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Jazz Piano

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Tuesday 3/12/2019 Show: Carla Bley

Photo: Carla Bley | © Klaus Muempher. All Rights Reserved by photographer.

Program note: we’re in a new weekly Tuesday night slot from 10-12 midnight!

The next show will air on Tuesday March 12, 2019 from 10:00 PM – 12 Midnight 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 pianist Carla Bley.

Post-bop jazz has produced only a few first-rate composers of larger forms; Carla Bley ranks high among them. Bley possesses an unusually wide compositional range; she combines an acquaintance with and love for jazz in all its forms with great talent and originality. Her music is a peculiarly individual type of hyper-modern jazz. Bley is capable of writing music of great drama and profound humor, often within the confines of the same piece. As an instrumentalist, she makes a fine composer; she plays piano and/or organ with most of her bands, and while her playing is always quite musical, it’s clear that her strengths lie elsewhere. Bley’s asymmetrical compositional structures subvert jazz formula to wonderful effect, and her unpredictable melodies are often as catchy as they are obscure. In the tradition of jazz’s very finest composers and improvisers, Bley has developed a style of her very own, and the music as a whole is the better for it.

Born Carla Borg, Bley learned the fundamentals of music as a child from her father, a church musician. Thereafter, she was mostly self-taught. She moved to New York around 1955, where she worked as a cigarette girl and occasional pianist. She married pianist Paul Bley, for whom she began to write tunes (she also wrote for George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre). In 1964, with her second husband, trumpeter Michael Mantler, Bley formed the Jazz Composer’s Guild Orchestra, which a year later became known simply as the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra. Two years later, Bley helped found the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Association, a nonprofit organization designed to present, distribute, and produce unconventional forms of jazz.

In 1967, vibist Gary Burton’s quartet recorded Bley’s cycle of tunes A Genuine Tong Funeral, which brought her to the attention of the general public for the first time. In 1969, Bley composed and arranged music for Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. In 1971, she completed the work that cemented her reputation, the jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill. In the ’70s and ’80s, Bley continued to run the JCOA and compose and record for her own Watt label. The JCOA essentially folded in the late ’80s, but Bley’s creative life continued mostly unabated. For much of the past two decades, she’s maintained a midsized big band with fairly stable personnel to tour and record. She’s also worked a great deal with the bassist Steve Swallow, in duo and in ensembles of varying size.

Bley wrote the music for the soundtrack to the 1985 film Mortelle Randone. She also contributed new compositions to the Liberation Music Orchestra’s second incarnation in 1983. All through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the new millennium, Bley continued releasing albums through ECM, ranging from duets with bassist Steve Swallow to the Very Big Carla Bley Band. In 2013, Bley returned with Trios, featuring Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard; the album marked the very first time that the pianist recorded for ECM proper instead of WATT, which had been her home for over 40 years.

[(Bio adapted from  Allmusic)

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.

Carla Bley will make a rare New York appearance at the Jazz Standard on March 19-20 leading a trio including longtime collaborator Steve Swallow.

Web Extras:

Watch Bley and Steve Swallow in this live  version of “Lawns.”

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 College in the City University of New York system.

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Sunday 5/13/2018 Show: Dave Burrell

Photo: Dave Burrell | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.

The next show will air on Sunday, May 13, 2018 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 presents an interview with pianist and composer Dave Burrell, who will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 2018 Vision Fest.

Distinguished composer-pianist Dave Burrell is a performing artist of singular stature on the international contemporary music scene. His dynamic compositions, with blues and gospel roots recall the tradition of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson and Duke Ellington, as well avant garde composers Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. After majoring in music at the University of Hawaii, he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in 1961. After graduating with degrees in composition/arranging and performance in 1965, he moved to New York City, where he quickly established himself as one of the most innovative and original pianists, collaborating with the emerging leaders in contemporary jazz, joining the groups of tenor saxophonists Marion Brown, Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp.

Burrell’s Jazz Opera Windward Passages, written in collaboration with Swedish-born poet/lyricist Monika Larsson, blends opera voices with world class jazz instrumentalists, a 21-piece jazz opera orchestra, dancers and chorus. Seldom has the classically trained voice played such a unique improvising roll as in this important, ground-breaking endeavor. Burrell’s dance drama, Holy Smoke, with blue-print by Monika Larsson, is being developed for contemporary dance. La Vie de Boheme, Burrell’s arrangement of Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme, recorded on BYG Records, France in 1969, was presented at the Bordeaux Jazz Festival in France in 2008.

