WBGO Blog
  • Stream The 2020 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert From SFJAZZ

    August 20, 2020

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    2020 NEA Jazz Masters (Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist)

    The NEA Jazz Masters fellowship, America's highest honor reserved for jazz musicians, is typically bestowed by the National Endowment for the Arts in grand fashion with a gala and all-star tribute concert. This year it was set to take place at San Francisco's SFJAZZ Center in April, but it had to be rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. And so, like the artists being honored, the NEA opted to improvise, transforming the event into a virtual presentation with musicians beaming in from locales across the country.

    Among them, of course, are the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters themselves, a truly inspiring and expansive group: bassist Reggie Workman, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, vocalist Bobby McFerrin and jazz advocate Dorthaan Kirk. They'll each deliver remarks, as will NEA chairperson Mary Anne Carter and SFJAZZ founder and executive artistic director Randall Kline.

    And the event — hosted by 2017 NEA Jazz Master and former NPR JazzSet broadcaster Dee Dee Bridgewater — will feature musical contributions from an impressive range of musicians, including saxophonists Oliver Lake and James Carter, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, and vocalists Lisa Fischer and Madison McFerrin. As she did for last year's concert, Grammy-winning drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington will serve as musical director. After the webcast, SFJAZZ will host a virtual "Meet the Jazz Masters" reception, featuring the inductees and Kline in a lively Q&A. Tune in at 8 p.m. ET.

    Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

  • The Modern All-Stars: A Newport Jazz Festival Special

    July 25, 2020. Posted by Alex Ariff.

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    Top (L to R): Antonio Hart, Carl Allen, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Benny Green. Bottom (L to R): Marlon Jordan, Tim Warfield, Mark Whitfield (Image Credit: Ken Franckling /Jazz Times)

    Christian McBride was 19, a vigorous young bassist just making his name on the scene, when he paid his first visit to the Newport Jazz Festival as a member of Jazz Futures. Skip ahead some 30 years, and McBride is the artistic director of the festival, as well as our esteemed host at Jazz Night in America. It's in these dual capacities that he helped curate the music in our three-part Newport Jazz Festival Special.

    We're calling this third episode The Modern All-Stars, and the name really fits. We'll be hearing from several stellar performances at Fort Adams State Park — everything from an acoustic Herbie Hancock Trio in 1988 to singer Cécile McLorin Salvant with Artemis in 2018. Also in the mix: a 2001 set by the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and even a bit of that Jazz Futures hit, which featured Hargrove alongside McBride and others.

    It's a fun and fitting conclusion to our series, which began with a celebration of the Newport Jazz Festival's first decade (The Golden Age) and continued with a look at its spectacular second phase (The Stars Shine). And as McBride would say, it's also a reminder that this story is still ongoing. Newport Jazz Lives! See you out there.

    Musicians

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

    Herbie Hancock Trio: Buster Williams, bass; Al Foster, drums; Herbie Hancock, piano.

    Jazz Futures: Benny Green, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Carl Allen, drums; Marlon Jordan, trumpet; Tim Warfield, tenor sax; Antonio Hart, alto sax; Roy Hargrove, trumpet; Mark Whitfield, guitar.

    Roy Hargrove, trumpet; Larry Willis, piano; Bruce Williams, alto sax, Gerald Cannon, bass, Willie Jones III, drums.

    Artemis: Renee Rosnes, piano; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Melissa Aldana, alto sax; Noriko Ueda, bass; Allison Miller, drums; Anat Cohen, clarinet; Cécile McLorin-Salvant, vocals.

    Set List

    • "Undecided" (Newport House Band)
    • "Just One Of Those Things" (Herbie Hancock Trio)
    • "Captain Hook" (Jazz Futures)
    • "Nature Boy / To Wisdom The Prize" (Roy Hargrove)
    • "Fine and Mellow" (Artemis)

    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 Grundmann; 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 Stars Shine: A Newport Jazz Festival Special

    July 24, 2020

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    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

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    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.