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Sunday 9/18/2016 Show: Ibrahim Maalouf

Photo: Ibrahim Maalouf | Photo Credit: Jean-Paul Lesage, 2014 Pleins Feux Festival
The next show will air on Sunday, September 18, 2016 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast features an interview with trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf.

Ibrahim Maalouf discovered the trumpet with his father Nassim Maalouf – a former student of Maurice André and the first Arabic trumpeter to play Western classical music. He studied modern, classical, baroque and contemporary concertos, and at the same time was surrounded by Arabic classical, ethnic and traditional music. All those types of music were based on makams (Arabic modes), and Ibrahim could reproduce them thanks to his father’s invention in the sixties – the quarter-tone trumpet (with a fourth valve). The music that comes out of this particular trumpet is the expression of an age-old culture. Nobody before his father had thought of paying tribute to it by adapting the Arabic musical language to the trumpet through the real quarter tones system.
As a boy, Maalouf used to dream of becoming an architect in order to rebuild Lebanon. Instead he built his life around the rich and mixed heritage which he can communicate through his music.
After a prestigious classical career with several international awards (France, Hungary, Finland, USA), the 1er prix of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, and after having collaborated with many symphony and chamber orchestras, as well as various ensembles throughout the world, Maalouf became a well known figure on the music scene thanks to his collaboration with singers such as Sting, Amadou and Mariam, Lhasa de Sela , Salif Keita, Vanessa Paradis and many others who wanted to use his sound and his unique playing style to color their music.
Maalouf has long been one of the most sought after musicians to accompany such artists in a wide variety of styles, not only in the studios but also onstage. And yet despite the pleasure and rich artistic experience gained from working with these artists, Maalouf hasn’t been sidetracked from his own priorities: composing and developing his work in a highly personal manner so that the extent of his gifts as an instrumentalist – and the diversity of his own influences – can express themselves fully.
Maalouf was rapidly recognized by the Jazz world and his five albums were unanimously acclaimed by the national and international press. After Diasporas (2007), Diachronism (2009), Diagnostic (2011), Wind (film soundtrack-2012), and Illusions (2013) for which he received from the French Music Awards the prize of Best World Music Album.
Maalouf also composes music for symphonic orchestras, different ensembles, and film scores. His film credits include the soundtracks of Prey to the Wind, Smart Ass, Yves Saint Laurent, and Red Rose. Additionally, he teaches improvisation to all instruments in a Conservatoire Supérieur in Paris.
In 2006, Maalouf created his own label to produce his albums but also more recently to produce other projects and artists.
His release Kalthoum (2015) is a celebration of women who changed the course of history and whose artistic influence has had an impact even in our present lives. Maalouf says “I chose a symbolic figure, a true landmark in the history of the Arab people, and is also the voice that I heard the most since my infancy: Oum Kalthoum.”
Kalthoum is based on “Alf Leila Wa Leila” (“One Thousand and One Nights “), one of the biggest hits of the Egyptian diva Oum Kalthoum. Maalouf and pianist Frank Woeste “translated” the suite into a fairly conventional jazz suite, but kept its innovative blending. This 1969 song composed by Baligh Hamidi is a suite of about an hour, with a chorus of 3 minutes and couplets from 5-25 minutes. Maalouf says: “Improvisation, in the original version as in this version, is important, but this result is mostly a series of scenes in which the staging was exciting to transcribe.”
Recorded and mixed in New York with the same team as the 2011 Wind album, Kalthoum continues his collaboration with Larry Grenadier (bass), Clarence Penn (drums), Mark Turner (Saxophone) and Frank Woeste (piano).
Red & Black Light (2015) focuses on strong women using primarily an electro-pop style. The personnel features Eric Legnini (keyboards), François Delporte (guitar) Stéphane Galland (drums).
Bio adapted from the Impulse! Records description of Kalthoum and other sources.
This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
Ibrahim Maalouf will be making a rare US appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room on September 30th and October 1st. He’ll also be at the Monterey and San Francisco Jazz Festivals and have standalone concerts in Columbus OH; and Montreal and Quebec City, Canada. See his website for dates.
Web Extras
Watch Maalouf play “Red & Black Light” in this live clip.

