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

    July 8, 2020

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    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.

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    (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.

  • Michela Marino Lerman And Russell Hall: Alone Together Duets

    June 19, 2020. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Michela Marino Lerman and Russell Hall perform at home. (Image Credit: /Courtesy of the artist)

    Virtuosity shows itself in many forms, but rarely do we see it exuberantly displayed on an electric tap board. Michela Marino Lerman's customized contraption allows her feet to mimic break beats, raging tabla solos and warm marimbas.

    But at the very beginning of this unique performance, the tap dancer and bassist Russell Hall rattle our senses by taking us to America's city streets, sonically evoking the sound of "helicopters and tear gas." The couple thought about that name for this potent composition, before they landed on "The Race."

    "We feel that people of color are constantly racing against a system that is trying to oppress and essentially erase them," Lerman and Hall explain. They say a version of the piece was created three years ago in memory of Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, and more. "Then came the news of Ahmaud Arbery, then George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and we knew we wanted to do something."

    Fittingly, their Alone Together Duets video is released on the same day as their Juneteenth Jubilee, a Black artist-led event aimed at spreading joy in a time when we most need it. It will feature performer George Faison, DJ Stretch Armstrong, vocalist Michael Mwenso and more.

    Produced by Jazz Night in America and The Checkout from WBGO.

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

  • Camille Thurman And Darrell Green: Alone Together Duets

    June 16, 2020. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Camille Thurman and Darrell Green perform in their home. (Image Credit: /Courtesy of the artist)

    Six weeks ago, we launched this video series to give us a glimpse of some fabulous creative partnerships manifesting in isolation. But at this moment, as America slowly opens up, our nation has found itself in the midst of a vital discussion on race and equality.

    For this Alone Together Duet, tenor saxophonist and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Camille Thurman joins drummer Darrell Green to offer a firm musical message to the community: "Stand Tall."

    "We have witnessed members of our community being senselessly murdered since the inception of slavery in America, as well as losing many loved ones and elders due to COVID-19," Thurman says. "This song is in memory of all of their lives, but also serves as a reminder and encouragement to us as a community to keep standing tall."

    Produced by Jazz Night in America and The Checkout from WBGO.

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

  • The Law Police Used To Discriminate Against Musicians Of Color

    June 3, 2020

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    (Image Credit: Colin Marshall/NPR)

    Jazz musicians have always faced systems of discrimination in America. One insidious example was the cabaret card, a form of identification required for any musician to work in a New York nightclub from 1940 to 1967. The New York Police Department administered these licenses and revoked them for any minor infraction. As a result, some of the biggest names in the music at the time, like Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, lost their right to work at a crucial points in their careers. In this Jazz Night in America video short, we trace the history of the cabaret card from its racist origins to its toll on the music, and we'll reflect on what might have been.

    Special thanks to Nate Chinen, whose JazzTimes piece "The Cabaret Card and Jazz" was referenced for this video.

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