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NEA Jazz Masters 2016

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Sunday 4/3/2016 Show: Archie Shepp

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Photo: Archie Shepp (sax) and Amina Claudine Meyers (piano) | Joyce Jones. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, April 3, 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 will feature a rare interview with a 2016 NEA Jazz Master recipient, alto saxophone player, composer, pianist, singer, politically committed poet, playwright and legend Archie Shepp.
 

 
Shepp grew up in Philadelphia PA, studied piano and saxophone and attended high school in Germantown. He became involved with theatre while in college and met writers and poets including Leroi Jones and wrote “The Communist,” an allegorical play about the situation of Black Americans. In the beginning of the sixties he met Cecil Taylor and did two recordings with him which influenced his musical approach.
 
In 1962 he recorded his first album with Bill Dixon as co-leader. During the following year he created the New York Contemporary Five with John Tchichai; made four records for the Fontana, Storyville and Savoy labels; and traveled to Europe with this group. Starting in August 1964, he worked with Impulse and made 17 records which include Four For Trane, Fire Music, and Mama Too Tight: some of the classics of Free Music. His collaboration with John Coltrane materialized further with Ascension in 1965, a real turning point in Avant-Garde music. His militancy was evidenced by his participation in the creation of the Jazz Composers Guild with Paul and Carla Bley, Sun Ra, Roswell Rudd and Cecil Taylor.
 
In July 1969 he went for the first time to Africa for the Pan African Festival in Algiers where many Black American militants were living. On this occasion he recorded Live at the Pan African Festival, the first of six albums in the Actual series. In 1969 he began teaching Ethnomusicology at the University of Amherst, Massachusetts while continuing to travel around the world to express his identity as an African American musician.
 
The dictionary of Jazz (Robert Laffont, Bouquins) defines him in the following way: “A first rate artist and intellectual, Archie Shepp has been at the head of the Avant-Garde Free Jazz movement and has been able to join the mainstream of Jazz, while remaining true to his esthetic. He has developed a true poli-instrumentality: an alto player, he also plays soprano since 1969, piano since 1975, and more recently occasionally sings blues and standards.”
 
With his freedom loving sensitivity, Archie Shepp has made an inestimable contribution to the gathering, publicizing, and inventing of jazz.
 
Bio adapted from Archie Shepp’s website.
 
Shepp will be honored as a NEA Jazz Master on Monday April 4, 2016. The tribute concert will feature performances by NEA Jazz Masters Chick Corea, Randy Weston, and Jimmy Heath, as well as Ambrose Akinmusire, Lakecia Benjamin, Billy Harper, Stefon Harris, Justin Kauflin, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Pedrito Martinez, Jason Moran, David Murray, Linda Oh, Karriem Riggins, Roswell Rudd, and Catherine Russell. It will be livestreamed starting at 8 PM EST.
 
This program is co-hosted by Joyce Jones and Hank Williams. It is 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.
 
Web Extras
 
Watch Shepp in a live 2001 performance of “You Gotta Call Him” with Amina Claudine Myers.
 

 
Watch Shepp in this 2011 live performance in France.
 

 
Watch Shepp sing “Mama Rose” live at the 2010 Sant’Anna Arresi Jazz Festival.
 

 
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 3/20/2016 Show: Writer Chris Becker

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Photo: Connie Crothers on the cover of Freedom of Expression.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, March 20, 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 Chris Becker, author of Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz.
 
The interviewees, including Terri Lyne Carrington, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eliane Elias, Anat Cohen, Helen Sung, Diane Schuur, Ellen Seeling, Val Jeanty, Carmen Lundy, Mindi Abair, Cheryl Bentyne, Jane Ira Bloom, Sharel Cassity, Connie Crothers, Jane Monheit, and Sherrie Maricle, speak about their earliest experiences playing music, the years of practice and study required to become a professional musician, and what it means to be a jazz musician in the 21st century. The 320-page book includes a 25-page history of jazz, as well as introductions to each interview, to provide helpful context for readers who are unaware of the contributions by women to the development of this music.
 
“In the years since the arrival of the 21st century, jazz has evolved into a truly cross-generational, multicultural musical art form that is assimilating an unprecedented array of musical styles and techniques. At the same time, the male-dominated paradigm that has defined the historical narrative of jazz is no more. Women are shaking up the music industry while the general public is becoming much more aware of the contributions female musicians have made to the art of jazz since its inception. Freedom of Expression: Interviews with Women in Jazz documents this profound evolution.” — Chris Becker
 
Freedom of Expression was released November 16, 2015 and is available on Amazon and CreateSpace.
 
Bio adapted from Becker’s website.
 
We’ll begin the show with a brief interview with the NEA’s Ann Meier Baker, who’ll present a preview of the 2016 NEA Jazz Masters awards, who will be recognized in a livestream concert on April 4.
 
Lastly, we’ll have a ticket giveaway for the last two events of the Schomburg Center’s Women’s History Month jazz festival, curated by Toshi Reagon. We’ll be offering a pair of tickets to both the March 21 show and March 28 show. Tune in during our “On the Bandstand” segment at the end of the first hour for details.
 
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.
 
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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