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Sunday 9/21/14 Show: Joe Sample Memorial

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Photo: Joe Sample | Flickr user Tom.Beetz via Wikicommons

The next show will air on Sunday, September 21, 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’ In My Bowl” will feature a rebroadcast of a 2013 show with pianist Joe Sample, known to many from his work with The Jazz Crusaders (later The Crusaders), who died on September 12, 2014. 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.

Unsurprisingly, there are several Sample obituaries. For starters, we recommend the ones by Peter Keepnews in the New York Times, Steve Chawkins in the Los Angeles Times (who notes The Crusaders’ and Sample’s appeal with the activist community), and Andrew Dansby in The Houston Chronicle (who notes his return to Creole music at the end of his life).

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 Sample and Randy Crawford perform their classic “Street Life” live in Japan in 2008.



Watch Sample perform “Chain Reaction” live with the Crusaders in Germany, 1987.

Sunday 9/7/14 Show: Abiodun Oyewole

Abiodun_Oyewole_flower

The next show will air on Sunday, September 7, 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 the program will feature an interview with poet and vocalist Abiodun Oyewole. You can hear a short preview of the show below.

Abiodun Oyewole grew up Charles Davis in Queens, NY. Listening to his parents’ jazz and gospel records and studying Langston Hughes and other great poets in school helped nurture Oyewole’s love of poetry. His mother taught him to “throw [his] voice” by making him recite the Lord’s Prayer in their basement so that she could hear him in the kitchen.

When he was 15, Charles Davis and a friend went into a Yoruban Temple in Harlem out of curiosity. The Yoruba priest there performed a ceremony with Davis and gave him the name Abiodun Oyewole. He began reading about the Yoruba gods and the significance of one’s ancestors, and felt a deep spiritual connection to the religion: “I could say a prayer to my ancestors every morning so they could help me through my life. [That] made all the sense in the world to me.”

The Last Poets were born on May 19, 1968, when David Nelson, Gylan Kain, and Abiodun Oyewole read poetry at a memorial for Malcolm X. Their goal was to be a poetic voice for Malcolm’s call for self-determination and black nationalism. Like many black activists of the time, they were tired of Martin Luther King’s integrationist agenda. They were much more influenced by the politics of radical members of the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), and the Black Panthers.

Their style of poetry reflected the radicalism of the day: “…with the Poets, we were angry and we had something to say. We addressed the language. We just put it right in front of your face.” But Yoruba also had a profound influence on Oyewole’s poetry: “It’s given me a foundation to elevate my way of thinking and to connect me with the Motherland, as well as to create images that are wholesome and holistic, as opposed to having to repeat the Tarzan madness that has been given to us.”

The Last Poets went through many incarnations as members came and left – including Oyewole, who served four years in a North Carolina prison for robbery. They released several albums and wrote the classic poems “Niggers are Scared of Revolution,” “This is Madness,” and “When the Revolution Comes.” They are widely acknowledged as being the fathers of the hip-hop movement.

The original 1970 album, titled simply The Last Poets and released on Douglas Records, remains a landmark of Black Arts Movement spoken word.

The Last Poets, consisting of original member Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan with Don Babatunde Eaton on percussion, are now enjoying a resurgence of popularity.

Oyewole’s latest projects are a book of his collected work, Branches of the Tree of Life, published by 2Leaf Press, and a CD of new poetry, titled #Gratitude, which is schduled for release in fall 2014 and has a Kickstarter campaign to provide the necessary funding for independent production and distribution and an affiliated documentary film.

Show engineered and edited by Joyce Jones. Produced and hosted by Joyce Jones and Hank Williams. 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.

Program note: Last call for Suga in My Bowl’s premium of Howard University professor Dr. Greg Kimathi Carr‘s fantastic biography of the legendary Pan African scholar Dr. John Henrik Clarke that we previewed last month on the show. You can support WBAI (and our show) by pledging for a copy of the Dr. Clarke special on CD or donating as little as $5 at WBAI’s secure online donation site.

