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Sunday 6/23 Show: Roy Ayers

1010912_10151658770621170_898573548_nThe next show will air on Sunday June 23, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will feature an exclusive interview with vibraphonist Roy Ayers. You can hear a short preview of the show below.

First known as one of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and ’80s, Roy Ayers’ reputation is now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972’s “Move to Groove” by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers’ own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. His own reaction to being canonized by the hip-hop crowd as the “Icon Man” is tempered with the detachment of a survivor in a rough business. “I’m having fun laughing with it,” he has said. “I don’t mind what they call me, that’s what people do in this industry.”

Roy Edward Ayers, Jr. was born in Los Angeles, CA on September, 10 1940. He comes by his affinity with music naturally, as his mother Ruby Ayers was a schoolteacher and local piano instructor and his father Roy Sr., a sometimes-parking attendant and trombonist. As often happens in a household filled with the love and the appreciation for music, Roy began to demonstrate his musical aptitude by the tender age of five, by which time he was playing boogie woogie tunes on the piano. He turned to the steel guitar by the age of nice, had stints during his teens playing flute, trumpet and drums before embracing the vibes as his instrument of choice.

Now in his fourth decade in the music business, Ayers, known as the Godfather of Neo-soul, continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers. In the 60’s he was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, and transformed into a popular R&B band leader in the 70’s/80’s. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand whose work has been sampled by music industry heavyweights including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, and Ice Cube.

Produced by Joyce Jones and Hank Williams. Hosted and Engineered by Joyce Jones.

Web Extra: Watch Roy Ayers perform “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” live in a tribute to Miles Davis.

Watch The Roy Ayers Project: Upcoming documentary on Roy. Details at their website.

Sunday 6/9 show: Joe Sample

Joe Sample/ Flickr user Tom.Beetz via Wikicommons

Joe Sample/ Flickr user Tom.Beetz via Wikicommons

The next show will air on Sunday June 9, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will feature an exclusive interview with pianist Joe Sample, known to many from his work with The Jazz Crusaders (later The Crusaders). You can hear a short preview below.One of the many jazzmen who started out playing hard bop but went electric during the fusion era, Joe Sample was, in the late ’50s, a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxman Wilton Felder, and drummer Stix Hooper. The Crusaders’ debt to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers wasn’t hard to miss — except that the L.A.-based unit had no trumpeter, and became known for its unique tenor/trombone front line. Sample, a hard-swinging player who could handle chordal and modal/scalar improvisation equally well, stuck to the acoustic piano during The Crusaders’ early years — but would place greater emphasis on electric keyboards when the band turned to jazz-funk in the early ’70s and dropped “Jazz” from its name. Though he’d recorded as a trio pianist on 1969’s Fancy Dance, 1978’s Rainbow Seeker was often described as his first album as a leader. In contrast to the gritty music The Crusaders became known for, Sample’s own albums on MCA and, later, Warner Bros. and PRA have generally favored a very lyrical and introspective jazz-pop approach.

Sunday 5/5 show: Will Calhoun

Will_CalhounThe next show will air on Sunday May 5, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will feature drummer and percussionist Will Calhoun.

Hard-hitting Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun returns to his Jazz roots on his soon to be released “Life In this World.” Join us while we discuss parts of Brother Will’s drum and recording journey.

Will Calhoun, the widely acclaimed drummer from the Bronx, New York, graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received a Bachelors degree in Music Production and engineering. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Buddy Rich Jazz Masters Award for outstanding performance by a drummer.

Will’s first jazz CD as a bandleader is entitled The Will Calhoun Quintet: Live at the Blue Note. The disc is an adventurous journey through Will’s approach to acoustic Jazz, World and Ambient music. The line-up features Bobby Watson-sax, Terrell Stafford-trumpet, John Benitez-bass and Orrin Evans-piano. Will’s song writing, arrangements and drumming on this CD are ground breaking. Although this was Will’s first attempt at fronting a jazz group, Down Beat Magazine, Jazz Times, and Billboard Magazine have given the CD top ratings. Drum Magazine’s readers poll voted Will’s CD 1st runner up for Drummer/Band leader.

