's a suave collaboration with trumpeter Michael Leonhart, who wrote the orchestrations for a handful of versatile players like cellist Erik Friedlander and bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck. As Cline put it at the time in a conversation with NPR's Fresh Air, Lovers was a project he'd been dreaming about for more than 25 years.

    Lovers (for Philadelphia) didn't require such a long gestation. Commissioned by the nonprofit Ars Nova Workshop, it was a sequel of sorts to Lovers intended to reflect a clear sense of place — the City of Brotherly Love, which of course has a great musical legacy not only as a jazz town but also an epicenter of soul. Cline made several trips to Philly for intensive research, visiting local institutions like the Curtis Institute of Music and the Germantown headquarters of the Sun Ra Arkestra. (He even helped create a Lovers saison at Tired Hands Brewing Company.)

    The first and only performance of Lovers (for Philadelphia) took place at Union Transfer on June 2, and Jazz Night in America was there. See the video above for an up-close-and-personal view of the concert, and listen to our radio show for more insights on just how Cline and Leonhart made new tapestries of sound out of classic tunes like Benny Golson's "Whisper Not," McCoy Tyner's "Aisha," and The Delfonics' "La-La (Means I Love You)."

    "I wanted it to be sweet but I didn't want it to be sugary," Cline says of the Lovers project at large. He strikes that balance on this love letter to a musical city — which has now enfolded Cline in a reciprocal embrace.

    Copyright 2018 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.