Web Extras:
Listen to one track from Oyewole’s forthcoming #Gratitude release.

Watch a short preview of Oyewole’s forthcoming 2Leaf Press book Branches of the Tree of Life, filmed and produced by Vagabond Beaumont.

Watch the Kickstarter video for Oyewole’s #Gratitude release.

Sunday, 3/9/14 Show: Catherine Russell

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The next show will air on Sunday, March 9th, 2013 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. During this installment, Suga’ in My Bowl covers the second of four women in different areas of this music during its four weeks of broadcasting in Women’s History Month. This week’s guest is vocalist, guitarist and mandolin player Catherine Russell.

Catherine Russell is a native New Yorker, born into musical royalty. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was born in Panama, emigrated to New Orleans and then New York City, becoming a legendary pianist/bandleader/arranger/composer, and Louis Armstrong’s long-time collaborator and musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, was a pioneering bassist/guitarist/vocalist and holder of advanced degrees from Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, who performed with International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams, and Ruth Brown. Not surprisingly considering her pedigree, Catherine Russell is a one of a kind musician and vocalist. A graduate of American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Catherine has toured the world, performing and recording with David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, Carrie Smith, and many others.

Since the 2006 release of her debut album, Cat, on Harmonia Mundi’s World Village label, Catherine Russell has been making new fans and friends.

Three acclaimed and chart topping albums have followed. Her sophomore release in 2008, Sentimental Streak, was helmed by Grammy winning producer/multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell, winning a prestigious German Record Critics Award.

Her third album, Inside This Heart of Mine released in 2010, contains gems from the 1920’s through the Present, from the likes of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Maxine Sullivan, Wynonie Harris, Howlin’ Wolf, Rachelle Garniez, and Catherine’s dad, Luis Russell. Inside This Heart of Mine showcases the ever-deepening interpretive wiles of Catherine Russell’s ripe, honey-dipped alto as she personifies the living heart and proud history of each song.

Strictly Romancin’, released in 2012, is a paean to natural attractions; to a lover, an art form, and to one’s family heritage. Our faithful heroine explores love’s foibles, failures, and bliss, from amorous to humorous, embodying the lost art of song savvy, inhabiting the lyric, and allowing each melody to shine. On this 14 song collection, this ever soulful jazz/blues vocalist takes us on a journey; from Harlem dance hall, to Parisian Café, to Store Front Church, to New Orleans Gin Joint, to Uptown Cabaret, blurring distinctions between the carnal and the eternal, in a musical tour de force.

Ms. Russell has performed on three continents, and been a hit on major Jazz Festivals including, Montreal, Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Bern International, Charlie Parker, JazzAscona, Rochester, Detroit International, Tanglewood, Lotus World Music, Panama, I Love Jazz – Brazil, and at sold out shows at premier venues like The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Sculler’s in Boston, The Dakota in Minneapolis, Yoshi’s in San Francisco, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, and The Pasadena Pops in Los Angeles.

In 2012, she won a Grammy Award for her appearance as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire. In 2013, Russell was heard prominently on the soundtrack for the movie Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg.

Catherine’s 5th album, Bring It Back was released on February 11, 2014 on the Jazz Village label, a new imprint from Harmonia Mundi. With her new album, Russell digs deeper into a rich vein of musical treasures. Mining collaborations between her legendary father, Luis Russell, and the great Louis Armstrong, Russell brings along the same team from her two previous chart-topping albums. Gems from the Jazz Age and Swing Era performed with new arrangements for 10 piece orchestra, blend seamlessly with reinventions sourced from Blues icons Esther Phillips, Al Hibbler, Wynonie Harris, and Little Willie John.

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.

Show produced, engineered, edited, and hosted by Joyce Jones.

Web Extras:

Information on the 1948 musicians’ strike is on Wikipedia and in a longer article in the Wall Street Journal (may require a WSJ subscription).