Dave Burrell appears regularly on national and international radio broadcasts, including NPR’s Bi-Centennial Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, Dr. Jazz; Duke Ellington’s Centennial Duke and the Piano; Louis Armstrong’s The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong, and Leonard Bernstein: An American Life. Dave Burrell was recently featured on NPR’s nationally syndicated show Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross. Burrell performed the music of Jelly Roll Morton solo piano The Lomax Legacy: Folklore in a Globalizing Century symposium, along with jazz author and scholar John Szwed, presented by American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress and at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington, D.C. In 2009, RAI, Italy aired “Dave Burrell Plays His Songs featuring singer Leena Conquest and lyricist Monika Larsson” on internet radio.

As a musician in-residence at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Dave Burrell was commissioned to write music for “Look Again” – African-American History is American History – in 2007: Bill of Sale for a Slave.

His second commission at the Rosenbach, Syllables of the Poetry of Marianne Moore, in duet with bassist Michael Formanek, premiered in February, 2008. His third commission at the museum, Western Extention of the United States of America (1811 – Astoria), premiered in duo with bassist Michael Formanek on September 9, 2009.

Burrell wrote an original score to Oscar Micheaux’s silent black and white film Body and Soul (1925). Some of the music is featured on Burrell’s Db3’s CD Momentum (High Two Records , 2006). Amulet Records released Consequences (2007) featuring Dave Burrell and percussionist Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood). Burrell’s project, Dave Burrell Plays the Burrell/Larsson Songbook, featuring jazz singer Leena Conquest continues to tour in Europe including Italy, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic and France. RAI Trade, Italy is releasing a CD, a duo recording with Dave and Leena in 2009.

During the last 30 years Dave Burrell has appeared on over 115 recordings, 30 under his own name, (High, High Two, Echo, La Vie de Boheme, After Love, In-Sanity, Only Me, Dreams, Black Spring, Lush Life, Round Midnight, Teardrops for Jimmy, Windward Passages, Daybreak, Brother to Brother, In Concert, Jelly Roll Joys, Esquisses for a Walk, Live at Caramoor, Changes and Chanses, Recital, Expansion, Consequences, Margy Pargy, and Momentum)

Burrell is renowned for his pivotal recordings with tenor saxophonists Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Marion Brown, David Murray, Beaver Harris, Grachan Moncur, Sunny Murray, Bob Stewart, and most recently William Parker.

A frequent lecturer, Burrell’s Master Classes include Strasbourg Conservatory, Tremblay Conservatory (Paris), Conservatoire Municipal (Paris), Guildhall School of Music and Dance (London), New York University, Queens College, University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Duquesne University School of Music, Pennsylvania, Bard College, New York, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, Rice University, Houston, Texas, DePauw University, Indiana, Columbia University, New York City and Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Recent commissions include Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, and Whitney Museum, New York City.

Dave Burrell is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including National Endowment for the Arts, Philadelphia Music Foundation, William J. Cooper Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania State Council on the Arts, MidAtlantic Foundation, John Garcia Gensel Award, and the Pew Fellowship in Jazz Composition.

Dave Burrell joined Steinway’s Artist Roster in 2007.

(Bio adapted from Burrell’s website.)

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.

Dave Burrell will be this year’s recipient of Vision Fest’s lifetime achievement award on the May 23 opening night at Roulette and will play in three different combos including a composition paying tribute to the Harlem Renaissance and a reunion with saxophonist Archie Shepp.

Web Extras:

Watch Burrell play with frequent collaborators William Parker, Kidd Jordan, Hamiet Blueitt, and William Hooker at the 2011 Vision Festival.

Watch Burrell perform “Leo” with Rashied Ali’s quartet in this 1972 live clip.

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 College in the City University of New York system.

Sunday 12/11/2016 Show: David Virelles

david_virelles_suga_cover_475px
Photo: David Virelles.| Joyce Jones. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, December 11, 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 officially kicks off WBAI’s coverage of the 2017 Winter Jazz Festival as we start the program with Festival Director Brice Rosenbloom. Our featured musical guest is pianist, composer and bandleader David Virelles.
 

 
Cuban born pianist/ composer David Virelles grew up in a musical home. He started studying music at seven, as well as being exposed to the rich Cuban musical traditions.
 
Brooklyn-based Virelles, who once became the first recipient of the Oscar Peterson award, has performed or recorded with Ravi Coltrane, Henry Threadgill, Román Díaz, Tomasz Stanko, Wadada Leo Smith, Jane Bunnett and The Spirits Of Havana, Dewey Redman, Sam Rivers, Steve Coleman, Andrew Cyrille, Hermeto Pascoal, José Luis Quintana “Changuito”, Stanley Cowell, Chucho Valdés, Paul Motian, Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Tom Harrell, Milford Graves, Alberto Lescay, among others. Virelles was named “#1 Rising Star” in the Piano category in DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Poll in 2015.
 