Watch this swinging live clip of “Khaltoum”.

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

Sunday 7/26/15 Show: Kurt Elling


The next show will air on Sunday, July 26, 2015 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast will feature an interview with the versatile vocalist Kurt Elling.

GRAMMY® winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last fourteen years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese—the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, Elling has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda and Proust into his work. The late poet and Bollingen Prize winner Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” Said Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, “In Kurt Elling’s art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music.”

Elling has toured vigorously throughout his career, thrilling audiences throughout the world. In that time he has led his own ensemble and has collaborated with many of the world’s finest orchestras.

Elling’s new album Passion World is indeed all about “passions” – the forces that shake our souls. As one of the busiest touring jazz artists, Elling has encountered these passions around the world; he has observed how the same depth of feeling is shaped in different ways by each unique culture through which it is filtered. The result is an album vibrant with diversity and variety, and at the same time a singular celebration of what makes us all human.

Bio excerpt courtesy of www.kurtelling.com.

Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Web Extras

Watch Elling’s stunning version of “Nature Boy” recorded live with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Watch the preview video for Elling’s Passion World release.

Watch Elling’s adaptation of Coltrane’s “Resolution” recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Sunday 10/5/14 Show: Cal Massey’s legacy with Salim Washington


Photo: Cal Massey |

The next show will air on Sunday, October 5, 2014 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of Suga’ will feature a discussion with musician, composer and educator Salim Washington on the work of the legendary trumpeter, composer and arranger Cal Massey. You can hear a short preview below.

Calvin “Cal” Massey (January 11, 1928 – October 25, 1972) is virtually unknown with the exception of both highly knowledgeable “jazz” scholars and a small coterie of illustrious musicians who remain alive and were immensely indebted to Massey’s musical influence and mentorship.

Massey studied trumpet under Freddie Webster, and following this played in the big bands of Jay McShann, Jimmy Heath, and Billie Holiday. In the late 1950s he led an ensemble with Jimmy Garrison, McCoy Tyner, and Tootie Heath; John Coltrane and Donald Byrd occasionally played with them. In the 1950s he gradually receded from active performance and concentrated on composition; his works were recorded by Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Philly Joe Jones, and Archie Shepp. Massey played with Shepp from 1969 until 1972.

The most comprehensive article on Cal Massey was written by the late Fred Ho. Ho is also responsible for the only recording of Massey’s 1970s nine-part “Black Liberation Suite,” which was revisited in 1986 with new arrangements by one of Massey’s close collaborators Romulus Franceschini, Massey also performed in The Romas Orchestra with Franceschini.

Massey’s last composition was Lady Day: A Musical Tragedy. Massey was a father figure and close friend to many of the greatest “jazz” musicians of the post-World War era until his early death in 1972.

Salim_WashingtonSalim Washington is co-author of Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever and continues to be a committed teacher, writer, speaker and performer in numerous solo, group and ensemble projects. He is also touring with the Eco-Music Big Band, a jazz ensemble mixing the music of Fred Ho and Cal Massey with political aspects. When he first met Fred Ho at Harvard in 1976, the two instantly became good friends, political comrades and musical collaborators. The two crossed paths again in 2000 when Fred reached out and asked Salim to join his Afro-Asian Music Ensemble. The pair would go on working together, playing and giving lectures as a scientific duo in numerous events. In 2012, they started the Scientific Soul Sessions, a collective for revolutionaries to build a soulful and scientific community. The Eco-Music Big Band is one of the many progenies from this effort of using art to inform politics and vice versa.

Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Web Extras:

Read Brooklyn College Professor Jeff Taylor‘s article “Brooklyn Rediscovers Cal Massey” in the spring 2010 American Music Review for more background on Cal Massey: PDF

Watch the late Fred Ho conduct a 2012 live performance of Massey’s “The Black Liberation Suite, Part One” at Harlem’s Red Rooster club with show guest Salim Washington on saxophone.


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