Sunday February 16th Show: Jayne Cortez and Amiri Baraka tribute

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The next show will air on Sunday, February 16th, 2013 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. During this membership/fund drive installment, Suga’ in My Bowl honors former Suga’ guests Jayne Cortez and Amiri Baraka to continue to not forget our cultural warriors as part of Black History Month. Join us as we celebrate their life work and influence with help from participants of a recent tribute hosted by the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University.

Don’t forget the program is the premium, so please tune in and donate whatever you can to help us continue this listener-supported experiment.



On Friday, December 28, 2012, Jayne Cortez left this world. Jayne Cortez was born in Arizona, grew up in California, and currently lives in New York City and Dakar, Senegal. She is the author of ten books of poems and performer of her poetry with music on nine recordings. Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic, dynamic innovations in lyricism, and visceral sound. Cortez has presented her work and ideas at universities, museums, and festivals in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, the Caribbean and the United States. Her poems have been translated into many languages and widely published in anthologies, journals, and magazines. She is the recipient of several awards including: Arts International, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International African Festival Award, The Langston Hughes Award, and the American Book Award. Her most recent books are The Beautiful Book (Bola Press, 2007), Jazz Fan Looks Back (Hanging Loose Press), and Somewhere In Advance of Nowhere (Serpent’s Tail Ltd). Her latest CD recordings with the Firespitter Band are Taking the Blues Back Home (Harmolodic and Verve Records); Borders of Disorderly Time and Find Your Own Voice (both by Bola Press). Cortez directed the film Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future, and organized the “Slave Routes the Long Memory” and “Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writer Dissecting Globalization” conferences. Both conferences were held at New York University. She was president of the Organization of Women Writers of Africa, Inc. and appeared on screen in the films: Women In Jazz and Poetry In Motion.

On Thursday, January 9, 2014, Amiri Baraka left this world. Baraka’s Blues People (1963), remains a landmark work on African-American music a half-century after its publication. With influences on his work ranging from musical orishas such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Sun Ra to the Cuban Revolution, Malcolm X and world revolutionary movements, Baraka is renowned as one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s that became, though short-lived, the virtual blueprint for a new American theater aesthetics. His Obie award-winning play Dutchman (1963) and The Slave (1964), helped solidify the revolutionary aesthetics of Black Arts and laid claim to the movement’s position as the cultural wing of the Black Power Movement.

Baraka’s Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems includes the title poem that headlined him in the media in ways rare to poets and authors. The recital of the poem “that mattered” engaged the poet warrior in a battle royal with the very governor of New Jersey and with a legion of detractors demanding his resignation as the state’s Poet Laureate because of Somebody Blew Up America’s provocatively poetic inquiry (in a few lines of the poem) about who knew beforehand about the New York City World Trade Center bombings in 2001.

Baraka lived in Newark with his wife and author Amina Baraka; they have five children and led the word-music ensemble, Blue Ark: The Word Ship. Baraka was Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his awards and honors included an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts grants, and Poet Laureate of New Jersey.

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.

We’re not offering any special premium or thank-you gift this week. We’re just asking listeners who can to donate to WBAI in support of our show. You can give as little as $5 online and full station membership is $25. Anything you can pitch in will help a lot, especially in sending the message to station management that the type of show we do is still relevant.

Show produced, engineered, and hosted by Joyce Jones.

Both Baraka and Sanchez were profiled in previous full Suga’ in My Bowl shows, which can be found in our audio archives.

Sunday 11/17 Show: Eartha Kitt Tribute

Eartha_KittReminder: Suga’ in My Bowl now airs weekly on WBAI, except for the last Sunday of the month! Please update your calendars and pass the word on to friends if you like the show.

The next show will air on Sunday November 17, 2013 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 the program will feature an interviews with Kitt Shapiro (Eartha Kitt’s daughter) and singer Rene Marie as we honor her life and work of of Eartha Kitt. Listen to a short preview below:



We’ll also revisit our conversation with Rene Marie about her first musical tribute, “I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt“, which was released on Tuesday, November 12. Marie wrote on her facebook page that she “swore [she] would never do a tribute CD. But I fell in love with Eartha kitt and the damage was done!” There will be an opportunity for listeners to win tickets to see Marie during her run at Jazz Standard from November 20-24.