One of Will’s latest creations is his follow-up release on the Halfnote label: Native Lands. Native Lands can be described as Jazz meets World, meets trance-inducing Urban music. This is a double package – CD/DVD in which Calhoun marries his far reaching interests in a genre-bending collection that taps key expressionists from various backgrounds. Among those contributing are Pharoah Sanders, Mos Def, Buster Williams, Stanley Jordan, Kevin Eubanks, Marcus Miller and Wallace Roney, as well as Nana Vasconcelos from Brazil and Cheick Tidiane Seck from Mali. The album includes a DVD with over ninety minutes of music videos and documentary materials that chronicle the last ten years of Will’s life and travels.

The “Life In This World” CD Release event is scheduled for Friday to Sunday, May 17-19, 2013 at New York City’s Blue Note. See the Tour Schedule page on Will’s site for additional dates.

For all you Living Colour fans, the band is touring again and working on new material. See their tour schedule for information for these dates.

Produced, engineered, edited, and hosted by Joyce Jones.

Web Extras

Watch Will, keyboardist Marc Cary, and bassist Charnett Moffett perform a blistering live version of “King Tut Strut” at NYC’s Blue Note in 2012.

Watch Oumou Sangare with her band featuring Will at the 2012 Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival.

Next show: Sunday 8/12 with tubist Howard Johnson

The next show will air on Sunday August 8, 2012 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org and feature an exclusive interview recorded live at the WBAI studio with tubist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer Howard Johnson. You can hear a 30-second preview below:

One of the top tuba soloists since the early ’60s, Howard Johnson is a very versatile player who not only plays tuba and baritone but other reeds and trumpet. He moved to New York in 1963, where he worked with Charles Mingus (1964-1966), Hank Crawford, and Archie Shepp. In 1966, he started a 20-year off-and-on association with Gil Evans. Johnson’s four-tuba group Substructure performed with Taj Mahal, and, in the late ’70s, he formed a different tuba band called Gravity that, in 1996, finally had the opportunity to record (plus play at the Monterey Jazz Festival). Howard Johnson’s résumé is extensive and includes recording stints with Crawford (1983-1984), Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, Jimmy Heath, John Lennon, Bob Moses, and George Gruntz’s Concert Jazz Band. He performed with The Band during the 1970s, appearing on both “Rock of Ages” and “The Last Waltz,” and his association with Levon Helm extended into the 2000s, during which period he often toured alongside the drummer.

Produced, hosted, and engineered by Joyce Jones.

Watch a video of Johnson performing with Gravity …

Next show: Sunday 7/22 “The Blues Journey” with Guthrie Ramsey

The next show will air on Sunday 7/22/2012 from 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org.

This installment will offer “The Blues Journey,” which is a WBAI Summer FUN Drive special, presented by Dr. Guthrie Ramsey, Professor of Music History at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ramsey will lay out his theory of this completely American music form known as The Blues. This theory is different from the standard 12-bar blues understanding. Listen to a 40-second preview:

Dr. Ramsey specializes in African-American and American music, jazz, cultural studies, popular music, film studies, and historiography. He lectures internationally on these topics. Ramsey is the author of Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop ( University of California Press, 2003), which was named outstanding book of the year by IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music). His current project, In Walked Bud: Earl “Bud ” Powell and the Modern Jazz Challenge, is a study of jazz pianist Bud Powell and is forthcoming from the University of California Press. He has also begun a new book on singer/songwriter Curtis Mayfield. Ramsey was a Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College in 1993, a DuBois Institute Fellow at Harvard University in 1996, and taught at Tufts University from 1994-1998. In 2001 he received the Irving Lowens Award for best article from the Society for American Music for “Who Hears Here? Black Music, Critical Bias, and the Musicological Skintrade.” He has published in Black Music Research Journal, The Musical Quarterly, Journal of Popular Music Studies, The Black Scholar, Callaloo, American Music, American Quarterly, Journal of the American Musicological Society, The New York Times and The Village Voice. His band Dr. Guy’s MusiQologY has performed for audiences in South America, New York, Australia, the University of Pennsylvania, the Kimmel Center, and in Philadelphia venues such as Zanzibar Blue and Gloria’s Seafood House. Ramsey composes and arranges all of MusiQologY’s music, which moves beyond the traditional Jazz idiom, experimenting with R&B, Latin, Hip Hop fusions. The band’s first CD, “Y the Q?” The band’s most recent release is “The Colored Waiting Room.”