Virelles’ album Continuum (on the New York label Pi Recordings) made several “Best Of The Year” lists in 2012, being selected #1 in The New York Times. His album Mbòkó, released in 2014 on the Munich label ECM also ended up in virtually every “Best Of The Year” list, including The New York Times, NPR, iTunes, The Village Voice, DownBeat Magazine, among other sources. Virelles’ new release on ECM, Antenna, is available now.
 
Partial bio adapted from David Virelles’s website.
 
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.
 
david_virelles_antenna_150pxVirelles is scheduled for two sets at the 2017 Winter Jazz Fest’s ECM Stage at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium on January 7. He appears in a duo with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and in a set with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko.
 
We are offering autographed vinyl copies Virelles’ new release on ECM, Antenna as a thank you gift for a $35 pledge supporting WBAI-FM. We also appreciate pledges of any amount or encourage you to become a sustaining member with a monthly pledge.
 
 
Web Extra
 
Watch Virelles in this live clip with saxophonist Chris Potter’s sextet.
 

 
Watch Virelles play with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.
 

 
Watch Virelles play with Jane Bunnett.
 

 
Watch the official preview video from the 2017 Winter Jazz Fest!
 

 
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 1/24/16 Show: Billy Childs

Billy_Childs_475
Photo: Billy Childs | Billy Childs.com, All Rights Reserved.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, January 24, 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 composer, arranger and pianist Billy Childs, who will be bringing his Grammy winning Laura Nyro project titled “Map to the Treasure: Reimaging Laura Nyro” to the Jazz Standard from January 26-28 for two sets per night.
 

 
Billy Childs has emerged as one of the foremost American composers of his era, perhaps the most distinctly American composer since Aaron Copland – for like Copland, he has successfully married the musical products of his heritage with the Western neoclassical traditions of the twentieth century in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism.
 
A native of Los Angeles, Childs grew up immersed in jazz, classical, and popular music influences. A prodigious talent at the piano earned him public performances by age six, and at sixteen he was admitted to the USC Community School of the Performing Arts, going on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition under the tutelage of Robert Linn and Morton Lauridsen.
 
By the time of his graduation from USC, Childs was already an in-demand performer in the L.A. jazz scene. Soon thereafter he was discovered by trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, with whom he embarked on a successful performing and recording tour. He recorded and performed with a number of other influential jazz musicians including J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, and Wynton Marsalis before landing a record deal with Windham Hill Records in 1988, when he released Take For Example, This…, the first of four critically acclaimed albums for the label. The albums Twilight Is Upon Us (1989), His April Touch (1991), and Portrait Of A Player (1992) followed, each expansive contributions of depth and virtuosity. Since then Childs has written and produced I’ve Known Rivers (1995) on Stretch/GRP, The Child Within (1996) on Shanachie, and two volumes of “jazz/chamber music” (an amalgam of jazz and classical music) – Lyric: Jazz-Chamber Music Vol. 1 (2006) and Autumn: In Moving Pictures, Vol. 2 (2010); the recordings earned him two GRAMMY awards and five nominations.
 
Simultaneously with his recording career, Childs has occupied a parallel niche as an in-demand composer. His orchestral and chamber commission credits include Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Kronos Quartet, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The American Brass Quintet, The Ying Quartet, and The Dorian Wind Quintet.
 
Thus far in his career, Childs has garnered thirteen GRAMMY nominations and four awards: two for Best Instrumental Composition (“Into the Light” from Lyric and The “Path Among The Trees” from Autumn: In Moving Pictures) and two for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist (“New York Tendaberry” from Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro and “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” from To Love Again). In 2006, Childs was awarded a Chamber Music America Composer’s Grant, and in 2009 was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was also awarded the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2013, and most recently, the music award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015.
 
Most recently, Childs has recorded a collection of re-imagined Laura Nyro compositions for Sony Masterworks, released in September 2014. Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro was produced by Larry Klein and features guest artists: Renee Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Wayne Shorter, Alison Kraus, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Esperanza Spalding, Lisa Fischer, Susan Tedeschi, Rickie Lee Jones, Shawn Colvin, Ledesi, Becca Stevens, Chris Potter, Brian Blade, Steve Wilson and Jerry Douglas.
 
As a pianist Childs has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Renee Fleming, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Chick Corea, The Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Ron Carter, The Ying Quartet, The American Brass Quintet, and Chris Botti.
 
Bio adapted from the Billy Childs website.
 
This program is 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. You’ll have a chance to win tickets to Billy Childs’ Jazz Standard dates!
 
Web Extras
 
Watch Childs perform “The Confession” from Map to the Treasure live at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival.
 

 
Watch Childs perform with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s Quintet live in 1981.
 

 
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.

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