Eartha Mae Kitt was an international star who gives new meaning to the word versatile. She has distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. Miss Kitt was one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), the Grammy (twice), and Emmy Award (twice). She regularly enthralled New York nightclub audiences during her extended stays at The Cafè Carlyle and these intimate performances have been captured in her recording, Eartha Kitt, Live at The Carlyle.

Miss Kitt’s distinctive voice has enchanted an entirely new generation of fans. Young fans loved her as YZMA, the villain, in Disney’s animated feature “The Emperor’s New Groove”, (2001 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance / Animated Feature). Miss Kitt was also featured in the sequel, “The Emperor’s New Groove II” and reprised the role in the popular Saturday morning animated series “The Emperor’s New School” for which she received a 2007 and 2008 Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program and a 2007 and 2008 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance in an Animated Television Production.

Miss Kitt died on December 25, 2008 and is survived by her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, and four grandchildren.

Don’t miss announcements from Hank Williams of upcoming performances from former Suga’ guests in our “On The Bandstand” segment, which you can also catch on our blog on Sunday.

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

Web Extras

Watch a teaser of Rene Marie sing “I Wanna Be Evil” from her new albun:



And now watch Eartha herself:

Sunday 5/19 show: Abbey Lincoln tribute

941476_10201258401371900_1206633860_nThe next show will air on Sunday May 19, 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. On the heels of pianist Marc Cary’s recent Harlem Stage events and new release honoring Abbey Lincoln, this installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will continue to honor renaissance woman Abbey Lincoln. This special was originally offered in October 2010. You can hear a short preview below.

Most people are only familiar with Abbey Lincoln as a singer and actress. However, Ms. Lincoln was also published poet, writer, visual artist and composer. During this special, several artists will either share their personal tributes and/or read the work of Ms. Lincoln. Contributing artists include:

Sonia Sanchez, who will read Ms. Lincoln’s piece “To Whom Will She Cry Rape?” from the 1970 Toni Cade Bambara anthology “The Black Woman” and originally printed in a 1966 issue of “The Negro Digest.” Latasha N. Nevada Diggs will read Ms. Lincoln’s poetry which was included in Amina and Amiri Baraka’s 1983 anthology titled “Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women.” Lashonda Katrice Barnett, author of “I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters on Their Craft,” which featured an exchange with Abbey Lincoln, will read excerpts from Ms. Lincoln’s unpublished autobiography. Rembrances from political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, writers the late Jayne Cortez, Amina and Amiri Baraka, Mark Anthony Neal, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Carl Hancock Rux, filmmakers Ifa Bayeza (“You Gotta Pay The Band”) and Carol Friedman (“Abbey Lincoln: The Music Is The Magic” in production), Maggie Brown (daughter of Oscar Brown Jr.), bassists Christian McBride and Charlie Haden.

These contributions will be offered as a 2-CD set in an effort to help continue this listener-supported experiment that is WBAI/Pacifica Radio. Please join us as we continue to remember Ms. Abbey Lincoln (Aug. 6, 1930 – Aug. 14, 2010).

Co-Hosted by Joyce Jones and Hank Williams. Produced and engineered by Arts Producer Joyce Jones.

Sunday 4/14 show: Carl Hancock Rux

The next show will air on Sunday April 17, 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 award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist Carl Hancock Rux. Listen to a short preview below:

RuxCarl Hancock Rux is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist. He is the former head of the MFA Writing for Performance Program at the California Institute of the Arts (2006–09) and has taught or been in residence at the University San of California–Diego, Stanford University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hollins University, the University of Iowa and Brown University.Rux is the author of the novel, Asphalt, the OBIE Award winning play, Talk, and the Village Voice Literary prize-winning collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta. Rux has also worked as a writer and frequent guest performer in dance, collaborating with Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women, Jane Comfort & Co., Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Martha Clark. Rux received a BESSIE© award for his direction of the Lisa Jones/Alva Rogers dance musical, Stained. Rux originated the title role in the folk opera production of The Temptation of St. Anthony, directed by Robert Wilson with book, libretto and music by Bernice Johnson Reagon as part of the RuhrTriennale festival in Duisburg, Germany. The opera made its American premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music/ BAM Next Wave Festival in October 2004 and official world premiere at the Paris Opera, Garnier.