If you enjoy the show, we ask you to make a pledge to WBAI to help keep it (and us) on the air. You can opt to get a copy of the show on CD as a thank you gift. Sound good? See the details at WBAI’s pledge site.

Sunday, March 4, 2012 show: Diane Reeves

This show aired on WBAI on Sunday, March 4, 2012. You can hear the audio from the full show on our archives page or listen to a short teaser below.

This installment of the program will feature composer and song stylist Miss Dianne Reeves.

Picture of jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves

jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves

Dianne Reeves has been one of the top singers in jazz ever since the late ’80s. A logical successor to Dinah Washington and Carmen McRae (although even she can not reach the impossible heights of Ella and Sarah Vaughan), Reeves is a superior interpreter of lyrics and a skilled scat singer. She was a talented vocalist with an attractive voice even as a teenager when she sang and recorded with her high school band. She was encouraged by Clark Terry, who had her perform with him while she a college student at the University of Colorado.

There have been many times when Reeves has explored music beyond jazz. She did session work in Los Angeles starting in 1976, toured with Caldera, worked with Sergio Mendes in 1981, and toured with Harry Belafonte during 1983-1986. Reeves began recording as a leader in 1982 and became a regular at major jazz festivals. Her earlier recordings tended to be quite eclectic and many of her live performances have included original African-inspired folk music (which is often autobiographical), world music, and pop.

However, after signing with Blue Note in 1987, and particularly since 1994, Reeves has found her place in jazz, recording several classic albums along the way, most notably I Remember, The Grand Encounter, The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan, and A Little Moonlight. In 2005, she appeared onscreen singing ’50s standards in the George Clooney film Good Night, and Good Luck. When You Know was released in 2008. Reeves is at her best performing swinging jazz live. And her musical introduction of her band (which can be lengthy, witty, and full of inspired scatting) is sometimes nearly as memorable as the music. She is always capable of greatness. (Biography by Scott Yanow at AllMusic.com)

Hosted by Joyce Jones.

Next Show: 1/15 on Paris Blues/Romare Bearden

The next show will air on Sunday 1/15/2012 from 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. Listen to the 40-second promo below (may not work in all browsers, especially mobile ones):

Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Romare Bearden Foundation are presenting the exhibition “Paris Blues Revisited: Romare Bearden, Albert Murray, Sam Shaw” as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Bearden’s birth.

Designed as a book-on-the-wall, Paris Blues Revisited …presents fine reproductions of collages by Romare Bearden, writing by Albert Murray and photographs by Sam Shaw. Following the Shaw-produced film Paris Blues, these three men decided to improvise their own Paris Blues – a collaborative picture-and-writing book celebrating Paris as well as Duke Ellington, co-composer (with Billy Strayhorn) of the movie’s soundtrack and Louis Armstrong, one of that movie’s stars. That book was never completed. This exhibit shows, for the first time, finished pages, some of them unmistakable masterworks, as well as works-in-progress that make clear the power of jazz to inspire collaborations of long-lasting beauty.

Paris Blues Revisited is curated by Robert G. O’Meally, C. Daniel Dawson and Diedra Harris Kelley, and designed by Florio Design.

This edition of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will host a discussion with Robert G O’Meally, Professor of English at Columbia University and co-curator of exhibitions with Jazz at Lincoln Center and Diedra Harris Kelley, co-director of the Romare Bearden Foundation and niece of Romare Bearden.

Hosted by Arts Producer Joyce Jones.

Next show: Sunday 1/1/12 with Creed Taylor

Happy New Year and Habari Gani Imani! First, a quick update on what the Suga’ team has been up to. If you haven’t been over to our audio archives page yet, jump over and check it out! We’ve uploaded most of the shows that aired in 2011 and are working backwards from there to make older shows available: most of 2010 should be up over the New Year’s weekend. There will also be a few web-only extras: snippets of sound that didn’t quite make the cut for the original show for whatever reason.

The next show will air on New Year’s Day: Sunday 1/1/2012 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. Listen to the 45-second promo below (may not work in all browsers, especially mobile ones):

Tune in to hear an interview with Creed Taylor, who revolutionized the respectability and popularity of jazz with CTI Records. In fact, some of the most significant jazz of the last half of the 20th century has been fashioned under Taylor’s guidance and supervision.

