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Sunday 11/4 show: Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs

Onaje Allan GumbsThe next show will air on Sunday November 4, 2012 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. WBAI’s stream may not be available due to to damage suffered in Hurricane Sandy. Because the station is operating from a remote location, the show may not start exactly at 11, so please be patient if you’re listening live. We’ve decided to make it available on our archives page at the normal air time to make it as available as possible.

During this post-Hurricane Sandy installment, we will feature pianist/keyboardist/producer/arranger/songwriter Onaje Allan Gumbs (pronounced Oh-Nah-Jay), who is one of the music industry’s most respected and talented music collaborators. Gumbs has worked almost three decades with top talent in the musical fields of jazz, R&B/soul, and pop to hone his considerable skills. A partial list includes Woody Shaw, Nat Adderly, Norman Connors, Angela Bofill, Jean Carn, Cassandra Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Sadao Watanabe, Phyllis Hyman (“The Answer Is You” from his 1979 Somewhere in My Lifetime album), Stanley Jordan, Denise Williams, Vanessa Rubin, Jeffrey Osborne, Eddie Murphy, Rebbie Jackson, and Gerald Albright (Live at Birdland West).

In 1974, Gumbs enjoyed one of the highlights of his arranging career when he created a special arrangement of “Stella By Starlight” for the New York Jazz Repertory Company as a part of a concert honoring Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall. That same year, Gumbs performed on (former Suga’ guest) Woody Shaw’s “Moon Moontrane”. Later, he joined forces with trumpeter Nat Adderley and his quintet, contributing to the group’s recordings on the Atlantic and Steeplechase record labels. Steeplechase’s Nils Winter was impressed by Gumbs’ solo improvisations on several of Adderley’s performances and approached the young pianist that same year to record a solo piano album, Onaje. In 1985, Gumbs further heightened his visibility by contributing his arrangement of “Lady in My Life” to guitarist Stanley Jordan’s enormously successful album Magic Touch. The record held the number one spot on Billboard‘s jazz charts for 37 weeks. The pianist recorded two albums for MCA: That Special Part of Me and 1991’s Dare to Dream.

Gumbs received an NAACP Image Award in 2006 in the Outstanding Jazz category for his independent project Remember Their Innocence.

Jazz Improv Magazine selected his Sack Full of Dreams album featuring singer, actor, producer, and director Obba Babatunde as one of the best jazz recordings of 2007.

Hosted, engineered, and produced by Arts Producer Joyce Jones

Next Show: Sunday 9/14 Miles Davis and Gil Evans “Still Ahead”

Miles Davis and Gil EvansThe next show will air on Sunday September 14, 2012 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. During this installment, we will feature “Miles Davis and Gil Evans: Still Ahead,” a New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) event that is part of what will become an annual “James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival.” Our guests will be bassist (and former Suga’ guest) Christian McBride, trumpter Terence Blanchard, conductor Vince Mendoza, and NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber. You can hear a short preview below:

Miles Davis and Gil Evans: Still Ahead” is an all-star recreation of the landmark original Gil Evans arrangements of the classic Miles Davis recordings of “Porgy and Bess,” “Sketches of Spain,” and Miles Ahead.” This concert will feature a unique cast of jazz greats, including Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride, drummer Peter Erskine, tuba master (and former Suga’ guest) Howard Johnson (who performed live with both Davis and Evans), trumpeter Sean Jones, drummer Jimmy Cobb (who played on the original recording of Porgy and Bess), and a jazz orchestra under the direction of Vince Mendoza.

The James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival is a weeklong celebration of jazz and the legacy of Newark’s own music master, James Moody from October 15-21, 2012.

Hosted, produced, and engineered by Arts Producer Joyce Jones

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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

Next show: Sunday, 11/6 on Woody Shaw

The next show will air on Sunday 11/6 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org.

Tune in to hear more about this jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and band leader, often referred to as the “last innovator.” We will also sample the “Woody Shaw – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection” released in September 2011. Our guest will be Woody Shaw III.

Woody Shaw was born on December 24, 1944 in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He was brought to Newark, New Jersey by his parents, Rosalie Pegues and Woody Shaw, Sr., at the age of 1 year old. Shaw’s father, Woody Shaw, Sr. was a member of the African American gospel group known as the Diamond Jubilee Singers and both of his parents attended the same secondary private school as Dizzy Gillespie, Laurinburg Institute. Shaw’s mother is originally from the same town as Gillespie, Cheraw, South Carolina.

Shaw began playing bugle at age 9 and performed in the Junior Elks, Junior Mason, and Washington Carver Drum and Bugle Corps in Newark, New Jersey. Though not his first choice for an instrument, he began studying classical trumpet with Jerome Ziering at Cleveland Junior High School at the age of 11.

As a teenager, Shaw worked professionally at weddings, dances, and night clubs. He eventually left school but continued his study of the trumpet under the influence of Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Booker Little, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard. He later discovered that he had picked up the trumpet during the same month and year that Clifford Brown died, June 1956.

Shaw was also born with a photographic memory and perfect pitch. Max Roach once stated: “He was truly one of the greatest. I first had occasion to work with Woody on a trip to Iran. One of the most amazing things was his uncanny memory. I was just flabbergasted. After one look, he knew all of the charts, no matter how complex they were.”

Woody Shaw’s improvisational and composing style bears the influences of his idols Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, as well as many European modern classical and 20th century composers

Woody Shaw was a masterful stylist and a leader with strong musical convictions.

Hosted by Arts Producer Joyce Jones

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