His film credits include The Grand Inquisitor (as The One) directed by Tony Torn, Brooklyn Boheme (documentary) and Migrations directed by Nelson George; The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: a film About Gil Scott-Heron (documentary) among others.

Rux is the subject of the Voices of America television documentary, Carl Hancock Rux, Coming of Age, recipient of the CINE Golden Eagle Award (Larry Clamage/Richard Maniscalo producers), was host and programming director of the WBAI radio show, Live from The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, contributing correspondent for XM radio’s The Bob Edwards Show and frequent guest host on WNYC’s Soundcheck. Rux co-wrote and narrated the radio documentary, Walt Whitman; Songs of Myself, awarded the New York Press Club Journalism Award for Entertainment News. Originally aired in 2005, Songs of Myself has been broadcasted annually, most recently on WNYC 93.9 FM on April 24, 2011.

In August 2007 Rux’s “The Blackamoor Angel” was performed as part of Bard Summerscape at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Rux joined forces with composer Deirdre Murray to reimagine the curious life of Angelo Soliman (1721- 1797). Born in what is known today as Cameroon, he was abducted by slave traders at a young age, eventually landing in Vienna and tutoring two emperors, reputedly rubbing elbows with Mozart in a Masonic lodge and married to a cousin of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, in death Soliman wound up as taxidermy–stuffed and showcased beside elephants and apes at Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Zoological Garden.

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, WNYC’s the Greene Space commissioned Rux to create and perform a spoken word piece meant to be a mosaic of remembrance of this historical event. Titled: A City Reimagined: Voices of 9/11 in Poetry and Performance, the piece was presented in partnership with The New Press and the Columbia Center for Oral History live in the Greene Space on September 7 & 8, 2011. Excerpts were subsequently aired on WKCR in NYC. Rux recited poetry he had crafted for the occasion. Actors Joan Allen, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Rocco Sisto, Peter Strauss, Rachel Ticotin, Ty Jones, Tamela Aldridge and Ishani Das read stories and remembrances excerpted from the Columbia Center for Oral History’s and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy’s collection of the accounts and observations of hundreds of people from diverse New York neighborhoods and backgrounds immediately after 9/11. The production featured live music from cellist/ trombonist Dana Leong and an art installation designed by Cey Adams.

It was Rux’s return to the Greene Space after a memorable appearance in A Global Piano and Literary Salon: Bebop Spoken Here on May 12, 2011 where he had entranced the audience with an impromptu recitation accompanied by jazz pianist, Gerald Clayton.

Mr. Rux’s last appeared onstage in the Foundry Theatre’s production How Much is Enough? in its three week run at avante garde performance space, St. Ann’s Warehouse last fall.

Mr. Rux is the curator of the WeDaPeoples Cabaret originally conceived by Sekou Sundiata and presented each September by Harlem Stage. Last fall the cabaret featured the comedienne and political satirist, Reno, and a mesmerizing performance by Nona Hendryx at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.

His cds include Rux Revue (Sony/550), Apothecary Rx (Giant Step) and Good Bread Alley (Thirsty Ear). His latest release is “Homeostasis,” which is “an exploration of jazz and 1960s/70s psychedelic vinyl…lush arrangements—a return to music beyond the cookie cutter format of beats and the omnipresent vocoder vocals.”

He is the recipient of several awards including the Herb Alpert Prize, NYFA Prize, NYFA Gregory Millard Fellow, and NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residency Fellow. He is currently working on his new novel and awaiting the premiere of his opera, Mackandal, in the fall of 2013 ((book & lyrics by Rux/ music by Yosvany Terry/art by Edouard Duval Carríe)

More information about Rux’s April 19 and 20 Apollo Theater dates is available here.