This show is a remixed version of one that originally aired as part of WBAI’s fifth Hip Hop Takeover in June 2007 and primarily focused on songs from the CTI Records catalog that have been sampled by hip hop artists.

Taylor has been especially influential in the packaging of music. His records are as much art to see as they are to hear. With heavy, glossy, gatefold covers featuring stark design and striking photography, his records have the sound and feel of something bearing unusual class and great quality.

After earning a degree in psychology in the early 1950s, Taylor played trumpet in clubs around Virginia Beach. He relocated to New York and secured a venerable post as head of artists and repertoire at Bethlehem Records. He produced a wide variety of jazz for Bethlehem before he took a higher profile position with ABC Paramount during the late fifties. At ABC, he produced some jazz and a great many more vocal recordings that enjoyed popular success.

When ABC Records sought to form a jazz subsidiary in 1960, Taylor was recruited to oversee it all. He called the company “Impulse!,” conceived its distinctive black and orange label and spine design, brought in photographer Pete Turner for elegant, vivid cover art and initiated heavy cardboard, gatefold sleeves (to convey substance). Taylor, however, stayed with Impulse for only a few months. But during this short time, he recorded historically significant music by John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Oliver Nelson and Ray Charles.

Taylor jumped ship to accept a lucrative offer to run Verve Records, the jazz label Norman Granz sold to MGM in 1961. Here was a company that had solid name recognition in the jazz community as well as a rich parent company to fund many of Taylor’s lavish goals. Verve’s big budgets and Creed Taylor’s proven ability to turn jazz into hits (starting in 1962 with Stan Getz’s “The Girl From Ipanema”) afforded limitless opportunities to employ the cream of the crop in studio musicians for these records.

In November 1967, Taylor arranged with A&M’s Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss to begin his own organization, CTI Records. The team he took with him were among the finest in the business: engineer Rudy Van Gelder, designer Sam Antupit and, again, photographer Pete Turner. He also developed a small in-house staff of musicians comprised of jazz’s greatest names.

In 1970, Creed Taylor launched CTI as an independent entity. The shift was seen in the switch from the cover’s white backgrounds to black. George Benson made the transition too, staying throughout CTI’s greatest years in the 1970s. Some of the music’s greatest players, including (past Suga’ in My Bowl guest) Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine, were recruited to CTI and ultimately created some of their most remarkable recordings while under Creed Taylor’s aegis.

(CT’s bio adapted from Doug Payne’s excellent blog entry.)

Hosted by Arts Producer Joyce Jones.

Next show: Sunday, 12/11 on Christian McBride

The next show will air on Sunday 12/11 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org and feature bassist Christian McBride.

Tune into this program to hear more about this hard-working bassist, composer and band leader, who was recently nominated for a Grammy for one of his latest two recordings, The Good Feeling.

Beginning in 1989, this Philadelphia-born bassist moved to New York City to further his classical studies at the Juilliard School, only to be snatched up by alto saxophonist, Bobby Watson. Since then, McBride’s list of accomplishments have been nothing short of staggering. As a sideman in the jazz world alone, he’s worked with the best of the very best – Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny. In the R&B world, he’s not only played with, but also arranged for Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. In the pop/rock world, he’s extensively collaborated with Sting, Carly Simon, Don Henley, and Bruce Hornsby. In the hip-hop/neo-soul world, he’s collaborated with the Roots, D’Angelo, and Queen Latifah. In many other specialty projects, he’s worked closely with opera legend Kathleen Battle, bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, the Shanghai Quartet and the Sonus Quartet.

Away from the bass, Christian has become quite an astute and respected spokesperson for the music. In 1997, he spoke on former President Bill Clinton’s town hall meeting “Racism in the Performing Arts”. In 2000, he was named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions. In 2005, he was officially named the co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Also in 2005, he was named the second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

Hosted by Arts Producer Joyce Jones

Dexter Gordon Playlist

The playlist for the show on Dexter Gordon is now online on our playlists page. Stop by and take a look. In case you missed it (or want to hear it again), it’s online in WBAI’s archives until Sunday the 27th. Look for the Sunday, November 20th, 11 PM time slot. (We’re still working on getting full audio archives online here: we’ll let you know when it happens.) And save the date for the next show, which will be Sunday December 11th featuring an interview and with music from bassist Christian McBride! We’ll do a full post on that soon. Thanks for listening.

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