Watch pianist Gerald Clayton ahd Carl Hancock Rux perform live in WNYC Radio’s Greene Space.

Also see Rux’s video of the blues-inflected “Good Bread Alley”.

Sunday 3/24 show: Diane Schuur

The next show will air on Sunday March 24, 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 vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur. Listen to a short preview below:

481165_10151495232041170_424525180_nBorn in Tacoma, Washington, in December 1953, Schuur was blind from birth. She grew up in nearby Auburn, Washington, where her father was a police captain. Nicknamed Deedles at a young age, Schuur discovered the world of jazz via her father, a piano player, and her mother, who kept a formidable collection of Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington records in the house.

She was still a toddler when she learned to sing the Dinah Washington signature song, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Armed with the rare gift of perfect pitch, Schuur taught herself piano by ear and developed a rich, resonant vocal style early on, as evidenced in a recording of her first public performance at a Holiday Inn in Tacoma when she was ten years old. She received formal piano training at the Washington State School for the Blind, which she attended until age 11. By her early teens, she had amassed her own collection of Washington’s records and looked to the legendary vocalist as her primary inspiration.

Schuur made her first record in 1971, a country single entitled “Dear Mommy and Daddy,” produced by Jimmy Wakely. After high school, she focused on jazz and gigged around the northwest. In 1975, an informal audition with trumpeter Doc Severinson (then the leader of the Tonight Show band) led to a gig with Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy’s group at the Monterey Jazz Festival. She sang a gospel suite with Shaughnessy’s band in front of a festival audience that included jazz tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, who in turn invited her to participate in a talent showcase at the White House. A subsequent return performance at the White House led to a record deal with GRP, which released Schuur’s debut album, Deedles, in 1984.

Over the next 13 years, Schuur recorded 11 albums on GRP, including two Grammy winners: Timeless (1986) and Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra (1987).

After one album on Atlantic records in 1999 – Music is My Life, produced by Ahmet Ertegun – Schuur joined the Concord label with the 2000 release of Friends For Schuur. The move to Concord marked the beginning of a series of highly successful collaborative projects: Swingin’ For Schuur (2001), a set of finely crafted duets with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson; Midnight (2003), Schuur’s unique interpretations of thirteen songs (mostly new material) written or co-written by Barry Manilow; and Schuur Fire (2005), a decidedly Latin-flavored album featuring the Caribbean Jazz Project.

Schuur’s February 2008 Concord release, Some Other Time, is a recording of songs by jazz artists whom she first discovered via her parents during her childhood and adolescent years. The set also includes a surprisingly mature-sounding rendition of “September in the Rain,” recorded at the Holiday Inn in Tacoma in 1964 when Schuur was only ten years old.

Diane Schuur’s latest studio release, The Gathering, is unique in both material and style, and features special guests Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum. The Gathering is a collection of 10 classic country songs, mostly written during the golden era of the 1960s, and is the first time Schuur has featured this genre of music to this extent.

Schuur’s most recent release is Diane Schuur Live, and it is a unique and special album as it’s a project close to Diane’s heart. This album is dedicated to Diane Schuur’s husband, Les Crockett. The recording takes place where she and her husband shared a magical night reflecting on memories of the very place they first met 16 years earlier.

Engineered, Produced, and Hosted by Joyce Jones.

WBAI’s financial situation remains dire due to back rent owed on their transmitter at NYC’s Empire State Building. Please give what you can to the WBAI Transmitter Fund and/or come out next Wednesday, March 27, for the WBAI Dance Party at S.O.B.’s.

Web extra: Watch Diane Schuur and Ray Charles perform live.

Sunday 3/10 show: René Marie

Note: Suga’ in My Bowl’s new Behind the Mic blog is now up and running. We’ll use it to expand on some of the shows, artists, and ideas you’ve heard on the show and post related content, new release info, and provide a space for discussion. We’re still tweaking it, but invite you to head over and check it out.

Our home station WBAI is in a serious crisis due to back back rent owed on their transmitter at NYC’s Empire State Building. They’ve struggled in the past, but this time the situation is serious. Details are on the Pacifica Radio Network home page. You can also donate directly to the transmitter fund.

The next show will air on Sunday March 10, 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 composer, vocalist and warrior queen René Marie. Listen to a short preview below:

rene14René Marie, the award winning singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, has quickly become a heroine to many; a woman of great strength exuding stamina and compassion; often explaining how finding her voice and self through singing gave her the courage to leave an abusive marriage. But since the release of her recording debut, Renaissance, this Colorado based heroine has also evolved into one of the greatest and most sensuous vocalists of our time. Unmistakably honest and unpretentious while transforming audiences worldwide with her powerful interpretations, electrifying deliveries and impassioned vocals — René Marie has drawn a legion of fans and music critics who find themselves not only entertained, but encouraged and even changed by her performances.

It is hard to believe that Marie didn’t sing professionally until after she turned 40. But in fact, the Virginia native, married at 18, mother of two by 23 and a member of a strict religious group with her then husband only occasionally sang in public while she was focused on raising a family. It was in 1996 that Marie’s eldest son Michael urged her to take the plunge to pursue a career. “He told me that was exactly what I needed to do” she explains. Two years later following an ultimatum by her husband to either stop singing or leave their home, she chose to leave after 23 years of marriage.

Hosted, produced, and engineered by Joyce Jones.

Don’t forget to give to the WBAI Transmitter Fund. If there is no transmitter, there really is no WBAI.

Web extras

Listen to the full song “Black Lace Freudian Slip”. (Background music for the Suga’ show teaser.)

Watch René Marie sing “This is Not a Protest Song” live.

Sunday 1/13 show: Jayne Cortez

The next show will air on Sunday January 13, 2013 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Eastern Standard Time Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. On Friday, December 28, 2012, Jayne Cortez left this world. As a tribute to her life and spirit, we will rebroadcast our exchange with this writer, poet, performance artist, and co-founder of Yari Yari, an international conference on literature by women of African descent. You can hear a 30-second preview of the show below.

Poet, writer, activist, performer Jayne Cortez interviewed on this Suga in My Bowl episodeJayne Cortez was born in Arizona, grew up in California, and currently lives in New York City and Dakar, Senegal. She is the author of ten books of poems and performer of her poetry with music on nine recordings. Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic, dynamic innovations in lyricism, and visceral sound. Cortez has presented her work and ideas at universities, museums, and festivals in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, the Caribbean and the United States. Her poems have been translated into many languages and widely published in anthologies, journals, and magazines. She is the recipient of several awards including: Arts International, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International African Festival Award, The Langston Hughes Award, and the American Book Award. Her most recent books are “The Beautiful Book” Bola Press 2007, “Jazz Fan Looks Back” published by Hanging Loose Press, and “Somewhere In Advance of Nowhere” published by Serpent’s Tail Ltd. Her latest CD recordings with the Firespitter Band are “Taking the Blues Back Home,” produced by Harmolodic and by Verve Records, “Borders of Disorderly Time” and “Find Your Own Voice” released by Bola Press. Cortez is director of the film “Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future,” organizer of “Slave Routes the Long Memory” and “Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writer Dissecting Globalization.” Both conferences were held at New York University. She is president of the Organization of Women Writers of Africa, Inc. and is on screen in the films: “Women In Jazz” and “Poetry In Motion.”

Hosted, Produced, and Engineered by Arts Producer Joyce Jones.

Editors note: Here at Suga’ in My Bowl, we already miss Jayne a lot. We saw her often at various events and feel fortunate to have known her and heard her perform live. We’ve heard that plans are underway for public tributes and will post them on the site and via our Facebook and Twitter streams when we get concrete dates for these.

Web Extras

Read Jayne’s obituaries at the New York Times and The Guardian.

Watch Jayne perform live with drummer (and son) Denardo Coleman

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